A Timeline of Caring

A Timeline of Caring
Barbara Bush: Law, Politics and Govt

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: Two class periods


Barbara and George Bush’s son Neil Bush suffered from dyslexia.  This disability is only one of many addressed by PL 94-142 and other pieces of federal legislation.


The purpose of this lesson is to assist students in developing an understanding of the disabilities addressed by various pieces of federal legislation and how these work within the school setting.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet.  Access to print reference materials.


Divide the class into four groups and assign one of the following pieces or sections of federal legislation to each group.  It is their responsibility to research the law, summarize its key provisions, relate the provisions to the school setting, and create an effective means to share their information with their classmates.  Possible websites for research are listed in Resources section of the lesson. 
   1.    Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 
   2.    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 1990 
   3.    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 1997 
   4.    Americans with Disabilities Act

After each group has presented, have the groups collaborate on the creation of a timeline that traces the development of America’s caring for those with handicapping conditions.

Extending the Lesson:

The teacher may wish to involve the Special Education Resource professional in this lesson to provide assistance and expert help in addressing the provisions of these important pieces of federal legislation.  

Sources & Resources:


Federal Disabilities Legislation

Section 504, Rehabilitation Act

Overview of ADA, IDEA, Section 504

Public Law 94-142

Federal Laws Governing Education for Exceptional Students


This lesson was developed by Bette Brooks, Kent State University.