What is Special Education?


The Education of all Handicapped Children Act of 1975 was the first legislation to protect the educational rights of students with disabilities. This law was later amended to become the Indiciduals  with Disabilies Act (IDEA) which is how we know it today. Although the law’s name changed and new provisions have since been added, its overall purpose remains the same; IDEA guarantees educational rights to all students with disabilities and makes it illegal for school districts to refuse to educate a student based on a student’s disability.

Under IDEA, there are 14 categories under which a student is eligible to receive the protections and services promised in the law. They are:

  1. Autism
  2. Deaf-Blindness
  3. Deafness
  4. Emotional Disturbance
  5. Hearing Impairment
  6. Intellectual Disability*
  7. Orthopedic Impairment
  8. Specific Learning Disability
  9. Speech or Language Impairment
  10. Traumatic Brain Injury
  11. Visual Impairment
  12. Multiple Disabilities
  13. Other Health Impairments