Special education is alternative instruction, support, and services provided for students who have academic, behavioral, health, physical, or other unique needs beyond those met by traditional educational techniques.
It all began after WWII and the Civil Rights movement, when parents began forming advocacy groups to help bring the educational needs of children with disabilities to the public eye. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy created the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation, which included federal aid to states. Then in 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. With its funding for primary education, this is seen by advocacy groups as expanding access to public education for children with disabilities.
By 1970, schools educated only one in five children with disabilities. But it all changed in 1975 when two federal laws were enacted. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) establishes the right for all children, regardless of disability, access to public education. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), on the other hand, requires schools provide individualized or special education for children with qualifying disabilities.
See below for a great Special Education Infographic:
Don’t let a child’s disability prevent him or her from getting a great education. The purpose of special education is to enable students to grow to their fullest potential by providing a free appropriate public education designed to fit their unique and special needs!