"Several laws ensure an inclusive education for students with physical disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education ImprovementAct (IDEA) was introduced in 1975 and passed in 1990. It was reauthorized in 1997 and 2004 and includes provisions for children with orthopedic impairments as defined above. Students with orthopedic impairments also may be eligible for accommodations for general classroom inclusion under Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, passed in 1973. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was passed in 1990, includes provisions concerning discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requirements that school facilities are accessible to all." -http://www.education.com/reference/article/orthopedic-impairments/#B
Before the year 1975, school districts had the power to send and keep their students home. Many parents were told that their child would not benefit from schooling and, therefore, should stay at home. The children included in this category were often students with physical disabilities. In 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHC), also known as PL 94-142, was passed, offering free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students, or guaranteeing each child the right to an education at no cost. Under the EHC, school districts were required to develop a zero-reject policy in which they were no longer permitted, by federal government, to turn away any student for any reason involving any disability. Also included in the EHC was a continuum of services for handicapped students, enabling parents and students to choose from a variety of schooling options to find the option that best suits the needs of the students. Thusly, the individualized education plan (IEP) was created, which required school officials, teachers and parents to collaborate on an education plan for students with disabilities.
In 1999, 4 year old Garret F. was paralyzed from the neck down as a result of injuries sustained in a tragic accident. Luckily, his cognitive abilities were not affected. However, Garret needed expensive and constant assistance during school for the up-keep of his ventilation. After financing this for 5 years, his mother finally decided to ask the school system to provide this assistance under the IDEA clause that states that students with disabilities should be provided with related services in addition to their FAPE. In Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F., the courts ruled that Garret was entitled to these free related services while still recognizing the financial burden this may place on the school system. In their ruling, the court referenced Board of Education v. Rowley (1982) when the courts said that under the IDEA, "Congress intended 'to open the door of public education' to all qualified children and 'require[d] participating States to educate handicapped children with non-handicapped children whenever possible". While cases like these are still being filed and fought today, Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F. made huge strides for the community of orthopedically impaired students by requiring school districts to host necessary accommodations for all students.
One of the most important accomplishments in the fight for fair education for students with disabilities is the name in which people attribute to the students. No longer is it acceptable to call students with disabilities "disabled students". These students are no longer defined by their disabilities but are simply recognized in conjunction with them when needed. The change of this term is still being implemented nation wide; however, more and more educators are now perking up their ears to ensure that these students are correctly addressed.