What is IDEA?
IDEA or the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” is a law in the US that regulates how public offices and agencies are supposed to provide for the special needs of students with disabilities. Under this federal law, those with disabilities are guaranteed with special rights and privileges in terms of proper and special form of education, early intervention, and other services that they may need. Students and children from birth up to the legal age of 18 or 21 and with a specific disability are protected and covered under this act.
Under IDEA, schools across the US are directed to check if any of their students have learning disabilities so they could be given special attention and so that their special needs will be addressed. Aside from diagnosis of those with disabilities, schools are also required to provide evaluation services for students to determine if any of them need specialized services. The IED or Individual Education Program is one part of IDEA and this provides a guide to individual students with learning disabilities. Under this sub-program an educational map is set for each student including the goals for improvement to address a specific need. It also involves instructions that are specifically designed and tailored to each individual’s learning needs. With these services, the IDEA also requires that students under the IED will be re-assessed every three years to make the necessary adjustments on the educational program and services.
An early intervention program is also part of IDEA and this involves services for children up to three years of age. At this early level, children are given assistance in terms of physical therapy, oral or speech therapy, and even occupational therapy. These services are offered early on in hoping that it will delay the progression of a particular disability or help the children gain skills early to meet up with development standards. By the time the child reaches the age of 3, he/she will then be evaluated if specialized services are necessary for his/her pre-school years.