IDEA, 504, and ADA ADA
The American Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504) are legislation put into place by the United States Federal Government in an attempt to improve the living and educational lives of those with disabilities. All three serve a distinct purpose but also have several aspects that overlap.
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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1975 was passed by congress helped changed public education for children with disabilities. It made it possible that all children could receive a free appropriate public education. This law was far more progressive than those of the past. It stated that “special” education was to be provided in the least limiting setting. This means that students are to be educated in the best way possible in a regular classroom. (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2014, p. 3)
Before the passing of IDEA disabled student were either put into institutions or their parents had to put them into private schools which did not have the capabilities to educate them correctly. After its initiation students with disabilities now received free, suitable education. (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2014, p. 3)
Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that was put into place to prevent any discrimination against any individuals with disabilities by any agency that receives financial support from the federal government and offers a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). Even though some private schools may be exempt from the law, both public schools and the workforce are not. There may be students that do not fall under the IDEA legislation but they could receive services under 504. Issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and asthma are under the 504 mandate. To qualify these issues limit major live activity. (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2014, p. 11)
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that individuals with a disability must be provide reasonable accommodations. The accommodation are for the workplace and commercial facilities. The protection extends to those who attend colleges and universities. ADA protects those with physical or mental disabilities. The accommodations for the colleges and universities are similar to those of the K-12 public school system. The most influence this law has had is in the workplace. It has provided employment to millions of Americans who would not have employment without the law. (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2014, p. 13)
The similarities between IDEA, 504, and ADA are that they all protect those who have some sort of disability. The disabilities may be emotional, physical and/or mental. All three require that reasonable accommodations be provided to those who need them.
504 and IDEA have more similarities. For example, they both require FAPE for students with special needs. Both legislation also has procedural safeguards in place to help support the needs of the individuals. Written notices are required for both.
The big difference between the three is how they are funded. ADA is funded by grants. The grants help provide technical assistance to both private and public agencies. IDEA is supported by federal funds to help states and local education institutions to serve the needs of infants, toddlers and youth that have disabilities. For the 504 the responsibility falls onto the state and local agencies. Funds from IDEA cannot be used to support those who have a 504.
The evaluation and placement procedures for all three are also different. IDEA requires a very detail evaluation. The 504 requires only a notice for evaluation. While the ADA requires no evaluation.
All three legislation are important safeguards for those who are disabled. It allows for FAPE for students with disabilities and appropriate work environments for adults. It has allowed for those who in the past could not receive such support to receive what they need. Which allows for success and a richer life.
Mastropieri, M. A., & Scruggs, T. E. (2014). Introduction to Inclusive Teaching. In The inclusive classroom: Strategies for effective differentiated instruction (5th ed., pp. 3-12). Boston, MA: Pearson.
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