Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) *

IDEA is extremely influent piece of U.S. Federal Legislation. IDEA has Part B for children birth to three and Part H for children three to 21. IDEA provides:

  1. Small amount of money from the federal government to the school district to provide special education and related services.
  2. Guarantees the rights of due process to children with disabilities and their families.
  3. "Provides a free, appropriate public education (FAPE), including special education and related services, to all eligible children with disabilities regardless of the nature and severity of the disability. Children with disabilities are defined as those having a disability that adversely affects educational performance and who otherwise meet the existing definitions for one of the 13 disability categories (autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, hearing impairment, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, serious emotional disturbance, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment)."
  4. IDEA mandates Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the delivery of services. The written document regarding special services for the child. Details are provided under IEP in this website.
  5. Special education is defined as "specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability." The federal statutes do not specify what the minimal instruction is, just that some type of instruction should be given. Therefore, it is the states that decide what type of services will be provided.
  6. IDEA mandates least restrictive environment. "Education in the least restrictive environment requires that children with disabilities be educated in the regular classroom with nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate and may include the use of supplemental aids and services to achieve this goal."
  7. IDEA mandates transition. Details provided under Transition in this web page.
  8. Assistive Technology Services. "Assistive technology devices and services are available to a child with a disability if required as part of the child’s special education program, as a related service to assist a child to benefit from their special education program, or as supplementary aids and services in the regular classroom."

*Laws that Shape Therapy Services in Educational Environments by Mary Jane K. Rapport. Occupational and Physical Therapy in Educational Environments edited by Irene R. McEwen. The Haworth Press, Inc. Binghamton, New York. 1995. ISBN 1-56024-777-0