Suzanne J. Shaw


Initially, the Comment briefly reviews the EAHCA's purpose and its legislative history, and describes the workings of its administrative procedures. The Comment then examines the seminal case interpreting the EAHCA, Board of Education v. Rowley, as it applies to the parents' role in a deaf child's education. This section of the Comment also explores the meaning currently given to "free appropriate education" and "least restrictive environment" (LRE), as well as the natural, and possibly irresolvable, tension between these requirements. Against this background, Section III of this Comment then sets out the Act's unique impact on deaf children. This impact is caused not only by the characteristics of the children themselves, but by factors such as the small population of deaf children and limitations on public resources. In addition, the Comment identifies, at least partially, the potential significance of choices of educational and communication methodology for deaf students and their parents. Finally, Section IV examines how recent federal court decisions, by substantially deferring to school authorities, have effectively disenfranchised deaf children and their parents as both participants and beneficiaries of the EAHCA.