An Overview of Related Services Under IDEA
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (IDEA '97) mandates that "...all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education [FAPE] that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living" [Section 601(d)(1)(A)]. In accordance with the IDEA '97 and other federal laws, more than 6.1 million children with disabilities (ages 3 through 21) across the nation received special education and related services in the 1998-99 school year (U.S. Department of Education, 2000). What, precisely, are related services, and why are they an important part of educating children with disabilities? Who is eligible for related services, and how are related services delivered? This publication briefly examines the answers to these and other questions by looking at:
- the related services listed in the Federal regulations;
- how students become eligible for related services;
- how related services are typically obtained for students;
- additional related services not listed specifically in the Federal regulations (i.e., artistic/cultural programs) but that can assist a student in benefiting from special education;
- how related services are typically delivered, coordinated, and funded; and
- related services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
A list of organizations that typically can provide more information about the various related services concludes this publication.
Part I. An Overview of Related Services under IDEA
Several important federal laws address the educational needs of children and youth with disabilities. One such law, passed in 1975, is the Education of All Handicapped Children Act, otherwise known as EHA or Public Law (P.L.) 94-142. This law mandated that special education and related services be made available to all eligible schoolaged children and youth with disabilities. Since the time of EHA's enactment, Federal funds have been provided to help State and local educational agencies provide special education and related services to children with disabilities.
In 1990, as part of its reauthorization by Congress, the EHA was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA (P.L. 101-476). The law was again amended in June 1997 as P.L. 105-17. The 1997 law is called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act—referred to hereafter as IDEA '97.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Dissemination Center.
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