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1: Introduction and Foundations of Special Education
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- 1.1: How Federal Laws Are Made
- Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government in the United States and makes laws for the nation. Congress has two legislative bodies or chambers: the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.
- 1.2: Special Education and Related Services
- Special education is instruction specifically designed to meet the individual needs of exceptional students. IDEA defines special education as instruction and related services specifically designed, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, the home, hospitals, institutions, and other settings and includes instruction in physical education.
- 1.3: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA), which guaranteed a free and appropriate public education for children with disabilities in the United States. In 1990, the law was reauthorized and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- 1.4: The Pre-Referral Process
- Students are identified for special education and related services through a system of referrals beginning with the pre-referral process. Many schools have established school-based student assistance teams (SATs) to facilitate the assessment and identification of exceptional students. The SAT is a team of educators, specialists, and clinicians who monitor the progress of students that may require special education and related services.
- 1.5: The Referral Process
- If the tiered interventions do not result in improvement, a formal referral is made for evaluation to determine eligibility for special education and related services. At this point, parents must be notified and give their consent for the evaluation. IDEA specifies that a child must be evaluated within 60 days of receiving parental consent or within any period established by the state.
- 1.6: Multi-Tiered System of Support
- Another proactive instructional model or framework for preventing both academic and non-academic issues is called a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS).
- 1.7: Early Childhood Intervention Services
- Early intervention services incorporate education, health care, and social services and are provided to infants and toddlers (under age 3) who have a disability or are exhibiting developmental delays, as well as their families. Children who are considered at risk for developmental delays also receive early intervention services.
- 1.8: The Individualized Education Program
- The multidisciplinary team (MDT) is required to develop an IEP for each student receiving special education and related services. The purpose of an IEP is to provide an appropriate education that meets the specialized needs of each student.
- 1.9: Transition from School to Post-School Activities
- The IDEA requires transition planning and transition services for students 16 to 22 years of age. In Illinois, transition planning must begin at age 14 ½. Transition services facilitate the transition from school to post-school activities including postsecondary education, vocational education, employment, continuing and adult education, and independent living.
- 1.10: Chapter Questions and References