USD 231

Friday, Dec. 2, is National Special Education Day, which commemorates the nation's first federal special education law.

Congress in 1975 passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA), which guaranteed access to a free appropriate education in the least restrictive environment to every child with a disability. The law was amended in 1990 to become the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Since 1975, the United States has progressed from excluding nearly 1.8 million children with disabilities from public schools to providing special education and related services designed to meet individual needs to more than 7.5 million children with disabilities in 2020-2021, according to the IDEA website.

IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 7.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

In Kansas, 78,273 Kansas students received special education and related services through IDEA in the 2021-2022 school year. Children and youth ages 3 through 21 receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B, which is what the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) oversees.

Infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, with disabilities and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) oversees Part C. During the 2021-2022 school year, there were 7,794 students (out of the 78,273 served) who received services under Part C. - Source KSDE