National Center for Learning Disabilities

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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the main federal program authorizing state and local aid for special education and related services for children with disabilities, including students with LD. For details, explore this outline of IDEA.



IDEA Words and Terms to Know

IDEA Terms - Special Education Terms


Tools and procedures that provide equal access to instruction and assessment for students with disabilities. Designed to "level the playing field" for students with disabilities, accommodations are generally grouped into the following categories:

  • Presentation (e.g., repeat directions, read aloud, use of larger bubbles on answer sheets, etc.)
  • Response (e.g., mark answers in book, use reference aids, point, use of computer, etc.)
  • Timing/Scheduling (e.g., extended time, frequent breaks, etc.)
  • Setting (e.g., study carrel, special lighting, separate room, etc.).

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What Is IDEA?

IDEA - InformationThe Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the nation’s federal special education law that ensures public schools serve the educational needs of students with disabilities. IDEA requires that schools provide special education services to eligible students as outlined in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). IDEA also provides very specific requirements to guarantee a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE). FAPE and LRE are the protected rights of every eligible child, in all fifty states and U.S. Territories.

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