The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a special law that was introduced to ensure that individuals with disabilities get access to quality education and services (Gothberg, Peterson, Peak, & Sedaghat, 2015). IDEA provides guidelines on how states and other public organizations provide special education; organize early intervention and other services to millions of eligible youth, children, toddlers and infant all over the country. IDEA plays a significant role in making it relatively easy for individuals with disabilities and their families to access quality education that caters to their specific needs.
IDEA requires all public schools to accommodate the special needs of students with disabilities as part of the initiative to create a favorable learning environment. A long time ago, students with disabilities were forced to look for special schools, and those who could not afford would struggle in public schools with some quitting in the end. IDEA was introduced to force all public schools to cater for the special needs of students with disabilities, which gives them a fair chance to get quality education. The guidelines are very specific to guarantee free appropriate public education (FAPE) for individuals with disabilities in a conducive environment (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2017). The rights of every student are protected in all the 50 states of the United States of America.
According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, over 6 million school-age children in the United States had benefited from special education services because of IDEA. Over forty percent of the children who benefited had special learning disabilities. The availability of a conducive learning environment for these children is the most significant role of IDEA. The law details the process that must be followed by the school if a student is suspected to have a special learning disability (Conroy, Yell, Katsiyannis, & Collins, 2010). The process is meant to involve the parents and ensure that the student is encouraged to keep learning.
IDEA recommends the creation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a student that has been diagnosed with learning disabilities. IDEA ensures that students with disabilities are prepared for postsecondary education and independent living through employment. Therefore, the law provides specific guidelines that must be followed by all educational stakeholders to ensure that students with disabilities receive quality education. In other words, IDEA levels the playing field for disabled individuals by catering for the special issues that must be handled to create a conducive learning environment. The fact that there is a law that details what needs to be done means parents and guardians can seek legal help if a school does not create a conducive environment for students with disabilities.
In conclusion, IDEA exists to create a safe space for individuals with disabilities by requiring public schools to cater for their special needs (Gothberg, Peterson, Peak, & Sedaghat, 2015). It advocates the involvement of parents to ensure that they understand the best way to deal with students suffering from learning disabilities. The result is a very safe environment that encourages individuals with disabilities to hope and dream for a better life after accessing quality education from primary to post-secondary level.
- Conroy, T., Yell, M. L., Katsiyannis, A., & Collins, T. S. (2010). The U.S. Supreme Court and Parental Rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Focus on Exceptional Children, 43(2), 1-16.
- Gothberg, J. E., Peterson, L. Y., Peak, M., & Sedaghat, J. M. (2015). Successful Transition of Students With Disabilities to 21st-Century College and Careers. Teaching Exceptional Children, 47(6), 344-351.
- National Center for Learning Disabilities. (2017). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).