The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) of
1975, also known as Public Law 94?142, is a federal law that requires public
schools to provide appropriate educational services for all children with disabilities
between ages 3 and 21. EAHCA has been strengthened and expanded over the years and is now called the Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). Funds are granted
to individual states with special education programs that comply with federal
guidelines. These guidelines outline only the minimum standards that states
must meet in order to get the funds. After meeting these guidelines, states are
allowed flexibility in designing their own programs.
provisions of IDEA are related to:
Duration of services. Your child may be eligible
for services beyond the traditional school
Identifying and evaluating the disability. Your child must be
officially evaluated for having a disability through specific testing
procedures. Health, vision, hearing, social and emotional development,
intelligence, communication skills, and academic performance are
included during this evaluation.
Free and appropriate education.
The needs vary for each child with a disability but include education and
related services. This is a comprehensive requirement that may include services
such as transportation, psychological care, and physical therapy. But medical
services are excluded from this provision. Although some services are free,
this does not mean they are the best services available.
Least restrictive environment. Children with special needs
are included in traditional classrooms
whenever possible. Although this is not always feasible or appropriate,
attempts should be made to limit a child's
Individualized education program (IEP). Educational
programs to fit specific needs are designed based upon the evaluation of a
child's disability. Meetings are held with school personnel and parents to
identify goals and establish a program to best help the child with available
Early intervention services for infants and toddlers
with physical, cognitive, communication, social or emotional, or adaptive
developmental disabilities. This also may include infants or toddlers at risk
for these developmental problems, depending on the state.
Details about this law can be found on the website http://idea.ed.gov.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.