PL 94-142 Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (Ford)
PL 99-457 Amendments to the Education of the Handicapped Acts, 1986 (Reagan)
  • Extended the rights and protections provided by PL 94-142 to children ages 3 through 5. (Part B).
  • Early intervention services for children age birth to two years (Part H) (federal monies provided -- discretionary program).
  • Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
  • Provides case management services to families of infants and toddlers with disabilities.
  • Child Find established.
  • Procedural safeguards in place to protect rights of parents, child, early interventionists, and other service providers.
  • Smooth transition plans into public or elementary schools.
PL 101-336 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 1990 (Bush I)
  • Though not an education act per se, this law entitled people with disabilities (including children) to the following civil rights:
  • EMPLOYMENT -- Prohibits discrimination and provides for reasonable accommodation of persons with disabilities
  • STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT FACILITIES and PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION -- Must be accessible to all persons, including persons with disabilities.
  • PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS -- Must be accessible by all persons.
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS -- Appropriate technology must be made available.
  • MISCELLANEOUS -- Prohibits retaliation against individuals who seek to enforce their or another's rights under ADA.
  • ADA definition of a person with a disability: (1) having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits him or her in some major life activity, and (2) having
    experienced discrimination resulting from this mental or physical impairment.
PL 101-476 Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 1990 (Bush I)
  • Renamed Education of All Handicapped Children Act. Became Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to follow "person-first" language. See below.
  • Added "Autism" and "Traumatic Brain Injury" to disability categories.
  • Transition plans (transitioning out of Special Education) must be in place by the student's 16th birthday.
  • Definition of special education services extended to "instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and other settings; and instruction
    in physical education."
  • Extended related services to include social work services and rehabilitative counseling.

PL 102 - 119  Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 1991 (Bush 1)
  • To provide Federal assistance to States to establish early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities from birth through age 2, and their families.
    Funds are to be used to plan, develop, and implement a Statewide comprehensive, coordinated, inter-agency multidisciplinary system for providing early intervention
    services. States may also use funds to provide direct services that are not otherwise provided from other public or private sources and expand and improve current
Reauthorized 99-457, extended Part H and amended both Part B and Part H. Changed terminology: "case management" to "service coordinator," "language and
speech" to "communication," "psychosocial" to "social or emotional," "self- help skills" to "adaptive skills." Added social work, vision,
assistive technology, and
transportation as related services.
French physician Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard was hired to care for a "feral child" Victor, or the "Wild Boy of Aveyron." Victor was found wandering
in the woods. He was deaf and couldn't speak.
Dr. Itard worked with him for 5 years with slow results.

The Braille code was first published. Developed by Louis Braille, a French educator who was himself blind. Braille is a tactile system of reading and
writing, based on a code of 6 embossed dots.

The National Deaf Mute College was established. This college was later renamed Gallaudet College in 1891 and then Gallaudet University in 1986.
Named after
Thomas Gallaudet, who, in the early 1800s, taught children with hearing impairments to communicate via a system of manual signs and

Alexander Graham Bell introduced the term "special education." He was an inventor, engineer, innovator credited with inventing the first telephone.
Both his mother and wife were deaf. He viewed deafness as something that ought to be eradicated, and that people who are deaf should not use sign
language, but learn to talk. In some schools then, children who were deaf had their hands tied behind their backs so that they could not sign.

College level training for teachers of students with intellectual disabilities began. In 1899, teachers were sent to Massachusetts Institution for the Feeble-Minded at Waltham and Elwyn
in Pennsylvania for training.

Early 20th century
Maria Montessori, the first woman to earn a medical degree in Italy, established schools for children who lived in the poorest sections of Rome. Her classroom experiences were designed to
meet individual needs of the students.

Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon published their intelligence test -- the first IQ test. Binet, a French psychologist, was asked to create a method of identifying children who needed
special education services. His colleague,
Simon, helped Binet determine mental age. The French test was translated into English, and in 1916, first administered in the United States at
Stanford University
(thus Stanford-Binet IQ test).

The term "emotional disturbance" began to be used, likely by Sigmund Freud in a paper "The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis" about a 21-year-old patient (Anna O.) of Dr.
Joseph Breuer

The term "mentally retarded" was introduced and the term "gifted" first appeared in professional literature.

The Council for Exceptional Children was founded by a group of students attending Teachers College at Columbia University. They organized a meeting and invited their professor
Elizabeth Farrell. The International Council for the Education of Exceptional Children was founded at that meeting. The three aims were to unite teachers, to emphasize education of
children with disabilities, and to establish professional standards for teachers in the field of special education.

Leo Kanner identified the characteristics of children with autism. He was a physician at Johns Hopkins University and noticed that 11 of his patients had similar characteristics. He coined the
term "
early infantile autism." About the same time, Dr. Hans Asperger, a pediatrician in Germany, described a milder form of autism, now known as Asperger Syndrome.

Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Modern civil rights movement. This case decided that segregated schools violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Even
though this case involved race and not disability, the implication was inclusion of all children. The
Supreme Court decided that education is a right that must be available to all on equal terms.

PL 87-276 (Kennedy) Funding became available for training teachers in the education of children who were deaf or hard of hearing.

Samuel A. Kirk introduced the term "learning disabilities." Kirk was a psychologist in Chicago and worked with parents of children who had "minimal brain dysfunction" or
strephosymbolia" (reversed letters and other errors). He suggested that we throw out those unwieldy terms and say "learning disability."

A task force was recommended to establish Head Start. Sergeant Shriver was named  head of the Office of Economic Opportunity and convened a panel of 14 experts to study the issue of
preschoolers living in poverty. This program was a critical component of a larger national agenda called the
War on Poverty.

Project Head Start. Office of Economic Opportunity Act. Established early education programs for 4-year-old children from economically disadvantaged homes. President Johnson was a
former teacher in
Texas. At first Head Start was an eight-week summer program staffed by volunteers. In 1965, Head Start had a $96.4 million budget and served over half a million children.

PL 89-10 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (Johnson). A $1.33 billion commitment to improve elementary and secondary education. The law included six Titles. Title 1
concerned programs and curriculum materials for children who were economically disadvantaged, children who migrate to the US, youth from intervention programs, and children who were
neglected or at risk for abuse. To be a Title 1 school, typcially 40% or more of the student body has to be from low-income families.
Title 2 -- school library, textbooks, instructional materials;
Title 3 -- supplementary educational services and centers; Title 4 -- educational research and training; Title 5 -- grants to strengthen state departments of education; Title 6 -- general

Handicapped Children's Early Education Assistance Act (HCEEP) or PL 90-538 (Johnson). Addressed special education services for very young children with developmental delays
and their families; ages birth to 8. Funds were provided for experimental and early education programs with mandated parental involvement (called "
First Chance Programs"). This
legislation is considered to inaugurate the field of early childhood special education.

Diana vs. State Board of Education of California. The basis of this case was the testing of nine children from Mexico, whose native tongue was Spanish. The children were placed in a
class for students with mild intellectual disabilities after they scored low on a standardized IQ test administered in
English. The case was settled out of court and established the precedent
decision that standardized testing was to be done in the child's native or most comfortable tongue.

Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contested a state law that specifically allowed public schools to deny services to children
"who have not attained a mental age of five years" at the time they would ordinarily enroll in first grade. Under a consent decree, the state agreed to provide full access to a free public
education to children with intellectual disabilities up to age 21. That case also established the standard of appropriateness—that is, that each child be offered an education appropriate to his
or her learning capacities—and established a clear preference for the least restrictive placement for each child. This was a class action suit by several parents and ultimately a
United States
District Court
decision for the parents.

Mills v. Board of Education, seven children between the ages of 8 and 16 with a variety of mental and behavioral disabilities brought suit against the District of Columbia public schools,
which had refused to enroll some students and expelled others, solely on the basis of their disability. The school district admitted that an estimated 12,340 children with disabilities within the
district's boundaries would not be served during the
1971–72 school year because of budget constraints. The U.S. District Court ruled that school districts were constitutionally prohibited
from deciding that they had inadequate resources to serve children with disabilities because the equal protection clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment would not allow the burden of
insufficient funding to fall more heavily on children with disabilities than on other children. Class action suit by parents of 7 children; settle pretrial.

Head Start Amendments PL 92-424 (Nixon). Head Start originally had an open door policy for all children who met the economic requirement to attend. These amendments mandated that
10% of enrollment be reserved for children with developmental disabilities. In
1974, it was specified to be children with intellectual disabilities, deafness, speech impairments, severe visual
impairments, orthopedic impairments, chronic health problems, and learning disabilities.

Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973 PL 93-112 (Nixon). "No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits
of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives or benefits from federal financial assistance." Federal civil rights law protecting individuals with
functional disabilities. Provides protection for some students not eligible for services through IDEA. This kind of funding is for children who are  affected by a disorder included in other health
impairments, but whose educational performance is not generally affected by the disorder.
See above (scroll WAY up).

PL 94-142 Education of the Handicapped Act (Ford). This act was the basis for all subsequent special education practice. Also called EHA. Considered landmark legislation. Part B
established categories of disabilities and mandated special education for children ages 5 -- 21 years old.
See above (scroll WAY up).

PL 99-457 Education of Handicapped Amendments (Reagan). These amendments made provisions for infants and toddlers with developmental delays. Extended Part B to include
infants. Established
Part H, incentive monies. See above ...

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) PL 101-336 (Bush Sr). Public and private sectors, including libraries, state and local government facilities, restaurants, hotels, theatres,
transportation systems, and stores should be wheelchair accessible. Also closed captioning and nondiscriminatory hiring practices.
See above ...

PL 101-476 Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (Bush Sr). Changed EHA to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Autism and traumatic brain injury were
added to the special education categories. This law followed the people-first terminology.
See above ...

PL 102-119 IDEA Amendments (Bush Sr.) Reauthorized and extended Part H of PL 99-457. Amended the definition of children with disabilities to allow states to provide services for 3 -- 5
year olds with developmental delays. Changed terminology of various provisions and modified how services are to be provided. Added vision services, assistive technology, early intervention
services. Transitions from
Part H into preschool programs. See above ...

PL 103-252 Early Head Start (Clinton). Provided services for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. First program opened in 1995.

Reauthorization of IDEA. PL 105-17. (Clinton). Incentive monies were made available to states serving children below age 5. Provisions were for LRE, FAPE, due process,
nondiscriminatory evaluations, zero reject, IEPs.
Part C (previously Part H) discretionary legislation -- recommended but not required of states to follow. Infants and toddlers were not to be
labeled (by category) but only "developmental delay," and receive an IFSP instead of an IEP.
See above ...

No Child Left Behind PL 107-110 (signed into law January 2002) (Bush, Jr.). Calls for more standardized testing, "highly qualified" goals for teachers; schools must show progress
toward "everyone" being able to pass standardized testing, making no allowances for children with disabilities. Reauthorization of
PL 89-10 from 1965. See above ...

Reauthorization of IDEA PL 108-446 (Bush Jr). Differences between 2004 and 1997 are outlined on a separate page. GO THERE. More details also available above ...

Reauthorization of ADA PL 110-325 (Bush, Jr.). See above...

(Obama) The president signed a bill replacing the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability" in all federal government acts, writings, etc. This was called "Rosa's Law" for a little girl
Rosa Marcellino, with Down Syndrome.
Timeline for laws and precedents and a couple of other things . . .
Related services provided in PL 94-142: transportation, and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech-language pathology and
auditory services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical
services, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special
education, and . . . the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children. (Wording from the reauthorization of IDEA, PL 108-446, 2004.)

The difference in terminology: Disorder, Disability, Handicap, Exceptional; etc.
Disorder  --
a general disturbance in mental, physical, or psychological functioning.
Disability -- a more specific term than disorder; results from a loss of physical functioning (e.g., loss of sight, hearing, or mobility) or from difficulty in learning and social
adjustment that significantly interferes with typical growth and development.
Handicap -- a limitation imposed by demands of the environment and is related to an inability to adapt or adjust to those demands. This word has come to have negative
connotations, and literally means "cap in hand"; from a time that people with disabilities had to beg in the streets to survive.
Exceptional is a comprehensive term that may be applied to every soul on earth. However, in most educational settings, this term is used in referring to children who are
served by special education services.

IF YOU MUST LABEL A CHILD (or adult . . . )
The most desirable and best label to use is the individual's given name.
If you are describing a child in an informal setting, always use positive descriptors.
In a professional setting, use the child's name followed by the child's diagnosed disability (use specifics, not generalities), if it is
~~Each child is unique and needs to be looked at individually and not just in terms of his/her disability. (i.e., use abilities)
Always be respectful, in all situations.
~~Don't be judgmental or make stereotypical assumptions.  
PL 105-17 Individuals With Disabilities Education Act Amendments, 1997
  • Suspension and school discipline for children with disabilities explained.
  • Classified Child Find.
  • ADD and ADHD could be included under "other health impairment."
  • Clarification of IEP terminology.
  • Use of terminology "developmental delay" for children ages 3 through 9 at state's discretion.
  • "Developmental delay" defined as a delay in one or more of the following areas:
  •        cognitive development;
  •        physical development, including vision and hearing;
  •        communication development;
  •        social or emotional development;
  •        adaptive development; OR
  •        Have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay.
  • Continuing federal monies (incentive) for preschool and early intervention services.
PL 108-446 Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act, 2004 (Bush, Jr.)
Purpose – to ensure that all children have a FAPE with special education and related services to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education,
employment, and independent living to the maximum extent possible.

Attempt to align IDEA with NCLB

Extensive definition of 'highly qualified' special education teachers:

Addition of a new category -- where a child has inflicted serious bodily injury on another person, violations involving weapons or drugs  -- to the school's ability to place a child
with a disability in an
interim alternative educational setting.
PL 93 - 112, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 -- Section 504 (Nixon)
Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. This law ensures that the child has equal access to educational activities.
Section 504 and the American with Disabilities Act (amended September 24, 2008 to the American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008) (?) (ADAAA) are
not educational laws, but civil rights law. A child who has a 504 plan does not have an
Individualized Education Plan and there are fewer procedural safeguards in place
for parents and child. The deal with a
504 plan is this: if the child has a disability that adversely affects his/her education, then the child will likely to be eligible for educational
benefits under
IDEA. If the child's disability does NOT affect his/her education, then the child will not be eligible under IDEA, but can receive equal access and protection under
Section 504.
PL 107-110 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (Bush, Jr.) (2001)
This act is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Johnson, War on Poverty; Title 1 programs of federal aid to
disadvantaged children in poor and rural areas)
– All children will have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to receive a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State
academic achievement standards and State academic assessments.
Requirements – Schools must reach proficiency in reading, math, and science by 2014. Annual proficiency tests in grades 3 – 8. Highly qualified teachers in every
classroom; research-based instruction; increased parental rights, public school choice; and state, district, and school report cards.
Adequate Yearly Progress – each school must set annual goals for student progress and testing of 95% of students. If schools fail to make the grade for 2 consecutive
years, they are “in need of improvement” and parents may send their child to another school within the district. After 4 years, school staff may be replaced. After 5 years,staff
will be replaced and a private firm will take over the school. This law is mandatory for all schools and states receiving
Title 1 federal funds.
PL 110-325 Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments, 2008
Amendments of ADA -- "Physical or mental disabilities in no way diminishes a person's right to fully participate in all aspects of society,
yet many people with physical or mental disabilities have been precluded from doing so because of discrimination; others who have a
record of a disability or are regarded as having a disability also have been subjected to discrimination." More clearly defined "major life
activities," "substantial limitations," etc. The law redefines "disability" to protect people with chronic diseases and disabilities from workplace discrimination. The definition of
"disabilities" had narrowed  the definition against people with chronic illnesses who manage their disabilities with medication or treatment as "too functional" to be protected
under ADA. This amendment restored ADA's original intent.