Special Education For Students With Disabilities Education Essay

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A.  Summarize the six key components of the original 1975 IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).

On November 27, 1975 President Gerald Ford signed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) into federal law. Public Law 94-142 herein referred to as IDEA was originally known as Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA). This act guarantees special education services for students with disabilities until they graduate from high school. Prior to the passage of this act, children with disabilities were not assured federally protected rights to apposite public education.

The six main components of the original IDEA act are:

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Procedural Due Process

Non-Discriminatory Due Process

Parental Participation

The Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) portion of the law ensures that all children will be able to acquire and obtain the education that they warrant, despite the consequences or severity of their disability. It also provides federal money in support of educational programs to ensure that parents will not be required to pay for these services.

The second portion of the 1975 IDEA act, the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), requires that special needs children be educated with non-special needs children whenever possible to ensure that they are not segregated from the other students unless absolutely necessary. This provides the special needs students with more opportunities to learn from their non-special needs peers.

The third mandate of this act requires the formation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is accomplished by compelling a team of educators and/or parents/guardians to assist in creating an individual plan of action that focuses on the specific areas which need service and/or attention for the particular student. The IEP team must; set and plan goals for student progress, detail what type of educational supportive services the student will receive, detail which general education programs the student will be participating in, describes how, by who, and for how long will services be performed, and provide evaluation procedures to ensure that objectives are met.

The fourth requirement of IDEA states that parent's are entitled to Procedural Due Process. Procedural due process provides a safeguard for parents to ensure access to student's records, confidentiality of records, and a provision to allow records to be reviewed by an outside source. Additionally, it provides for notifications to parents of any changes made to IEP, educational classification or placement. Lastly, it allows parents to be represented by legal counsel and to request an impartial trial if there is a disagreement regarding the student's educational plan.

The fifth piece of the IDEA legislation, which builds directly off of procedural due process, is Non-Discriminatory Due Process. In order to be in compliance with the non-discriminatory due process provision of IDEA students must be assessed prior to placement or receipt of services and assessments muse be free of bias or prejudicial to race, culture, or language.

The sixth and final element of IDEA, as passed in 1975, is parental participation. According to this stipulation parent's and or guardian's have the right to participate in the student's educational process and decision making.

B.  Summarize the key components of the following IDEA reauthorizations:

•  PL 99-457 (1986)

•  PL 101-476

•  PL 105-17 (1997)

•  IDEA 2004: PL 108-446


In 1986 an augmentation of the original 1975 IDEA legislation was passed to include younger children and to provide penalties for states that fail to meet service requirements, this was referred to as PL 99-457. Per this modification educational services must be extended to preschool age children, infants, and/or toddlers who are at risk for or that have been identified as disabled. In an effort to achieve superior results with disabled children emphasis is placed on early intervention. For these younger children a multidisciplinary assessment must be completed, rather than an IEP as with older students. Penalties for failure to comply with this legislation include the loss of federal preschool funding (Gargiulo, 2009).

The next modification came in 1990 and was passed as PL 101-476. PL 101-476 changed the initial verbiage in the 1975 IDEA legislation. The word children was replaced with the word individuals and the term handicapped was replaced with the term disabled. This was done to prevent confusion and to ensure political correctness. Additionally, this modification provided for Individual Transition Plans (ITP) for disabled teenagers to assist in better preparation for life outside of school. In accordance with this law by the time a student reaches the age of sixteen he or she must have an ITP as part of their IEP. This is done to facilitate the transition to further education such as vocational training and/or independent living. This was done to emphasize transition preparation for adolescents with disabilities. Additional provisions provide for counseling, social work and rehabilitative services. Other disorders such as autism and traumatic brain injury are also identified as disabilities. The final provision of PL 101-476 allows states to be sued if they violate IDEA guidelines (Gargiulo, 2009).

PL 105-17 was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on June 4, 1997. This third modification reauthorized, reorganized and clarified several key components of the original IDEA guidelines. Among these reorganizations, additional services for students and their families were provided. Modifications included requirements related to discipline, funding, and explicated definitions of key terms. Under this revision the ITP requirement age was lowered from sixteen to fourteen and teachers were required to be part of the IEP team. Furthermore, schools were required to establish goals for student academic achievement that are in line with the general education curriculum (Gargiulo, 2009).

The most recent revision in 2004 is known as PL 108-446. This change requires schools and the IEP team to keep status reports charting each student's progress towards achieving annual educational goals. This change detailed highly qualified teacher credentials and required that special education teachers possess special certification or licensure. As a result of this change 100% of State Improvement Grant (SIG) money must be dedicated to professional development. Lastly, the amendment clarifies eligibility for IDEA services. Per this clarification a child cannot be deemed disabled if the reason is because he or she lacked appropriate reading comprehension, math comprehension, or English language comprehension (Gargiulo, 2009).

Summarize, in sequential order, the mandated IDEA guidelines and processes for referring a student with a suspected disability for evaluation for special education services./

Incorporate at least four of the following intervention concepts:

•  Pre-referral interventions

•  Multi-disciplinary team

•  Norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests

•  Individualized Education Plan

•  Cascade of service delivery options

There are many steps in the process to refer a student for special education. Those steps in order are:

Pre-referral interventions


Assessment via:

Multi-disciplinary team

Norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests

Individualized Education Plan

Cascade of service delivery options

The first step required to refer a student for special education services is the pre-referral intervention. This occurs prior to the receipt of or referral for special education services. During the pre-referral period the teacher may gather documentation to support a later referral request. Pre-referral interventions are designed to be preemptive. The purpose of the pre-referral intervention is to prevent unnecessary referrals and to identify if the problem can be corrected by alternative teaching or management strategies (Gargiulo, 2009).

The second step is the official referral. The referral takes place only if strategies identified in the pre-referral process have been unsuccessful. The referral is the written request to evaluate a student for a particular disability and/or corresponding special education services. The referral may be initiated because of concern about the students academic achievement, social development or behavioral problems. A referral may be requested by the teacher, parent, school administrator or another concerned individual (Gargiulo, 2009).

The third step towards receipt of special education services is assessment. Assessment is completed via support from a multidisciplinary team which includes at least one teacher along with other professionals. The multidisciplinary team is responsible for reviewing the referral documentation and determining if intervention is appropriate. IDEA requires that multiple tests be completed in order to evaluate a student for disability, this is done to prevent bias by a single test atmosphere where a sole test prejudicial in determining a student's impairment. At this stage norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests are used to determine the student's level of performance. A norm-referenced test is a standardized test that is used to show a correlation between the individual student and a group of their chronological peers, by means of rating the individual student in comparison to other students in their age range. Criterion-referenced assessments are associated with specific subject mastery. The norm-referenced tests is useful at determining a students developmental level with regards to their peers, while a criterion-referenced assessment is useful for determining a students developmental level within a specific subject matter or skill. Criterion-referenced tests are also useful at determining which subjects a student has mastered and which subjects require additional study (Gargiulo, 2009).

The fourth step is the development of an Individualized Instructional Program (IEP). According to the guidelines set for in IDEA, each multidisciplinary team must provide each student with an individualized academic plan. IEP's are designed with the specific needs of each student in mind. IEP's are the team written plan for services to be provided. This is one of the most important aspects of the special education process, as it the management tool that defines what interventions will be used and for how long. IEP's must define goals and set benchmarks for student progress (Gargiulo, 2009).

Once the IEP has been completed the cascade of service delivery options may begin. The cascade of service delivery options is designed to provide a continuum of service, appropriate intervention, and placement for an individual. This should be thought of as the time in which special education services are actively performed. This is result of a successful special education service referral. Students should be placed in the least restrictive environment possible to receive appropriate services, while segregation of the student into separate special education classroom may be required for effective instruction it should only be used when absolutely necessary. In order of least sever and least intense to more severe and more intense (and thusly more integrated to less integrated) service delivery options are: regular classroom with modification, regular classroom plus resource room services, part-time special needs classroom, full-time special needs classroom, special day school, residential school, homebound learning, and as a last resort hospitals and treatment centers. Students should be moved up to more intense special education services only if necessary. Conversely, students should be moved to less intense services as soon as practical (Gargiulo, 2009).