Individuals With Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA")

History Of The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

The origin of the IDEA began in 1975 when Congress enacted laws that would ensure the educational rights and benefits of all children with disabilities. Since 1975 the laws have been revisited and revised to strengthen the rights of all children to receive a free and appropriate public education. These laws are the structure and the framework within which all special education law attorneys must work to secure the proper educational settings and services for all children with disabilities.

Qualifying For Services Under The IDEA

There are several eligibility categories under which a child can qualify for special education services.

These categories include:

• Autism

• Deaf-Blindness

• Deafness

• Developmental Delay

• Emotional Disturbance

• Hearing Impairment

• Intellectual Disability

• Multiple Disabilities

• Orthopedic Impairment

• Other Health Impairment

• Specific Learning Disability

The manner in which a child can be identified as having a need within one of these categories is either by the parent requesting the child be evaluated for special education services by their school district, or the district identifying the child as exhibiting a suspected disability in accordance with the federal Child Find law.

Evaluation For Services

When a parent requests a child be evaluated by the school district for special education services, the district is obligated, by law, to assess the child. For the assessment to take place the parent(s) must give consent and allow the district to evaluate the child in all areas of suspected disability. If a teacher, or other school personnel, suspect a child has a disability that is making it difficult for them to access their education, the district is required to approach the parents and request their permission to perform the assessments that will help identify the child’s disability.

The Foundation For An IEP

The foundation for an IEP is based upon the findings of the districts assessments. For each area of deficit identified, the child is entitled to an individualized education plan that includes baseline disability information, goals for reducing the identified deficits, services delivered to the child to increase the abilities of the child, and accommodations that allow for the child to interact more successfully in the classroom and with their typical peers.