On November 29, 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), was signed into Public Law. Forty years later, the U.S. Department of Education celebrates the progress this landmark civil rights measure has made for ensuring that all children with disabilities have equal opportunities.
In adopting this measure, Congress opened public school doors to millions of children with disabilities, providing special education to 6.9 million students and early intervention services to over 340,000 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. This Act guarantees access to a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) for every child with a disability, with later amendments leading to increased emphasis on access to the general education curriculum and provision of services for young children from birth to five.
As part of the celebration, the U.S. Department of Education asked to hear stories from children and youth with disabilities, which they have curated into a power point collection available for viewing and download on the IDEA 40 website.