The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) contains four parts:

Part A

outlines IDEIA’s purpose and defines terms used within the document.

Part B

explains the requirements for public school children from age three to age 21.

Part C

details requirements for families with infants and toddlers, birth to age two.

Part D

discusses resources and national initiatives to improve special education.

In addition, IDEIA outlines procedural safeguards that must be followed and sets forth appropriate discipline measures for students with disabilities.

Part B explains that all public schools receiving IDEIA funding states must supply a free appropriate public education to all students with disabilities in the following categories: autism, orthopedic impairment, emotional disturbance, visual impairment, hearing impairment, specific learning disability, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, deaf-blindness, traumatic brain injury, speech and language impairment and other health impairments.

Qualifying evaluations for each disability are defined in Part B. Students must re-qualify for special education services every three years. To determine eligibility, the special education team must use more than a single assessment, such as an intelligence test and a test of academic achievement. Each student who qualifies for special education services under IDEIA must have a written individualized education plan (IEP) with specific objectives and goals and methods to track progress. IEPs are legal contracts that are in effect for one year.

Part C, formerly known as Part H, discusses early intervention for babies and toddlers with disabilities from birth to age two. Part C describes requirements for qualifying evaluations family service plans. Early intervention is a family-focused program. Early intervention specialists work with families to define goals for the children, as well as goals to help the family adjust to parenting a child with a disability. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and the like are typically delivered by service providers who come to the home.

Part D outlines national initiatives to improve special education services. These include parent support centers, personnel requirements and the allocation of funds.