On Nov. 29, 1975, the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), guaranteed access to a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment to every child with a disability. Subsequent amendments, as reflected in the IDEA, have led to an increased emphasis on access to the general education curriculum, the provision of services for young children from birth to five, transition planning and accountability for the achievement of students with disabilities.
Thanks to IDEA, children like Jake not only have the opportunity to have an education that meets a their unique needs, but also an education that prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living. In Jake’s case, this may take the form of a career in the culinary arts … Jake has often expressed a desire to work for Wegmans, and more recently, at Wegmans’ “The Pub” restaurant.
Jake began his academic journey in December 2006 shortly before turning 2 1/2 years old. It’s not a stretch to say there was hesitation on my part, putting my “baby” on a school bus, but, I see now what a great gift IDEA has been to Jake and our entire family.
I am also thankful for the establishment of Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) and their role in educating, training, and supporting parents like myself. I am so appreciative of PTIs, I now work for Virginia’s, which is called PEATC. I am happy to be in a position to put my Library and Information Science background coupled with my personal experience as a parent of a child with a disability to good use!
Happy 40th Birthday, IDEA … I can’t wait to see what you look like in another 5 to 10 years!!