Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society.
Before the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, more commonly known as Public Law 94-142 and most recently, Individuals with Disabilities and Educational Act 2004, the educational needs of our children with disabilities were not being met; many children were excluded from the regular classroom and were not able to interact with their peers at all; many children with disabilities participating in the regular classroom didn’t have success in the classroom because their disabilities weren’t known. Due to lack of services in the public schools, families had to find other services at their own expense.
After many amendments to the law children with disabilities now have access to a free and appropriate public education. As parents we have high expectations for our children with disabilities:
· We need to engage in parent involvement endeavors with the school, which is essential.
· Our children should be included in the general curriculum as much as possible with the special education and related services and supports as needed.
· The staff supporting our children should be highly qualified so they have the knowledge and skills to meet their individual needs.
· We all want the same things, for our children with special needs to lead productive and independent adult lives and find employment after high school.
So what this means for me and my child who has autism are; I am in partnership with my school and have a very important role to play in my son’s education. I ensure that my son is educated with peers as much as possible; and I have high expectations for him and excellent prospects for his post high school employment.
I want for my son, the same thing I want for my other children which is to be happy, productive, living as independently as possible and to have a job he loves and excels at! IDEA 2004 helps make this all this possible.