What’s The Big IDEA?

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

We have LOTS of ideas here at TeachTown – tons of them actually! And, while we’d love to stick around and share them all with you now, that’s not the kind of idea we’re referring to when we say, “Hey! What’s the big IDEA?”

So, what are we talking about? The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, of course!

A Glance at the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is often referred to as IDEA in the education world, grants all eligible children with disabilities in the U.S. a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment (LRE), ensuring that special education and related services are provided.

When we say least restrictive environment, this means that students with disabilities should receive their education right alongside children without disabilities whenever possible.

IDEA, which was first passed back in 1975 as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, has truly transformed the way education looks for students with disabilities. Prior to the passing of this law, students with disabilities were often attending separate schools, or at the very least, separated from general education classrooms.

Today, after several revisions to what is now the present-day Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, students with disabilities are positioned to shine, polish their strengths and build upon skills that will help them thrive and transition into adulthood.

Who is Eligible Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?

Under IDEA Part C, children with disabilities from birth through age two, along with their families, can receive early intervention services. Listed under IDEA Part B, children with disabilities ages 3-21 can receive special education and related services.

To be considered eligible under IDEA, students must be diagnosed with one of the following 13 disabilities:

  • Autism
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Deafness
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Hearing impairment
  • Intellectual disability
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impairment
  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment

If a student’s disability falls into one of the categories mentioned above, that doesn’t automatically cover them under IDEA though.  In addition to having one of the 13 disabilities included in the Act, students must also need special education and related services due to the disability.

For example, if a student is diagnosed with an orthopedic impairment, but the disability does not affect the student’s ability to thrive in a general education classroom, they may not be eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

How Does the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Benefit Students?

Before the law passed in 1975, nearly 1.8 million students with disabilities were absent from public schools. Today, more than 7.5 million children with disabilities are receiving free and appropriate public education, including special education and related services, thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Talk about major strides in education, right?

To add to that, during 2018-2019:

  • Over 64% of students with disabilities were in general education classrooms for at least 80% or more of their school day
  • More than 400,000 infants and toddlers with disabilities, alongside their families, were receiving early intervention services.

At TeachTown, our sole mission is to help advance the academic, behavioral and adaptive functioning of students with moderate to severe disabilities through our expansive offerings of education solutions.

Utilizing evidence-based best practices derived from the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), TeachTown’s solutions make it simple to deliver this proven treatment with existing staff in any school or setting.

If you are an educator, clinician or parent/guardian who is interested in more information, take a peek at TeachTown’s solutions to see which program best suits your needs.

When you’re ready, request a demo to see what all of the hype is about.

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