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A closer look at IDEA

Families who have children with disabilities might have high anxiety regarding their child's education. They might naturally worry about their child's experience in school. But they might also worry about whether their child's education will meet their child's specific needs or not. 

Several laws aim to protect a child's rights to education. One of those laws that specifically protects children with disabilities is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

What is IDEA?

IDEA was a monumental step forward in protecting the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. The law originally passed in 1975 under a different name. However, it continues to have a significant impact on families today.

This law has several primary goals, including:

  • Ensuring individuals with disabilities obtain a free and appropriate public education
  • Offering early intervention education services for children ages 2 and up
  • Improving the standards and education services for individuals with disabilities

As a result of IDEA, public schools across the country offer special education services and individualized education programs (IEPs) to help children succeed academically.

IDEA covers thirteen conditions

Families might be concerned when they hear that IDEA only covers thirteen conditions. However, those thirteen conditions cover a wide array of disabilities, including:

  • Learning disabilities, such as dyslexia
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Visual or hearing impairments
  • Physical or orthopedic impairments

The law might say it only covers thirteen conditions, but it also uses inclusive language to ensure broad coverage. So, IDEA provides special education for most individuals with disabilities. However, that does not mean that families will not face some challenges.

If families are denied coverage or education services that their child needs, an experienced attorney can help protect their civil rights.

Every parent worries about their child's future. If parents learn about the laws that protect their child, they can help safeguard their child's rights and advocate for their success.

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