IDEA To Support Children with Disabilities

Chrissy Rebert
VP of Global Instructional Solutions
News on March 17 2021

During the 2020-21 school year, many Local Education Agencies (LEA) and school districts have been confronted with the challenges of alternative lesson development, remote/hybrid instructional delivery, maintaining student engagement, and providing services. This has put a further strain on their plans for serving their students with disabilities. These students are the most vulnerable to regression when academics and services are removed, reduced, or even modified. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) plays an important role in supporting these LEAs and districts because it allows students with disabilities to get an education they need to succeed in the school and community.  



Learn the Law! 

To capitalize on the funding available to districts, it is important to understand IDEA, its requirementsand parts. The IDEA is the nation’s federal special education law that ensures public schools serve the educational needs of students with disabilities. IDEA requires schools to provide special education services to eligible students as outlined in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). IDEA also provides very specific requirements to guarantee a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The statute authorizes formula and discretionary grants and is composed of four parts. 


Who is Eligible for IDEA? 

Not all students who struggle in school are eligible for IDEA. An eligible child must have one of the following disabilities that adversely affect their school performance. 

12 categories: 

  • Autism 
  • DeafBlindness 
  • Deafness 
  • Emotional disturbance 
  • Hearing impairment 
  • Intellectual disability 
  • Multiple disabilities 
  • Orthopedic impairment 
  • Other health impairment 
  • Specific learning disability 
  • Speech or language impairment 
  • Traumatic brain injury 

For more on the defined categories visit: 



IDEA Parts 

Part A. General ProvisionsPart A outlines IDEA’s general provisions, including the purpose of IDEA and the definitions. 

Part BAssistance for All Children with Disabilities. Allowable uses include services to improve developmental delays in physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development. As LEAs and school districts continue to support students with special needs and address learning gaps and student outcomes, funds from Part B of IDEA can be used to provide many services to students. 

  • Speech-language pathology and audiology services 
  • Interpreting services 
  • Psychological services 
  • Physical and occupational therapy 
  • Recreation, including therapeutic recreation 
  • Early identification and assessment of disabilities in children 
  • Counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling 
  • Orientation and mobility services 
  • Medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes 
  • School health services and school nurse services 
  • Social work services in schools 
  • Parent counseling and training 

Part C: Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities. Early intervention plays a vital role in a child’s development. Part C not only supports infants and toddlers, but also their families. Allowable use includes services to help improve cognitive development, physical development, communication development, social and emotional developmentadaptive development, support parents of children with disabilities, and access to resources, information, and training. 

  • Assistive technology device and services 
  • Audiology 
  • Family training and counseling 
  • Health services 
  • Medical services 
  • Nursing services
  • Nutrition services 
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Physical therapy 
  • Psychological services 

Part DNational Activities to Improve Education of Children with Disabilities. This part of IDEA offers competitive grants aimed at enhancing the education of children with disabilities on a national level. It includes support research and demonstrations, technical assistance, technology development, professional development, parent-training, and information centers.   

  • Service coordination 
  • Sign language and Cued language 
  • Social work services 
  • Special instruction 
  • Transportation and related services 
  • Vision services 
  • Speech/Language therapy 

Discretionary grants are grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Education through a competitive process. For additional information on discretionary grants, go to 


Now You Know and Can Plan Ahead: 

The federal government offers funding to support all needs of our children with disabilities.  Whether a district uses the formula grants or the competitive discretionary grants, early intervention and special education timelines, services, and regulations, as defined in IDEA, can continue. Now more than ever, these students need continuity, routine, and uninterrupted support. Administrators, educators, and service providers are essential to ensuring that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected, services are continued, and positive outcomes for children at all age levels are supported.   

Teq further offers support through OTIS, our online learning platform, with lessons, activities, and courses for administrators, teachers, and parents on special education, skill building, technology development, and integration.   

Some sample courses are: 

  • Web Resources for Special Education 
  • Creating Quality IEPs with Remote Learning in Mind 
  • Augmented Communication Applications 
  • Resources for Teaching Students with Autism 
  • Resources for Teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing 
  • IEP/504 Accommodations 
  • Social and Emotional Learning with Storybooks 
  • Creating Virtual Calming Rooms 

*Look for our Assistive Technology Certification Track (coming soon) 

Additional Resources on IDEA: 

Department of Education Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 

Congressional Research Service. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Funding: A Primer Updated August 29, 2019 


For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.