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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law in the United States that governs how states and public agencies provide special education services to children with learning disabilities.

IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Act

It addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities from the time they are born to the age of 21 and includes 13 specified disabilities.

According to the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), Congress placed certain protections in place for children with special needs.

IDEA ensures that disabled children have access to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment.

While the full text of information about the regulations and requirements of IDEA can be found on the IDEA website (http://idea.ed.gov) much of it can be difficult to understand and confusing for parents.

In more basic language IDEA requires that the IEP must include the following:

- The child’s present levels of academic performance as well as functional performance

Measurable Academic Goals and Measurable Functional Goals for the school year

- How the child’s progress will be measured

- How the child’s progress will be reported to the parents

- Special education and related services that will be provided for the child

- Supplementary aids that will be provided for the child

- Schedule of services to be provided (when they begin, how many days per week, how many minutes or hours per week, and where the services will be offered)

Accommodations to the curriculum or support services the child will be allowed

Modifications to the curriculum or support services the child will be allowed

- Least Restrictive Environment information – how much time will the child spend in the regular classroom and how much time will be spent outside the class in a special education setting

- Explanation of if and when the child should participate in the IEP. Historically this has been at age 14 although the IEP Team should determine the best time and age

- A statement of post-secondary goals and a plan for providing the student’s needs for a successful transition is required at age 16

- The IEP should also include any other necessary information related to health and behavior




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