When Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), lawmakers included findings for why the law was necessary. These findings are the foundation for the rights that IDEA gives. Here are four inspiring quotes from IDEA’s findings and what they mean to your child.
“Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society.”
This is the first sentence in IDEA’s findings. In a few words, Congress recognized disability as part of the human experience, not as something abnormal or to be pushed aside. The whole of IDEA is founded on the notion that your child matters and has the right to be included in society.
“Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy.”
Making schools excellent for kids who struggle is not just an individual parent's job, it is part of America’s national policy. Congress made the interests of our most vulnerable kids a priority for our schools. If anyone ever asks why schools provide special education, this is part of the answer.
“Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by… strengthening the role and responsibility of parents.”
Education works better when parents have the opportunity to be involved. That’s why IDEA gives parents so many rights in the special education process. When you exercise these rights, you are doing exactly what the law intended.
“A more equitable allocation of resources is essential... to provide an equal educational opportunity for all individuals.”
Resources mean all the things that help children succeed—like good teachers, access to technology and the right supports. We live in a competitive, capitalist world, but when it comes to children, Congress said that help should go where it's needed. You should never be ashamed or reluctant to ask for what your child needs.
IDEA is more than a law, it’s a promise. We have, as a country, committed to serving the educational needs of children with learning and attention issues. We all know the law has not always fulfilled that promise and parents still struggle every day to get the support their children need. But that's why we fight to make things better. You can help. Join the nearly 50,000 other LD.org parents who receive LDAction updates about laws affecting their children’s rights. (If you’re interested, you can also read all the Congressional findings in IDEA here.)
Andrew M.I. Lee works as Web Editor for LD.org. He strives to make NCLD’s online content relevant, timely and compelling for all who seek to overcome challenges to learning. Andrew lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.