Before the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed, it was difficult for children with disabilities or special needs to overcome many of the educational obstacles presented in a typical school setting. While the act was originally passed back in 1975 (though under a different name), it has been amended many times since to help better meet the needs of children with learning disabilities in school. Thanks to the changes that have been made, children of all ages with disabilities are ensured free services to help them succeed in a public educational setting.
As with most things in life, getting an early diagnosis of a disability, as well as an early start with special education programs for kids, is the best way to start a child on the path to success.There are a couple of ways parents can ensure that their children get the services they need as soon as possible, including:
- Regular Pediatric Visits – Attending regular well-baby visits and pediatric check-ups is important for a number of reasons. It ensures that a child is healthy and growing at the appropriate pace, and it also helps doctors identify whether or not a child might benefit from special education programs for kids. If a pediatrician is concerned that a child might have a disability or special needs, they can refer them to a specialist for further evaluation. These specialists are better able to make a diagnosis based on a child’s development and other characteristics and provide their parents with the information they need to get their child special education services.
- Child Find Office – Under IDEA regulations, each state is required to establish a system to help identify learning disabilities. These local child find offices provide services to parents who are concerned that their child might have a disability or require special needs. By setting up an appointment at their local child find office, parents can have their child screened for delays or disabilities and start them in special programs if something is found.
While these special education programs for kids are required in all public schools, private schools do not have to abide by the same rules. That said, there are many private schools that are dedicated specifically to children with learning disabilities and special needs. These special needs schools ensure that students have the best resources and educators to help them make the most of their educational experience.
While it wasn’t always easy for children with disabilities to succeed in a school setting, updated government initiatives now ensure that these students get the help they need from the time they are born until they leave high school.