Federal Legislation: Early
The Exceptional Child: Inclusion in Early Childhood Education
K. Eileen Allen, Glynnis E. Cowdery
• I can describe legislation that has impacted the education of children
• I can explain how prevention can reduce the prevalence of primary
and secondary disabilities
• Just as with other children the development of children with
disabilities is maximized in positive environments and through high
• Where children with disabilities were once institutionalized, the
movement in the 60s was to close institutions. People with disabilities
returned to their homes and communities.
• The civil rights movement impacted the rights of individuals with
disabilities. Here is current civil rights information from ARC
• Compensatory education – Head Start began in 1965 as part of
President Johnson’s War on Poverty.
• Designed for children
• In poverty or with other disadvantages
• To provide them opportunities more advantaged children receive
• High quality (based on best practice and research) is key to these programs
Gifted and Talented
• This is an often neglected category of children with exceptionalities
• Multiple Intelligences vs. traditional definition of gifted
• Ben Carson (interesting human interest story) – likely candidate for a
gifted program? How many children like Ben Carson are we not seeing
in gifted programs?
• Single parent house and mother with 3rd grade education
• Horrific temper
• Bottom of his class in elementary
• Head Start and Early Head Start – currently no Early Head Start in our
• Section 504 – many children in our schools have “504 plans” – these
cover accommodations for disabilities that may not require special
education intervention. Example – special testing accommodations
for students with severe test anxiety
• PL 94-142 – Education of All Handicapped Children Act – 1975;
currently known as IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education
Improvement Act- All children, regardless of disability, have the right
to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE)
FAPE – the Nuts and Bolts
• All children, not matter the severity of the disability
• Nondiscriminatory – testing must be in a child’s primary language and
avoid cultural biases; example – a test question that refers to an
escalator may not be appropriate for a child who has never been to a
• Appropriate – as determined by a team including, but not limited to:
child’s parent(s), other service providers (OT, PT, speech, etc.),
teacher, Local Education Agency (LEA) representative, etc. through
the child’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or IFSP (Individualized
Family Service Plan)
FAPE – the Nuts and Bolts (cont.)
• Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) – child must have opportunity to
be educated alongside typically developing peers
• Connection to our current knowledge – Example: Multi-disciplinary
team, including parents, determines placement of a child with
disabilities in the same elementary school his or her siblings attend or
at North Shelby.
• Due Process – parents have the right to due process if they do not
agree with their child’s educational plans or actions being taken by a
school such a removing their child from a classroom because of
FAPE – the Nuts and Bolts (cont.)
• Parent Participation – parents are considered an integral part in the
educational planning for their child with disabilities.
• Transition planning – for students from 16 – 21 years; multidisciplinary team helps student transition from public school into
adult settings (may include work in public or sheltered workshop type
settings, group home or independent living situations, etc.)
• FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) is provided by the public
schools for children with disabilities from 3 – 21 years old.
Later Amendments - 1986
• Addition of services for children from birth – age 3.
• Child does not have to have an identified disability (label)
• IFSP must be provided by a multi-disciplinary team, including parent(s)
• Services must be provided in a child’s natural setting (home, child care
• Child Find – concerted efforts to locate children and their families who may
be eligible for services.
• Transition services – supporting the child’s transition to kindergarten
Later Amendments – 1986 (cont.)
• Connection to local services – In our area, CDSA (Children’s
Developmental Services Agency)
• provides services for families whose children have identified disabilities
• who may be at risk for disabilities (premature babies, babies with
• Part of NC Department of Health and Human Services
• NC Infant-Toddler Program – contact information for Shelby CDSA and other
information may be found here.
Later Amendments - 2005
• All of the above, plus
• “highly qualified” special education teacher in addition to “highly qualified”
regular education teachers
• Functional behavior assessments – children with disabilities may not be
expelled from school for behaviors that are the result of the disability; those
who are expelled from school for behaviors not related to the disability are
still eligible for an education and the LEA must provide the education.
• Lengths of suspensions and other discipline issues are addressed in later
ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act
• Civil rights for all people (not just school aged)
• Provides access to buildings
• Anti-discrimination in work, etc.
• Connection to us – must be followed at CCC and other colleges –
Example: our online courses must be set up in ways that could be
adapted for students with disabilities if necessary.
• Prenatal care
• Genetic counseling
• Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
• APGAR Scores
• Blood test for PKU and other newborn tests
• Prevention of secondary disabilities
• Preventive healthcare
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