The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law in the United States governing the provision of special education and related services to public school students with disabilities from birth to age 21. IDEA was first enacted in 1975 as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Pub. L. 94–142) to correct the problem of students with disabilities being denied access to educational services. IDEA has been revised five times. IDEA is an entitlement law providing funds for states and school districts for specialized educational services.


The original title of IDEA was the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA; Pub. L. 94–142). Congress used that title to emphasize how important it was for all children to be included. Historically, schools had excluded children ...

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