June 26, 2013
Disability Law Series: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
A Little Background on IDEA:
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is federal statute that authorizes aid for the education of nearly 6.5 million children with disabilities in the United States. IDEA requires public schools to create an individualized education program (IEP) for any child that falls under the realm as disability as defined by IDEA. In order to create an effective IEP, parents, teachers and other school staff must work together to examine the student’s unique needs. The process of creating the IEP involves all of these individuals, along with the student at times, constructing a plan for the student’s educational need.
IDEA was revised in 2004 and changed the focus of special education from providing separate services for students with disabilities to including more students in mainstream classrooms. Schools are required to place students in inclusive classrooms, when appropriate, in order to provide the social and academic benefits of taking part in the general curriculum. This inclusion can aid in a child’s feeling of acceptance and motivation for schoolwork.
Assistive Technology through IDEA:
The federal government recognized the importance of assistive technology for students when it revised the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1997 and again in 2004. IDEA states that school districts must consider assistive technology for any child in special education. That means that for any child receiving special education services, the educational team must ask if there is a device that will “increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities” of that child.
Raising awareness about creating a supportive and inclusive classroom environment is extremely vital. Not only will it improve a child’s performance and attitude toward education, but will keep their peers and teachers informed and open-minded.
What are your thoughts on this act and how it has affected our education system?