Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

What is the IDEA?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is viewed as a "Bill of Rights" for children with exceptionalities and their families. It is the culmination of many years of dedicated effort by both parents and professionals. Like many other special educators, we consider this law to be one of the most important, if not the most important, pieces of legislation ever enacted on behalf of children with special needs.

Who is covered under the IDEA?


There are 14 Mandates under the IDEA, and they are...

  1. FAPE

  2. Categories of Disabilities

  3. Special Education

  4. Related Services

  5. Child Identification/ Child Find

  6. Full Education Opportunities Goal

  7. Physical Education

  8. Priorities

  9. IEP

  10. Due Process

  11. Protection in Evaluation Procedures

  12. LRE

  13. Confidentiality of Information

  14. Transition

1997 Amendments

Signed by President Clinton that focused on improving the education of children with disabilities by:

  • Identifying children with special needs before they enter school and providing services to help them,
  • Developing individualized education programs (IEPs) that focus on improving educational results through the general curriculum,
  • Educating children with disabilities with their nondisabled peers,
  • Setting higher expectations for students who are disabled and ensuring schools are held accountable,
  • Strengthening the role of parents and fostering partnerships between parents and schools,
  • Reducing unnecessary paperwork and other burdens.

2004 Amendments

Signed by President George W. Bush

  • Improving educational results for children with disabilities

  • Aligns IDEA with NCLB

  • Reduces paperwork

  • Improved early intervention strategies

  • Correct over identification

  • Reduce litigation

  • Ensure school safety

  • Implement complete funding of IDEA

2008 Amendments

  • Parental revocation of consent for continued special education and related services

  • Positive efforts to employ and advance qualified individuals with disabilities

  • Non-attorney representation in due process hearings

  • State monitoring and enforcement

  • State use of targets and reporting

  • Public attention

  • Subgrants to LEAs, base pay adjustments, and relocation of LEA funds

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