The teamwork of parents and educators paid off in 1975 when the 94th Congress passed Public Law 94-142, "The Education for All Handicapped Children Act." The law was the result of years of advocacy efforts and teamwork by parents and educators. It has become a landmark in the history of public education. This law has been revised and is now called IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
Public Law 94-142 declares that ....all handicapped children have available to them....a free, appropriate public education.
Basically, this means that public schools must provide, free of charge, a program of special education and special services designed to meet the unique needs of a handicapped student. The law covers all persons with special needs from age three through twenty-one.
Public Law 94-142 outlines a special education process that parents and educators must follow to help the child with a disability benefit from an education and have an opportunity to reach his/her goals. The steps of the process are listed below.