MovingMindsForward Foundation

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004)


  On July 1, 2005, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, better known as IDEA 2004, went into effect. IDEA 2004 is the federal law that governs special education eligibility and access for all children in the United States.

  • "Findings" Section of IDEA 2004: Congress makes clear that the laws that govern special education law are meant to prepare children to lead productive, independent lives. They found that "30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by having high expectations for such children," so they are challenged to "meet developmental goals and, to the maximum extent possible," asked to meet "the challenging expectations that have been established for all children and be prepared to lead productive and independent adult lives, to the maximum extent possible." (section 1400(c)(5)(A))


  • The Purpose of IDEA 2004? Is to ensure access to further education, future employment and independent living, to the furtherest extent possible. In IDEA 2004 Congress explains "The purposes of this title [IDEA 2004] are to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free and appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living." (section 1400(d)(1)(A))


  • Congress stated that effective educations for children with disabilities must begin with personnel who have received "high quality, intensive" professional development and instruction to ensure they have "the skills and knowledge necessary to improve the academic achievement and functional performance of children with disabilities, including the use of scientifically based instructional practices, to the maximum extent possible." (section 1400(c)(5)(E))