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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

What_is_it? Card IconWhat is it?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a four part (A-D) piece of American legislation that ensures students with a disability are provided with Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that is tailored to their individual needs. IDEA was previously known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) from 1975 to 1990. In 1990, the United States Congress reauthorized EHA and changed the title to IDEA (Public Law No. 94-142). Overall, the goal of IDEA is to provide children with disabilities the same opportunity for education as those students who do not have a disability.

In practice, IDEA is composed of six main elements that illuminate its main points.

These six elements are:
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP),
  • Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE),
  • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE),
  • Appropriate Evaluation,
  • Parent and Teacher Participation, and
  • Procedural Safeguards.
To go along with those six main elements there are also a few other important components that tie into IDEA:
  • Confidentiality of Information,
  • Transition Services, and
  • Discipline.
Throughout the years of IDEA being reauthorized these components have become key concepts when learning about IDEA.