Special Ed Reform after IDEA

Offering the resources you need

One of our goals in launching a blog is to bring you up-to-date news, advocacy efforts, and research developments that impact the special education community. This space is all about offering the resources you need, so please let us know if there’s a specific topic you think we should cover!


PBS Newshour recently produced a noteworthy story about an ongoing chapter in the movement for disability rights: ensuring that schools enact the reforms required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1975. As you’ll see in the video below, transforming the law into a day-to-day reality has required hard work and perseverance over multiple decades. But thanks to students like Chanda Smith, and their families and advocates, schools all over the country now offer a dramatically improved level of services to students with disabilities.

Autumn Garza, our Director of Account Management & Training, has been working with the Los Angeles Unified School District for quite a while, and she brings us this reflection:

LAUSD has made significant changes for their students in special education classrooms over my nine years with Attainment Company. In one of my recent visits to the Los Angeles area, I met with Geri Fuchigami, Coordinator of Behavior, Transition, and LRE (Least Restrictive Environment), and Ryan Morse, Alternate Curriculum Specialist, and they reaffirmed their commitment to re-integrating students from the special education centers into the general education schools.  

“To support this process, they incorporated many new curricular resources (including Attainment’s) into the classroom to foster skills that would ultimately help students succeed not only at school, but at home, work, in the community, and in life! This was most evident when Attainment’s GoTalk NOW App was featured in the video as a communication tool to assist choice-making and general conversation for students who are nonverbal. I couldn’t help but feel pride in seeing one of our products being used by the LAUSD students as part of this transition process. 

“LAUSD has made large advances for its special education students and I can’t wait to see what they do next!! I hope Attainment can be an integral part of it!” 

Schools have come such a long way, but there is still work to be done. For one thing, the postscript to the video highlights the fact that 49 states are experiencing a special education teacher shortage. As always, we are impressed and humbled by the dedication of the teachers that have made this work their life’s mission.

What effects do you personally feel from the IDEA in your classroom or school? Do you notice any areas where the law could benefit from an update? What do you think needs to happen in order to address the teacher shortage in special ed. programs across the country?

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