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Special Education Day

The role of the school nurse has expanded well beyond skinned knees and stomach aches, especially with the more recent impact of COVID regulations. As we commemorate Special Education Day, we would like to recognize the role school nurses take on as part of the multidisciplinary team that works with the over 7 million children in the U.S. who receive special education services.

Special Education Day commemorates the signing of the nation’s first special education law: the All Handicapped Children Act.

  • Signed by President Gerald Ford on December 2, 1975.
  • Ensured all eligible children with disabilities could receive public education, special education and related services.
  • Reauthorized in 2004 as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEIA) with the addition of provisions to identify and evaluate students who may need special education services, the components for Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and procedural safeguards.


School nurses are an essential member of multidisciplinary teams identifying, evaluating, and monitoring students who may benefit from special education services. According to the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), in collaboration with students, parents, teachers, school staff, and outside healthcare providers, school nurses may be involved with:

  • conducting comprehensive health evaluations.
  • identifying and recommending health accommodations.
  • assisting with the identification and removal of health-related barriers to learning.
  • outlining plans of care.
  • providing nursing services.
  • training teachers and staff to manage student health needs.
  • evaluating the effectiveness of health services.
  • attending IEP and 504 plan meetings.


As school healthcare experts, school nurses have unique perspectives and insights essential to teams working together to help students with special needs achieve success.

On the day we commemorate the signing of the first law for special education services, we honor the role our busy school nurses take on as part of these teams. Thank you for your part in helping ensure that children with special needs receive the best education possible.

More resources:

  • Return To School Roadmap. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services created this resource in response to the impact of COVID regulations on students with IEPs and 504 plans. The roadmap addresses the development and implementation of IEPs in the least restrictive environment under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and supports the full implementation of IDEA requirements.
  • NASN Special Needs School Nurses Group. This special interest group provides a vehicle for communication, support, education, networking, and research for school nurses with an interest in the healthcare needs of children with special needs.
  • NASN Position Statement. This statement defines the role of the school nurse on IDEIA and Section 504 teams.


Shop MacGill’s education resources and special needs products.

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