Special Education Day is celebrated on December 2 to commemorate the signing of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act into law on this day in 1975 (IDEA). IDEA granted access to children with special needs to free and quality public education. The act has been revised several times but the crux of it remains the same, and is the foundation for special education in the U.S. In support of this act, many organizations pledge to provide good education to students with special needs. You can find full information on these scholarships and more on Scholaroo.
History of Special Education Day
It all started in 1972 with the U.S. District Court lawsuit Mills versus the Board of Education filed in the District of Columbia. The denial of publicly funded education for special children, including those with learning disabilities, was ruled unlawful. This case paved the way for acts such as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, approved and passed by President Gerald Ford on November 29 of the same year. The Act was the country’s first official law addressing special education.
States receiving federal funds were required to provide full access to children with special needs. In 1986, the law was revised to include more support for parents and educators and to advance education plans. In 1990, the name of this landmark act changed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. Over the years, clauses have been added to address issues and ensure that the standards of education for special children are on par with the overall educational system.
IDEA not only established the rights of children with learning disabilities, but laid the groundwork for teachers and families to work together, and ensure there are services and resources available for support. Special Education Day started in 2005 — on IDEA’s 30th anniversary.
Special Education Day timeline
President Gerald Ford signs the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on November 29.
A court ruling approves access to special programs for meeting the unique needs of students.
IDEA is reauthorized with revised regulations.
Special Education Day is celebrated for the first time to mark the 30th anniversary of IDEA.
Special Education Day FAQs
Is there a National Special Education Week?
There isn’t a Special Education Week. December 2 is observed as National Special Education Day.
What does a special education teacher do daily?
The roles and responsibilities of a special education teacher are tougher than that of a regular teacher. Daily tasks include attending meetings, planning attainable goals, execution of lesson plans, tracking the progress of students and maintaining their records, following up with parents, grading assignments, and more.
What does E.D.C. stand for in special education?
E.D.C. stands for Eligibility Determination Conference.
How to Observe Special Education Day
Read the IDEA legislation
Explore the impact IDEA has had on the lives of children with disabilities. Read about the framework it provides and the recent revisions in the legislation.
Join the conversation
Be the voice for disabled children everywhere. Participate in discussions in person or online and share stories of those you know who have benefited from improved special education.
Look for opportunities to volunteer in special education programs in your local community. Many institutes require volunteers after school to assist and spend time with special children.
5 Facts About Special Education Everyone Should Know
The father of special education
French physician Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard is considered the father of special education.
The ratio of boys to girls
Approximately four times as many boys as girls are diagnosed with a learning disability.
It is limited
Special education laws provide mostly for primary and secondary school levels.
There is a difference
There is a distinct difference between learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities.
Famous people with disabilities
Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein are famous people who had learning disabilities and special educational needs.
Why Special Education Day is Important
It dispels misconceptions about disabilities
Students with disabilities are often misunderstood. Many believe that such students have learning impediments when that is not the case. Special Education Day addresses this misconception.
It’s a chance to thank the teachers
Special Education is not possible without the efforts of the teachers and educators who relentlessly help their students achieve their educational goals. It also highlights the need for specialized educational teachers.
Children are the future
Today’s youth is the future, and thanks to the combined efforts of activists, advocates, and state-level officials, they are supported in this difficult, but no doubt, most rewarding journey. It potentially inspires future students to pursue a career in specialized education.
Special Education Day dates