On November 27, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed the first national pieces of legislation that made it mandatory to provide appropriate and free education for students with disabilities. This law, Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), i.e. the Public Law 94-142 was known as Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) took effect on September 1, 1978 which provided guarantee of special education services to disable students until they graduate from high school.
There were six main components of the law which are as follows:
The Zero reject or FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) this guarantees that all children regardless of their ability will be able to acquire education.
The Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) second portion of the 1975 IDEA act, requires that special needs children be educated with non-special needs children whenever possible to ensure that they are not segregated from the other students unless absolutely necessary. This provides the special needs students with more opportunities to learn from their non-special needs peers and will create an environment where children with special needs, and children with no special needs can learn from each other unless the requirement for segregation is extremely necessary.
The Nondiscriminatory Identification and Evaluation mandates that school must use multiple methods of evaluation, and its procedure should be free of bias. It should be multi-factored, in the child's native language, and should not discriminate on the basis of race, culture or language.
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be formed for each individual special need child specifically designed to meet the needs of a particular student. It is done by IEP team compromised on professionals, parents/guardians, educators etc. to meet annually and to formulate appropriate plans and goals, to decide on the methods of how these plans will be implemented and goals will be achieved.