Since 1975 all children with disabilities specifically delineated by law have had available to them "a free, appropriate public education that includes special education and related services to meet their unique needs." This access has been made possible by the passage of Public Law 94-142,1 The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. This law was amended in October 1990 with passage of Public Law 101-476, The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Part B of Public Law 101-476 primarily details the identification and provision of services for children with disabilities. Unfortunately, the implementation of Part B of this law has been limited for many children by a number of significant and complex issues.
The term "related services" as currently defined in Part B of the IDEA includes the following:
... transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech pathology and audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation and social work services, and medical and counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.
Health care providers frequently view the related services listed above as medically necessary and/or helpful for children with disabilities without the proviso that these services must be necessary for special education. This difference in perspective and interpretation by pediatricians and parents often leads to misunderstandings, frustrations, conflicts, and problems in the development and implementation of related services within school programs for children with disabilities.
- Copyright © 1993 by the American Academy of Pediatrics