- About ADHD & ADD
- Diagnosis & Treatment
- Dealing with Systems
- Educational Issues
- Living with ADHD: A Lifespan Disorder
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law enacted in 1990 and reauthorized in 1997 and 2004. It is designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities by ensuring that everyone receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE), regardless of ability. Furthermore, IDEA strives not only to grant equal access to students with disabilities, but also to provide additional special education services and procedural safeguards.
Special education services are individualized to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities and are provided in the least restrictive environment. Special education may include individual or small group instruction, curriculum or teaching modifications, assistive technology, transition services and other specialized services such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. These services are provided in accordance with an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is specifically tailored to the unique needs of each student.
IDEA also grants increased parental participation and protection for students.
Children between the ages of 3 and 21, who meet the eligibility criteria in one of thirteen qualifying disabilities and who require special education services because of the disability can qualify for services under IDEA. The categories of disabilities are; autism, deaf/blind, deafness, hearing impaired, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, serious emotional disturbance, specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment including blindness, and other health impairment. To be eligible, a student must have a disability that adversely affects her or his educational performance and must need special education in order to receive an appropriate education.
How can IDEA help my child?
Children who qualify under IDEA are provided with services and accommodations individualized to their needs. At its most basic IDEA entitles a child suspected of having a disability to a comprehensive evaluation by a multi-disciplinary team provided at no cost to parents. If the child is determined to need special education and related services an Individual Education Program (IEP) will be implemented based on the specific needs of the child as decided by the team, including parents.
Once covered under an IEP, students with disabilities are re-evaluated at least every three years and their IEP is reviewed whenever a change in placement occurs, which is often annually as transferring from grade to grade is considered a change in placement.
Additionally, students covered under IDEA are granted other protections and safeguards. Suspension for 10 cumulative days within the school year may result in a Manifestation Determination to decide if a link exists between the child's behavior and her or his disability. If a child covered under IDEA is suspended or expelled, she or he is still entitled to special education services. In the event that parents disagree with the school's decision and request an impartial due process hearing, the "stay-put" provision will be enacted ensuring that the child remains in her or his current educational placement until administrative proceedings conclude. Exceptions include when the child brings a weapon or drugs to school or is determined to be a danger to her or himself or others.
What are my responsibilities as a parent?
As a parent you are in the best position to advocate for your child, and in order to do that you must be aware of what you can do to ensure that your child receives the services and accommodations she or he needs.
Print Page · Email Page · About Us · Contact Us