About the Program
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA, 2004) is a federal law which requires that schools provide students from ages 3 to 21 with educational disabilities a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE).
An educational disability requiring the services of Special Education is a skills deficit, a health or physical condition, a functional limitation, or a pattern of behavior that adversely affects educational performance. An educational disability 1) results in educational performance that is significantly and consistently different, diminished, or inappropriate when compared to the expectations for peers and 2) significantly interferes with: a) access to general education settings and opportunities, b) developmental progress, c) involvement and progress in the general curriculum, or d) interpersonal relationships or personal adjustment.
A student is considered eligible for special education if, following an evaluation by the AEA, the team answers “yes” to both of the following questions.
- Does the individual have a disability? (A disability is a significant skills deficit, a health or physical condition, a functional limitation, or a pattern of behavior that adversely affects the individual’s rate of progress and current level of performance.)
- Are specially designed instruction and related services required to meet the individual’s educational needs?
District Developed Service Delivery Plan for Special Education Services
All districts are required to develop a District Developed Service Delivery Plan for Special Education services and file it with the Department of Education.
Special Education can be a complex process. Parents are encouraged to discuss their questions and concerns with a building administrator, the Director of Special Programs and/or AEA staff. Parent rights are explained in the Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents (Parental Rights in Special Education). This manual and other related resources can be found on the Mississippi Bend AEA website (https://mbaea.org/).