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There is no doubt that special education for cerebral palsy patients will be needed at some point in their life. Whether it’s in just the first few years of education or continuously through their school career, these special programs will help them achieve their highest potential. Special education for cerebral palsy patients should always be as readily available as education for non-disabled individuals and under the public policy IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act), it is.
In 1975, Congress passed Public Law 94-142 (Education of All Handicapped Children Act), now codified as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). In order to receive federal funds, states must develop and implement policies that assure a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children with disabilities. By this code, all states must provide special changes in classrooms with special education for cerebral palsy patients until they are 21 years old.
In October 1986, Congress passed a very important special education law called Public Law (PL) 99-457, which would also help with special education for cerebral palsy patients. This law is an amendment to PL 94-142 and is an important step forward in educating young children with handicaps. Under P.L.99-457, Congress has made funds available to help states and territories wanting to continue receiving federal funds under infant, toddler, and preschool programs to provide the following services:
Early Intervention Services to infants and toddlers (ages birth to two years) with handicaps (If a state chooses to, it can also serve infants and toddlers at risk of developing handicaps) and special education programs and related services to preschoolers (ages 3 through 5 years).
On December 3, 2004, Congress signed a reauthorization of IDEA with additional amendments benefiting disabled children and a re-scoping of goals regarding special education for cerebral palsy patients.
Early identification of cerebral palsy can lessen developmental problems by placing a child in a special education for cerebral palsy patients program sooner. Special education for cerebral palsy patients includes early intervention programs (EIPs) that are family-centered in which professionals and families work together with the child in specific activities.
Special education for cerebral palsy patients can consist of many different programs. These programs can include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, assistive technology, physical therapy, as well as medical intervention. Educators, occupational and physical therapists, social workers, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, and physicians can assist families by providing information and education.
When a child becomes older and begins formal schooling, the degree of services will vary from individual to individual. Special education for cerebral palsy patients promotes individuals to achieve a substantial degree of independence, however, in some cases some may need considerable assistance. Continuing therapy, regular or special education, counseling, technical support, community integration opportunities, recreation and possible personal attendants may be included in programs aimed at special education for cerebral palsy patients.
Besides special education for cerebral palsy patients, a key factor will always be a supportive factor. People with a severe degree of cerebral palsy can still be functional and independent. Each year the number of students with cerebral palsy attending colleges and universities is growing. The continuation of special education for cerebral palsy patients will expedite these students through higher education and into a world of independent living and accomplishment.