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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) | Print PDF
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) authorizes Federal funding to states in order to ensure that children with one or more specified disabilities receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The law was established in 1975 by Public Law 94-142 and was formerly called the Education of the Handicapped Act. Most recently the law was reauthorized in 2004. Part B of the law serves children with disabilities 3 to 21 years of age. Additionally, through Oklahoma’s SoonerStart, IDEA provides early intervention services under Part C of the law for children 0-3 years of age. Below are frequently asked questions concerning IDEA; the answers are excerpts from Public Law 105-17:
Special education indicates a specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including:
The term, child with a disability, means a child with mental retardation, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments or specific learning disabilities. Children aged 3 through 9 with a disability may be described as developmentally delayed.
The Local Educational Agency (LEA) (the local school district) shall conduct a full individual initial evaluation to determine whether a child has a disability and to determine the educational needs of such a child. Determination of eligibility shall be made by a team of qualified professionals and the parent of the child. A copy of the evaluation report and the documentation of determination of eligibility will be given to the parent.
The evaluation determines eligibility for special education and related services and informs decisions about what an appropriate education would be for that child. Evaluation activities should include gathering information related to enabling the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum or, for preschool children to participate in appropriate activities. The LEA shall use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional and developmental information, including that provided by the parent.
Related services refers to transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech-language pathology and audiology services; psychological services; physical and occupational therapy; recreation, including therapeutic recreation; social work services; counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling; orientation and mobility services; and medical services, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children.
The IEP is a written document that is developed, reviewed, and revised to include:
The IEP Team is a group of individuals composed of:
In developing each child’s IEP, the IEP Team shall consider the strengths of the child and the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child. Results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the child should also be considered in the development process. The IEP Team shall also consider the following special factors:
The LEA will ensure that the IEP Team:
The first procedure that is required by the law is an opportunity for the parents of a child with a disability to examine all records relating to such child and to participate in meetings with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child, and the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to such child, and to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child. Beyond this requirement, IDEA has many ways in which parents may file a complaint with the LEA. (See Special Education Program, Page 61)
The LEA must provide assistive technology devices and services, due to the inclusion of the word “acquisition” within the definition of assistive technology services in the law. For more information on the school’s responsibility of providing assistive technology. (See Special Education Program, Page 61)
FOR IDEA TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
Oklahoma State Department of Education
2500 N Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-3351 (TTY)
Special Education Resolution Center
Jo Anne Pool-Blades, Program Manager
9726 E 42nd, Ste 203
Tulsa, OK 74105
Oklahoma Parents Center, Inc.
Sharon House, Executive Director
223 N Broadway
P. O. Box 512
Holdenville, OK 74848
FAX: (405) 379-2106