The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), established in 1990, states that an IEP must be established for any child that qualifies for special education services. The IDEA applies to children between the ages of 3 and 21, and eligibility is decided through an evaluation.

The IDEA states that it is the state’s responsibility to identify, locate and evaluate all students that may be in need of special education services, but teachers and parents are allowed to submit an evaluation request. The results from this evaluation will be used to create an IEP for the student, but if the parents are not happy with the results, they can request an independent evaluation. An independent evaluation can be costly, but the parents can request that it be paid for by the school district.

If the student is deemed eligible to receive special education services, the school system will then schedule and conduct a meeting with the parents to discuss the evaluation results and create an IEP. The IEP will be reviewed at least once a year, and it can be revised at any time. Students who qualify will need to be reevaluated at least once every three years to maintain eligibility, and the integrity of the IEP.

According to the IDEA, the school system must insert the students into the least restrictive environment possible, so great effort is put into keeping the students in regular classrooms, but sometimes special classes with fewer students are required for more individual attention. These students will be able to attend non-academic classes, such as physical education and music, with normal students.

Specialized instruction may be needed for students with severe disabilities and testing activities will have to be altered to match. Classroom accommodations will be provided when necessary as long as the accommodations do not include modifying the education material. Transportation will also be provided for students that have a severe disability that requires the use of a wheel chair. However, private schools do not receive government funding and are not required to provide the same type of special education services that a student would receive at a public school. Every private school has a different policy, and it is the parents’ responsibility to contact the desired school and request the information.