What is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) was originally enacted in 1975. It primarily imposes certain legal obligations upon public schools regarding the provision of education for students with disabilities. IDEA requires that “all children with disabilities have available a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.”

In other words, public school districts are essentially required to provide free services to all children with disabilities in order to facilitate an appropriate education that meets their needs.

What Qualifies as “Free Appropriate Public Education”? 

To break it down further, the term “free appropriate public education” typically means special education and related services that:

A). Have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;

B). Meets the standards of the state educational agency;

C). Include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the state involved; and

D). Are provided in conformity with the individualized education program.

The individualized education program, otherwise known as “IEP,” is a written plan detailing a child’s specifically-tailored special education program as required by IDEA. IDEA provides a vehicle in which parents disagreeing with their child’s IEP can ask for due process hearings to address their concerns. Representation by an experienced education law attorney is vital to ensuring that a school meets its IDEA obligations and properly facilitates a child’s success.

If you have questions about special education law, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced education attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com.