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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pediatricians and IDEA

In The Politics of Autism, I write about special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act:

In Pediatrics, Paul H. Lipkin and Jeffrey Okamoto have an article titled "The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Children With Special Educational Needs."  The abstract:
The pediatric health care provider has a critical role in supporting the health and well-being of children and adolescents in all settings, including early intervention (EI), preschool, and school environments. It is estimated that 15% of children in the United States have a disability. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act entitles every affected child in the United States from infancy to young adulthood to a free appropriate public education through EI and special education services. These services bolster development and learning of children with various disabilities. This clinical report provides the pediatric health care provider with a summary of key components of the most recent version of this law. Guidance is also provided to ensure that every child in need receives the EI and special education services to which he or she is entitled.
The conclusion:
Services provided under IDEA and other federal laws are essential supports for children with special needs to learn and be integrated and contributing members of their communities. Health care providers have an important role in supporting the education of children with disabilities and other health issues and their families and in supporting EI and school programs. Health care providers are advised to understand the basic elements of federal law, including the public school mandate to provide an FAPE to qualified students in the LRE. Although providers are advised to respect the educational expertise of school professionals, they can safeguard that children with disabilities and other health or behavioral issues receive appropriate services from EI and school programs throughout their childhood years. Providers can particularly support these children and their families through critical transitions from the initial referral to EI and school systems through the transition into adulthood.