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Navigating the U.S. Educational System When a Child Has Special Needs

  • By: Michael S. Kelly & Cynthia Franklin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

In the United States, special education provides services to students with a wide range of disabilities. Presently, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) identifies 14 different categories of student disability, from severe mental and physical impairments to autism spectrum disorders to behavior disorders. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was first passed in the mid-1970s and has had a profound impact on special education services. Through the IDEA legislation, special education and Response to Intervention (RTI) programs have become services available to parents of students with special needs. In addition, 504 plans (often referred to as 504s in schools) allow for students to have accommodations to their regular education setting due to health issues and are also an option for parents seeking ...

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