In 1990, PL 101-476 changed the title of the special education law to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), also known as the "Person First" law. The intent of the law was to recognize children first and the disability second. For example, "learning disabled students" are now referred to as "students with learning disabilities." All phrases putting the term "handicapped" before children were deleted. In addition to a change in the language, PL 101-476: IDEA added two categories of eligibility and mandated transition services. You can find more information about IDEA below.
Addition of two new categories
In addition to the categories of exceptionality recognized in PL 94-142, autism and traumatic brain injury were added. You can find more information concerning these two areas of disability in Resources on Exceptionality.
PL 101-476: IDEA mandated transition services for students with disabilities to begin no later than the student's sixteenth birthday. A transition plan was to be developed for each student in order to help facilitate movement from the public school system to community agencies. You can find more about transition in the transition section of our site.