Happy 40th Birthday IDEA!

(No audio) Hi, I’m Judy kreski from the infant
toddler program for Luzerne in Wyoming counties, and when I was asked to share
some thoughts about IDEA, the first word that came to my mind was
opportunity. Because i believe it presented the largest opportunity ever for kids with special needs to have an opportunity to maximize their full
potential. I think in this great country we live in
everyone should have that opportunity for learning. Whether you’re female, male,
rich, poor, or have special needs. So just imagine if you had the ability
to read but you never learned how to read. Learning creates our personalities. We know what we like, what we don’t like.
We learn what we’re good at. We learn what we’re not good at. So i think that
opportunity for learning was really really important and i’m glad kids with
special needs have that today. So they say the most important words, the three most important words in real estate are location location location. But the crafters of what became known as IDEA, they thought beyond location and it was individualized education and that
is the most important thing. The other really important thing,
that IDEA meant for me was about parents rights. Because to me as a parent
that meant I had the right to expect things. Hi, I’m Sarah Holland, I’m parent of Ian and Lars, and when I think of IDEA the three words that come to mind are hope, access, and
empowerment. When Ian was born in learning about the law that would
support him through his whole life I thought of hope for a future, I thought
of hope for learning, I thought of hope for friends, and
meaningful involvement, and community. Access, access to being able to sing
“Wheels on the Bus” in preschool, and learn Shakespeare in high schoo,l field trips to the pumpkin patch, and fifth grade camping trips, the prom and year book.
Access to all those things that school has to offer. And empowerment for me as a parent, the empowerment to find my own voice in advocating for Ian and others, and to learn and grow and reach and believe and dream a big life for my son. The individuals with Disabilities
Education Act, the IDEA is probably the most powerful civil rights law. For the
past 40 years. It has guaranteed all students, all children with disabilities,
a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment and
for almost as many years, it has guaranteed the right to infants, toddlers,
preschoolers, and family members the right to early intervention services.These rights have been in the law from the beginning and are still there today. This law provides the foundation for the
creation of inclusive communities and we’ve been so lucky in our country to
have a law that creates a foundation for inclusive communities that value all
children and ensure the children with disabilities are entitled to the
services that they need. Probably the most important part of the
IDEA or the words that I find most powerful are words in the preamble, that say, where Congress has said, “Disability is a natural part of the
human experience and in no way diminishes the rights of one to fully
participate in their family, school, and community.” Happy Birthday IDEA. (No audio)

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