In the USA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was created to provide special education to specific children. Offered under the public education system, it is delivered for free to children. The act was initially named as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975 when it was first passed. In 2004, the law was reauthorized under the rule of George W. Bush, but the primary objective of it still remains the same. The Act is meant to:
- protect the rights of children with disabilities
- give parents a voice in their children’s education
Under the act, a parent has certain protections that are termed as procedural safeguards. In simple words, these are rights of the parent to many any and all decisions when it comes to the education of the child.
In the last few years, the number of students who have been enrolled in special education classes under the act has increased dramatically. The figure was near 5.6 million in 2011. In 2014, it rose to over 5.8 million. Presently the number is assumed to be even higher. The maximum growth in enrollment within the Special Education Act has seen comes from autism and related disability categories.