IDEA Basics: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

[MUSIC PLAYING] Perhaps you’ve heard the term
“IDEA,” or the I-D-E-A, which stands for The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. And it’s the cornerstone of
all special education. Jen, can you tell us
more about it? Sure I can. So the IDEA was originally
enacted in 1975. And at that time, it was called
the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. And it has been reauthorized
over the years by Congress and eventually the name
was changed. And now we call it IDEA, The
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. IDEA is the federal special
education law. It is the federal law that
requires each state that opts into the program, which all
states do in order to receive the funding, that they are
required to comply with but the procedural requirements of
the federal special education law, as well as the substantive
requirements of the special education law. So it’s the governing statute. And so all parents who either
suspect their child to have a disability or who know that
their child has a disability who are school-aged, and by that
I mean even very young children if you already know,
because the IDEA does cover early intervention services,
you should be very familiar with the IDEA. Because that’s where all of
your rights are located is right in that statute. And as much as I wouldn’t expect
parents to be a special education advocate or a special
education attorney, I think there are basic things
that all parents who had a child with a disability who
has an individualized education plan or suspect that
their child has a disability– really should know the basic
tenets of the IDEA. Yeah. And what’s important for parents
to understand is just because your child has a
diagnosed disability does not necessarily mean that
you’re eligible for services under the IDEA. And there are other federal
statutes that are involved with the disability-related
educational issues, such as Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act, which is mainly an accommodations act. It’s not a services act. We can talk about that
at a different time. But the IDEA basically says
that if the child is found eligible– and there are a whole
lot of procedures they go into place of finding
a child eligible– if the child is found eligible
for special education and related services, then they’re
entitled to what you referred to earlier, an Individualized
Education Program. And that has all sorts of
requirements as well. So just having a disability
doesn’t automatically entitle a child to services
under the IDEA. But if your child has a
diagnosed disability, then it’s time to trigger that
process if it is impacting the child’s education. Something parents should keep
in mind though is that the IDEA is the federal law. There are also state laws that
govern special education, and in some circumstances, provide
even more protection to children with disabilities and
more rights under the special education laws of the
individual states. So the federal law is
like the floor. But by our system of government,
your state could have a higher ceiling. And so you should check out
your state laws as well. So the bottom line is, Jen, that
the IDEA is the law that is there to protect parents. Yeah. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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