The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a United States law that was created to support the learning needs of eligible children with disabilities. This law guarantees that disabled children are provided a free appropriate public education. Before IDEA was passed, most children with disabilities were placed in restrictive state institutions that accommodated persons with mental illness or retardation. These disabled children were denied access to an education that they would have otherwise received had they been healthy.
Schools that offered education services for disabled children lacked the resources to effectively educate special needs students. In many ...view middle of the document...
For IDEA to effectively pursue these four objectives, legislators incorporated six major components and guarantees that have made a permanent and lasting impact on the education process in the United States. The following section briefly summarizes each of the six major components.
Free Appropriate Public Education or FAPE means that all children regardless of their disability or severity level must be given a free and appropriate public education. This directive includes related services appropriate to the child’s disability, e.g. occupational therapy.
Least Restrictive Environment or LRE assures that all disabled children (to whatever extent necessary) are to be included whenever possible with non-disabled students. Placements must be tailored to the special needs of the student.
Individual Education Plan or IEP is a document that outlines an education plan for each disabled student. The documentation found in an IEP is specifically tailored to address a student’s specific disabilities. Educators work closely with parents to develop educational objectives that are customized to an individual child’s disabilities. IDEA requires the IEP to address (1) the present of level of a child’s academic performance, (2) annual goals with specific instructional objectives, (3) the educational services that will be provided, (4) the extent to which the student can take part in general education programs, (5) strategies on starting services and how long these services will be provided, (6) and an annual assessment process that specifies objective criteria which is used to check if instructional objectives are being reached. (Gargiulo, 2009, p. 49)
Procedural Due Process or PDP provides parents and children with protective measures relevant to their child’s education. For instance, parents have the right to: privacy of all records, review of all records to obtain an independent assessment of their child’s needs, written notice (in the parent’s mother tongue) of recommended revisions to their child’s academic level and placement, legal representation by a lawyer and an unbiased hearing in case parents do not agree with the educational strategies being considered for their child.
Nondiscriminatory Assessment is the process where a non-biased evaluation of a disabled child is conducted by a multi-disciplinary team. A multidisciplinary team is a group of professionals with expertise in all areas relevant to the presumed disability. IDEA requires that multiple assessments be given by the trained multidisciplinary team before placement occurs. Placement means assigning a student to a suitable place in a specific class at school. Placement based solely on a single evaluation is not permitted.
Parental participation requires that parents fully participate in all decision-making processes in respect to their child’s education.
Since its passage in 1975, IDEA has been reauthorized and modified several times. This section...