PUBLIC LAW 105-17
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Updated 8/13/99
IDEA is a federal law that guarantees all students
between the ages of 3 through 21 with disabilities the right to a free
appropriate public education designed to meet their individual needs.
It also offers protections for the rights of students with disabilities
and their parents.
Under the provisions of IDEA, children with disabilities
may receive special education services when they meet the eligibility
criteria for one or more of the following disabilities:
- Mental Retardation
- Blindness/Visual Impairment
- Deafness/Hearing Impairment
- Specific Learning Disability
- Serious Emotional Disturbance
- Speech or Language Impairment
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Multiple Disabilities
- Other Health Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
and, because of these disabilities, need special
education and related services.
IDEA guarantees four (4) rights and two (2) protections
for each child and his/her parents. For each student with a disability,
the public education agency must provide:
1. A Free Appropriate Public Education
The education must be provided at no cost to the
student or his/her parents. It must be designed to meet the unique
needs of each individual student.
2. An Education in the Least Restrictive Environment
Students with disabilities are to be educated as
much as possible with students who have no disabilities. This includes
making use of regular school buildings whenever possible, as well as
joint participation in non-academic and extracurricular activities
such as meals, art, music, physical education and recess. The amount
of time a student with a disability spends with students who have no
disabilities is to be determined on an individual basis.
3. Related Services
Related and other supportive services are to be provided
as needed in order to assist a student with a disability to benefit
from special education. These related services include, but are not
- Speech · Audiology
- Psychological Services· Early Identification
- Physical Therapy · Counseling Services
- Occupational Therapy · Medical Services
- Recreation diagnosis or evaluation)
- Parent Training · Parent Counseling
- Transportation · Therapeutic Recreation
- Social Work Services · Rehabilitation
4. Fair Assessment
Each student with a disability must receive a complete,
nondiscriminatory educational evaluation prior to receiving special
education services, and at least every three years thereafter.
IDEA also provides two protections:
1. An Individualized Education Program (IEP)
An IEP must be developed jointly by the school and
the student's parents. It must be designed to meet each student's unique
needs and must be in effect before special education services are provided
to the student. The IEP must be reviewed at least once a year.
2. Due Process Procedures
Parents must give their consent during the entire
educational process. If a parent does not consent to special education
services for his/her child, the student cannot be denied regular education
services. Parents and schools have the right to request a due process
hearing if they cannot agree or if their rights or the student's rights
have been denied.
Each state must develop an annual plan that describes
how the state and the school districts within that state will comply
with the requirements of IDEA.