Children with learning disabilities face many challenges in school and are often overlooked for some of the most advanced educational programs. Unfortunately, many children with special needs and children with learning disabilities are not diagnosed as having such until a time occurs in which their academic performance is so poor that failure of a grade is a risk. With the approval of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, children with learning disabilities have been given greater opportunities at education than ever before.
If you are the parent of a child with special needs, it is important to become familiar with the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 and how it plays a role in your child’s education. It is under this Act that the definition of “learning disability” was defined and allowed for a guide by which educators and parents could seek out additional state-funded resources to support a child’s educational success.
Under this Act, your child’s classification for learning disability is based, primarily, on your child’s inability to maintain an achievement standard in correlation with their IQ standards. IQ standards for your child are defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which was amended in 1997. Under IDEA, and in collaboration with the Act of 1975, your child’s school should not only assist you in identifying the extent to which your child’s academic achievement is in disparity from their IQ but also how your child’s academic achievement may be in disparity to other children of the same grade and age level.
As the parent of a child with special needs, or a child with learning disabilities, these two Acts will be important to your child’s academic achievement and performance. Because your child may not be able to perform in a typical classroom setting, or with typical classroom instruction, these two Acts provide you with the tools to seek out modifications in education and accommodations in education on behalf of your child. The key to your child’s optimal educational outcome lies in the early detection and understanding of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.
Should your child’s school not recognize or provide the accommodations needed for your child’s educational advancement, consultation with a lawyer or attorney who specializes in education discrimination may be prudent. Understanding these Acts will ensure that you are prepared for the visit with the attorney and that you understand your rights under the programs.
Sources: Parenting the Special Needs Child, 2005: 9: 88-92.