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IDEA (The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)


IDEA is an education act that provides federal funding for special education. The purpose is to provide financial aid to states in their efforts to ensure a free appropriate education for students with disabilities. A student is eligible to receive special education and/or related services if the multidisciplinary team determines that the student has a disability under one of the thirteen qualifying conditions and requires special education services. IDEA requires the district to provide an individual education program (IEP). The IEP provides an 'Appropriate Education' which means a program designed to provide 'Educational Benefit'.The classification categories are:

  • Intellectually Handicapped

  • Learning Disabled

  • Behavior Disordered

  • Communication Disordered

  • Other Health Impaired

  • Hearing Impaired-Hard of Hearing

  • Visually Impaired

  • Multi-Handicapped-Deaf/Blind

  • Hearing Impaired -Deaf

  • Developmentally Delayed-Preschool

  • Visually Impaired

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Autism

SECTION 504 (The Rehabilitation Act of 1973)
Section 504 is a civil rights law that provides federal funding for general education. The purpose is to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal assistance from the department of education. Section 504 requires a written accommodation plan. A student is eligible as long he/she currently has or has had a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity. The seven major life activities include:

  • walking

  • seeing

  • hearing

  • speaking

  • breathing

  • learning

  • working

Some examples of possible 504 disabilities are:

  • Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Arthritis

  • Asthma

  • Cancer

  • Communicable Diseases:HIV,TB

  • Physical Disabilities

  • Temporary Disabling Conditions

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Return to the LDinfo Web Site to find out about any of the following topics (and more):

Learning disabilities - what is a learning disability (LD or SLD)?

Dyslexia: Dyslexia is a reading disability or reading disorder

Dysgraphia Dysgraphia is a writing disability or disorder

Dyscalculia Dyscalculia is a math disability or disorder

What is an attention deficit disorder (ADD, AD/HD, ADHD)?

Gifted LD: Can a student be gifted and LD?

Emotional/Behavioral issues and LD: Do LD students experience behavior problems or depression?

Section 504: What is a Section 504 plan?

What is special education?

What is processing?

What is a severe discrepancy?

What is a nonverbal learning disability (nonverbal LD or NLD)?

What is a central auditory processing disorder (CAPD)?

What is IDEA?

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