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Impact of IDEA on the School System

Individuals with Disability Education Act


SPED 100 MWF 10:00 A.M.
December 1. 2013
Mrs. Steinhoff-Mueller
Dakota State University
By: Chrystal Merriam

Chrystal Merriam
SPED 100
Mrs. Steinhoff-Muller
December 1, 2013

Congress passed a public law in 1975 entitled the Education for All Handicapped
Children Act. This act directly impacted and produced an almost complete change in the school
systems of our country. It wasnt until recently, in 1990, that the act was renamed, the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA. The act can be defined by six major principles: Zero
Reject, Nondiscriminatory Evaluation, Free Appropriated Public Education, Least Restrictive
Environment, Procedural Safeguards, and Parent Participation and Shared Decision Making. The
IDEA applies influence on actions taken within the school system in every part of the country.
The act affects the roles and responsibilities of not only special education providers but also all
associated faculty apart of the educational process for students with disabilities.
The Zero Reject principle requires schools to educate all children with disabilities.
Regardless of the severity of the disability in the child, the school must provide them educational
services. This principle has directly impacted children with disabilities by allowing them to be
treated equal with their peers. They are allowed to attend school and develop interactions with
other students their age.
The school systems are also required to use nondiscriminatory evaluations with their
students. An evaluation is required to take place with each child joining the school system for
prior knowledge of the needs of the child. A child is not to be discriminated upon by race,
culture, or a disability. This principle allows for each child to be allowed help in a way that will
encourage or benefit their education. When I directly think about this principle of the IDEA act I

try to imagine how hard it would be for someone to take an test if they cant even read and
understand the questions. This principle allows for the fair educational opportunities for each
child regardless of disability.
The third principle states all children with disabilities will receive Free Appropriate
Public Education (FAPE). This principle also requires that each student have a developed
Individualized Education Program (IEP). This program first identifies the needs of the child, than
specifies levels of performance and measurable goals for the student. This benefits the child
specifically by allowing them to have attainable goals for themselves. It also allows a more
beneficial route for the educators by giving them an understanding of each students needs and
what their goals are based on their type disability. Since disabilities may range from a hearing
impairment to a student using a wheelchair many different services and health specialists have
been added to the school systems. Some items that have been added to school buildings include
wheel chair ramps, handicapped buttons for doors, hallway railings, and brail symbols located on
signs. The role of other health care specialists in the school systems has greatly increased
throughout the recent years. Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists are now commonly
apart of some students school days. The school is required to provide these related services to
students with a disability that may be in need of these types of extra education.
Students are also protected by the IDEA by ensuring that each student with disabilities is
educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE) based on his or hers needs, and also protected
by procedural safeguards. LRE refers to letting a student with a disability to take part in class in
the same room as his or hers peers, unless a problem shall happen to arise. This principle gives
the disabled student the most appropriate chance at maintaining their independence as a student
surrounded by a class of peers. Procedural safeguards simply refer to the required procedures

that must take place to protect the rights of a child with a disability and their parents. This
principle looks out for the best of the individual and their parents by keeping their information
concerning evaluations and educational progress confidential. In order for this confidentiality to
be kept, it will require the ethical educators.
The last principle that constitutes the IDEA is the concept of parent participation and
shared decision-making. This principle requires the school systems to work together with parents
and students with disabilities in the planning and implementing process of special education and
other services. The parents opinions are heard and taken into account when making IEP goals. I
think that the parents role in this decision making process is important; because it allows a
different incite on the students academics. The bond between child and parent is different than
that of child and teacher; which allows for a different perspective on ideas and way to implement
educational goals.
The six principles of the IDEA has not only impacted the American education system but
also the educators and students involved. The principles help ensure the equal and fair actions
taken with disabled students in the school systems throughout our country. They allow each child
to be treated fairly and ultimately given the best chance to succeed as possible. In my opinion,
this act has been such a beneficial aspect to our country allowing no child to be left behind.

Works Cited

Heward, W. (2012). Exceptional Children: Introduction to Special Education (10th ed.). Person
Education, Inc.