Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

About the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children. The IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.

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Celebrating the History of the IDEA

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is the legislative foundation for all services that students with disabilities receive in schools today. At the 35th anniversary of its passage, this video takes a look back to what the conditions were like before IDEA, and how its passage has changed the educational landscape for students with disabilities today.

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Comparison of Section 504 & IDEA

This chart outlines Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and its comparison to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

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Early ACCESS Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents Rights for Children Ages Birth - 3

State and federal laws and regulations outline what needs to happen for eligible infants and toddlers with conditions or developmental delays to enhance their growth and development. The following document serves as your procedural safeguards notice and will help you understand the rights available to you and your child through federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 Part C and the Iowa Administrative Rules for Early ACCESS Integrated System of Early Intervention Services.

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Evaluation Process: Part One

Parents who have watched their child struggle in school can become frustrated and confused. There are specific next steps that parents can take to request an evaluation for Special Education when they feel a disability might be the reason for their child's difficulties in school.

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Evaluation Process: Part Two

The Disability Suspected Form process discussed in part one of this series is just the first step in securing a relevant and useful evaluation. There are important steps to take regardless of whether there is agreement that an evaluation is needed.

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Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

All school-age children with disabilities who are eligible for a 504 or an Individualized Education Program (IEP) are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). FAPE requires students with disabilities receive the services they need to benefit from their education.

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Legal Resources in Iowa

ASK Resource Center maintains a list of private attorneys and statewide programs that may be able to assist or represent individuals with disabilities in issues related to disability law and Special Education Mediation, as well as establishing competency, guardianship, and special needs trusts.

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Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents Rights for Children Ages 3-21

The Notice of Procedural Safeguards: Rights of Parents of Students with Disabilities explains the specific rights and responsibilities of the parent in the special education process. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 requires school districts to give parents the Procedural Safeguards only one time a year, except upon initial referral or on request for evaluation, the first occurrence of the filing of a due process hearing complaint, or upon request by a parent. This document is available in six different languages.

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Q&A about IDEA: Parent Participation

How does the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensure that families have meaningful opportunities to participate? That is the focus of this in-depth Q&A -- the solid foundation IDEA provides for parental involvement in the special education process.

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Recursos en español

¡Bienvenido a CPIR! CPIR es la sigla del Centro de Información y Recursos para Padres. Servimos como fuente central de información sobre las discapacidades que pueden tener los infantes, niños pre-escolares, estudiantes, y jóvenes adultos, IDEA (el Acta para la Educación de los Individuos con Discapacidades), la ley nacional de educación especial, ESSA (la lay nacional de educación general, Cada Estudiante Triunfa), por la relación que esta ley tiene con las discapacidades, y los Centros de Capacitación e Información para Padres (Cada estado tiene al menos un centro y ellos típicamente pueden ponerle en contacto con recursos locales y estatales. También ofrecen explicaciones, materiales informativos, y entrenamiento a los padres sobre sus derechos bajo IDEA).

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Six Principles of IDEA

There are six basic principles of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that help to outline the expectations of the law. Here is a brief overview and introductory information for families who are new to the Special Education process.

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U.S. Department of Education IDEA Homepage

The U.S. Department of Education's Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website brings together IDEA information and resources from the Department and our grantees.

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