There have been several pieces of legislation passed since 1973 guaranteeing the education rights of children with special needs. First, there was important legislation passed in 1973 called the Rehabilitation Act, giving students with special needs and disabilities free and equal access to public school education. In 1975, the IDEA Act which was formally the federal Education for All Handicapped Children Act or (EHA) passed requiring all public schools to evaluate handicapped children and create an educational plan with parent input that would emulate as closely as possible the educational experience of non-disabled students.
Since it is the responsibility of each state to uphold the federal law, each state passes their own legislation outlining how they are going to guarantee, protect, and safeguard the education rights of each child with special needs. Remember, before you head into that initial special education planning meeting with your school district, take a look at these protections and safeguards that were created for all our families and friends of children with special needs.