• Christina Delgado, M.Ed.

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


What you will learn today:

  • To provide children with special needs the same opportunities in education as students who do not have a disability.

  • Define and understand the ins and outs of IDEA, along with its requirements.

  • Gaining a better understanding of educational laws, parents' rights, and students' rights.

What Does IDEA Stand for?:

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


Who IDEA Covers:


Students with the following 13 categories fall under IDEA:

  • Autism

  • Deaf-blindness

  • Deafness

  • Emotional disturbance

  • Hearing impaired

  • Intellectual disability

  • Multiple disabilities

  • Orthopedic impairment

  • Other Heal Impairments

  • Specific Learning Disability

  • Speech or Language Impairment

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Visual Impairment

Other special needs students are not covered under IDEA but may receive coverage under Section 504.

  • Example: Students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)


What is IDEA?:


Approves and reinforces all aspects of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which includes the following:


  • Free and appropriate public education (FAPE)

  • The least restrictive environment (LRE)

  • Approved and appropriate accommodations and modifications during assessments

  • Individualized education plan (IEP).

  • Parents have the right to view their child’s educational records.

  • Parents must be informed before any changes are made in the student’s educational placement, classes, or programs. Parents may counter their child’s records and any changes placement.


IDEA Includes These 6 Major Principles:


1. Zero reject – Schools must educate all children with disabilities

2. Nondiscriminatory Identification and Evaluation – Schools must use nonbiased, multi-factored methods of evaluation

3. Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) – An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) must be developed for each child

4. Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) – Must be educated with children without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate

5. Due Process Safeguards – Parents’ and children’s rights are protected

6. Shared Decision Making – Schools must collaborate with parents


Free and appropriate public education (FAPE):

  • States that all students are legally entitled to a free and appropriate public education. What is an appropriate education will vary depending on the child's needs, strengths, and weaknesses.

The least restrictive environment (LRE):

  • State that all students are legally entitled to a learning environment that is least restrictive to the child’s specific needs.

  • Example of a Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): If a child has a disability, but is academically capable to learning in a general education classroom, then the child will be place in a general education setting regardless of his/her disability.

  • Approved and appropriate accommodations and modifications during assessments.

  • Accommodations: can help students learn the same material as their classmates while holding the same expectations.

  • Students who are vastly behind their peers academically, may need changes to the curriculum.

Approved and appropriate accommodations and modifications during assessments.


  • Accommodations: Are meant to help students learn the same material as their classmates while holding the same expectations.

  • Students who are vastly behind their peers academically, may need changes to the curriculum.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP):

  • A legal document that is customized to a specific student’s needs by a team of individuals who know the child best in an academic capacity. An IEP is detail oriented, specific, and describes measurable goals for the student.

  • Members at an IEP meeting: Parent(s), one general education teacher, one special education teacher, school district representative, school psychologist/ specialist, child (once 16 or older)

  • During the meeting, IEP members will discuss the student, his/her strengths, weakness, needs, potential accommodations and/ or modifications, potential change to thestudentsclassroom setting, identification of disability, goals, strategies to assist the student/ family, and more.

More About Individualized Education Plan (IEP):

  • IDEA allows for 15% of special education funds to go to general education, in efforts to assist special needs children who have not been identified yet.

  • IEP long term goals are permitted and encouraged.

  • Transition plans must be thought out and expressed with the end goal in place.

  • Each school must identify a parent replacement for disabled students who are homeless or the responsibility of the court of law.

  • IDEA has specific disciplinary standards and regulations for ESE students.


Examples of Accommodations and Modifications:


Example of an accommodations:

  • Listening to an audio recording of a text

  • Enlarged print text

  • Offering Peer or scribe note taking


Examples of modification:

  • When students are assigned to present a project in front of the class, allow the student to write a report instead of giving a speech, which displays the same level and quality of content knowledge.

  • If a student has vision problems, the teacher can assign a certain seat in the classroom due to visual or auditory delays.


History of IDEA: 1990


According to researchers Ysseldyke & Algozzine (2006), the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 approves and reinforces all aspects of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. IDEA expands the disability categories by adding autism and traumatic brain injury. Also, IDEA provides the legally referred to definition of transition services while making assistive technology more accessible.

History of IDEA: 1997


According to researchers Ysseldyke & Algozzine (2006), in 1997, amendments were made to the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. This amendment provides greater detail about who needs to be present during IEP meetings and different paperwork and procedures which are required for IEP documentation. Also, IDEA’s disciplinary standards and regulations were updated. Lastly, states are responsibly for tracking and documenting the performance, growth, and evolution of each special needs student.

History of IDEA: 2004

According to researchers Ysseldyke & Algozzine (2006), it is legally required that students with disabilities be taught by teachers who are highly qualified, have obtained a state teaching license, and certified in special education as well as core subjects. The improvement act of IDEA allows for 15% of special education funds to go to general education, in efforts to assist special needs children who have not been identified yet. Also, new methods are used to recognize and classify special needs students. Another improvement is that now discrepancy rates are not required when recognizing and classifying special needs students. In addition, IEP short term goals are no longer required, however long term IEP’s are permitted. Transition plans must be thought out and expressed with the end goal in place. Lastly, each school must identify a parent replacement for disabled students who are homeless or the responsibility of the court of law.


In addition to the 2004 history of IDEA:


  • IEP short term goals are no longer required, however long term IEP’s are permitted.

  • Transition plans must be thought out and expressed with the end goal in place.

  • Each school must identify a parent replacement for disabled students who are homeless or the responsibility of the court of law.

More About IDEA:

  • IDEA states who needs to be present during IEP meetings.

  • Parent(s), one general education teacher, one special education teacher, school district representative, school psychologist/ specialist, child (once 16 or older)

  • IDEA mandates different paperwork and procedures, required to complete IEP documentation.

  • The state is responsibly for tracking and documenting the performance, growth, and evolution of each special needsstudent.

  • Exceptional student education (ESE) must be taught by highly qualified teachers who have obtained a state teaching license and who are certified in special education.

  • IDEA allows for 15% of special education funds to go to general education, in efforts to assist special needs children who have not been identified yet.

  • IEP long term goals are permitted and encouraged.

  • Transition plans must be thought out and expressed with the end goal in place.

  • Each school must identify a parent replacement for disabled students who are homeless or the responsibility of the court of law.

  • IDEA has specific disciplinary standards and regulations for ESE students.

IDEA Disciplinary Standards and Regulations for ESE Students:


  • ESE students may be suspended/ expelled when violating the schools Code of Conduct.

  • However, IDEA does have certain regulations and standards pertaining to the ESE population.

  • Before suspending or expelling a special needs student, the school must consider the students disability and how that could have affected their actions.

  • IDEA’s disciplinary regulations and standards differ depending on:

  • The duration and form of disciplinary action the school suggests the student receive.

  • The nature of the conduct that resulted in the disciplinary action.

  • Whether the undesired behavior is found to be affiliated or a result of the student’s disability.


Understanding IDEA in 5-Minutes:




You are NOT alone!


Although the world of special education can be confusing, frustrating, and exhausting, know that you are not alone. School staff will provide guidance, assistance, and plenty of information. Please reach out to any of your child’s teacher’s, administration, or the school guidance counselor for to schedule a meeting or for additional information.


References:


  • American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th edition. American Psychiatric Publishing: Washington, D.C.

  • Florida Department of Education: Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, (2011). http://www.fldoe.org/ese/pub-home.asp

  • Oliver, A., Prosser, E., & Chittenden, L. (2016). Considering FERPA requirements for library patron databases within a consortial environment. Journal of Access Services, 13(1), 35-41. 

  • Schrameyer, A. R., Graves, T. M., Hua, D. M., & Brandt, N. C. (2016). Online student collaboration and FERPA considerations. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 60(6), 540-548. 

  • U.S. Department of Education. (2015, June 26). Family Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

  • Walker, B. L. T. (2014). Sixty years after "brown v. board of education": Legal and policy fictions in school desegregation, the individuals with disabilities education act, and no child left behind. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, 14(2), 41-51.

  • Ysseldyke, J. & Algozzine, B. (2006). The legal foundations of special education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

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