Monday, October 4, 2010

Education Of Handicapped Children

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act seeks to assure equal opportunity in education for all handicapped children between the ages of five and eighteen, and in most cases for children 3-5 and 18-21 as well. Handicapped children may not be excluded from public school because of their disability and school districts are required to provide special services to meet the needs of handicapped children. The law requires that handicapped children be taught in a setting that resembles as closely as possible the regular school program, while also meeting their special needs. Programs vary according to the individual needs of the special student. Some handicapped children may be placed in a regular classroom, but have special resources available to them; other students may need training at a special school. The law provides for screening so that children with special needs are recognized and treated accordingly. The law also requires that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) be developed for each special needs student, with input from the student and student's parents. Students must have access to specialized materials and equipment if necessary, such as Braille books for blind students. Handicapped students are also entitled to have specially trained teachers to meet their particular needs. The law provides for ongoing monitoring of the handicapped student's program and an appeals process for both the school and the parents of the handicapped child, so that no child is put in or kept out of special education without the consent and agreement of parents and teachers.
During the first years of a child's life, the brain is still malleable and able to form important connections so that the child can learn a wide variety of information and abilities. However, if the child suffers from an illness, injury, or condition that causes a disability, it can interfere with his or her ability absorb information in the same way as non-disabled children. Special education classes can help children with disabilities learn in a way tailored to their needs.
In 1975, the U.S. government first legally addressed special education in public schools with the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, or EHA. This included both physically and mentally handicapped children. The act stated that all schools receiving public funding must have programs specifically created for special needs children. These lesson plans were developed with the help of parents so that disabled children had as much of a normal education as possible. The EHA was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  in 1990.


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