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Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

With bipartisan support, the 105th U.S. Congress and President Clinton signed into law on June 4, 1997,
P.L. 105-76, the latest amendments to the IDEA. This reauthorized federal legislation is an education, early intervention, and civil rights law with the goal of ensuring an opportunity for all children and youth to learn and develop regardless of disability, from birth through age twenty-one.

The law, which provides various types of financial assistance, consists of four parts:

  • Part A, "General Provisions," describes general purposes, provisions, and definitions.
  • Part B, "Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities," describes federal assistance to states and local schools in implementing the law's provisions—notably the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for children ages three through twenty-one years old.
  • Part C, "Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities," describes federal support to states and communities to implement the provisions—focusing on family centered collaborative services—for children from birth to three years old.
  • Part D, "National Activities to Improve Education of Children with Disabilities," describes how the federal government supports states and communities in implementing Parts B and C of the law through various activities and grants covering training, research, program improvement, technical assistance, parent support, and information dissemination.

IDEA, now twenty-five years old, calls for federal-state-local partnerships, including sharing the financial support for the Parts B and C programs. Nationwide over six million eligible children receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE), and almost 200,000 infants and toddlers are served. The U.S. Department to Education and its Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services administers this $7.4 billion program that aims to produce positive results for children across the nation.


Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) for the IDEA Partnership Projects. Available from http://www.ideapractices.org/lawandregs.htm; INTERNET.

Pascal Louis Trohanis

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 4