Introduction To Special Education

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In the US, the right to education for children with disabilities was not enshrined in the constitution until the 1960s. Prior to this the principals of schools were advised not to admit children who were uneducable, a term used conveniently to refer to children with disability. The first legislation that transformed the education for children with disability was the act of parliament signed by President Dwight Eisenhower known famously as the Public law 85-926. The law provided a legal requirement compelling the states and federal government to offer financial allocation to training institutions, colleges and universities, for educating teachers who will teach mentally retarded children. The next major legislation is the Elementary And Secondary Education Act (ESEA) signed into law in 1965.The act was an imperative step towards provision of direct assistance to children with disability, it also provided for the establishment of Bureau for the Education of the Handicapped (BEH) which offered grants to state government to commence or expand initiatives aimed at educating children with disability.

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Public law 94-142 of 1973 which is now popularly referred to as individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was another important legislative milestone for educational rights of children with disabilities. It is the corner stone of all amendments of laws that affect these rights. The law obligated the concept of education for with no prejudice on the grounds of being disabled. The other imperative laws passed that aimed at protecting the inalienable rights of education to children with disability were the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This acts have had an impact to modern trainers since there is a consistent channeling of funds towards programs that train teachers and also facilitate the acquisition of facilities to help in teaching these children.

Special education can be simply designed to be special instructional tools accorded to children with discernible disabilities that impede their learning capability and performance. Special education employs special curriculum for various categories of disabled children which are taught using a specific teaching criteria for a particular group. However, this is contrary to the canons of general education where there is a standard curriculum set for everybody and a similar teaching technique for very student.

The keys proponents of individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) include the obligation of the state to educate all children with disabilities (Zero reject policy). Schools being compelled to use unprejudiced Identification and Evaluation techniques to determine whether a student has a disability or not is another imperative proponent of IDEA. Additionally, IDEA provides for the public to cater completely for the education of all children with disability regardless of their severity of their disability without any burden of cost being shifted to the childs parent. IDEA also provides for children with disabilities to be taught in the same classes with children without disability unless the severity of their disability does not allow them to be in that environment for them to be effectively taught. This requirement upholds the indispensable fact that these children also enjoy rights like normal kids.

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