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IDEA 2004:
OSEP Publishes Topics Briefs on "High Interest Areas"

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IDEA 2004 went into effect on July 1, 2005. The IDEA 2004 regulations went into effect on October 14, 2006.

The re-authorization of any new law brings differing interpretations and questions.

Troy R. Justesen, acting director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), announced that the Department of Education published 19 topics briefs on "high-interest areas of IDEA 2004" that summarize the "relevant statutory language" on Evaluations and Reevaluations, IEPs and IEP meetings, Highly Qualified Teachers, Discipline, Early Intervening Services, and other topics.

Topics Briefs

Alignment of IDEA 2004 with No Child Left Behind - adds new definitions including "core academic subjects" and "limited English proficient" from NCLB; performance goals and indicators; requirements about reporting progress in educating children with disabilities to public and state; alternate achievement standards; records of migratory children; eligibility determination; personnel development plans. (3 pages)

Initial Evaluations & Reevaluations - new 60-day timeline for initial evaluation; procedures for evaluating children who may have specific learning disabilities; new procedures for reevaluations; new evaluation requirements before change in eligibility; new requirement about evaluating present levels of academic achievement and developmental needs of child. (3 pages)

Children Enrolled by Their Parents in Private Schools - manner of providing of services to children who attend private schools; describes child find requirements for children who attend private schools; new requirements for equitable participation for children who are placed in private schools; new requirements for consultation with private school officials to design and develop special education and related services programs; new requirements for written affirmation of consultation. (3 pages)

Discipline - new authority for school personnel; new standards for manifestation determinations; new standard for "special circumstances"; definition of serious bodily injury; authority of hearing officer; expedited hearings (3 pages)

Disproportionality and Overidentification - required policies and procedures re: collection and examination of data; requirements when reviewing policies and procedures; authorizes technical assistance, demonstration projects, implementation of scientifically based research. (2 pages)

Early Intervening Services - addition of early intervening services to IDEA; activities to implement early intervening services including professional development; clarifies relationship between FAPE and early intervening services; reporting requirements; use of funds. (2 pages)

Early Intervention: Part C Amendments in IDEA 2004 - new criteria for developing the IFSP including early intervention services based on scientifically based research; new requirements for the IFSP including a statement of early intervention services based on peer revewed research and measurable results or outcomes; new Child Find requirements; new provisions for Early Childhood Transition; additional dispute resolution options; new definition of developmental delay; changes in definition of Early Intervention Services. (4 pages)

Early Intervention: Part C Option: Age 3 to Kindergarten Age - flexibility in making Part C funds available for children ages 3 to Kindergarten; expands definition of "infants and toddlers"; new requirements for policies re: notice to parents. (3 pages)

Highly Qualified Teachers - defines "highly qualified teacher;" specifies requirements for special education teachers including those who who teach to alternate achievement standards and multiple subjects; requires states to adopt a policy to take measurable steps to recruit, hire, train, and retain highly qualified personnel; requirements for related services personnel and paraprofessionals; personnel development plans. (5 pages)

IEP Team Meetings, Attendance, Revising the IEP - required members of IEP team; IEP team member attendance; excusal from IEP meetings; new provisions about changing IEPs; consolidation of meetings; alternate ways to participate in meetings. (2 pages)

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) - new requirements for present levels of academic achievement and functional performance; accommodations on assessments; measurable annual goals; requirements about reporting progress to parents; changes in transition requirements; new requirements for children who transfer within and between states. (3 pages)

Statewide and Districtwide Assessments - clarifies that IEPs must include a state of appropriate accommodations to measure the child's academic achievement and functional performance; requirements for alternate assessments; new reporting requirements; changes to IEPs (2 pages)

Transition - Adds "further education" to the purposes of IDEA; changes definition of transition services; creates exception to requirements for evaluation before change in eligibility; changed requirements for transition in the IEP. (2 pages)

Procedural Safeguards: Surrogates, Notice and Consent - adds procedures for appointing surrogate parents; revises requirements about providing procedural safeguards notice to parents; additions to notice content, requests for due process hearings, civil actions; consent for services for wards of the state. (2 pages)

Procedural Safeguards: Mediation and Resolution Sessions - new requirements for mediation and meeting with a "disinterested party"; new requirements about legally binding agreements, confidentiality of discussions, enforceability of agreement; new requirements for "resolution sessions"; limitations on attorneys' fees. (3 pages)

Procedural Safeguards: Due Process Hearings - clarifies who may request a due process hearing; specifies timeline for requesting a due process hearing; new prior written notice requirements and timelines; new requirements for hearing officers; new guidelines for issues raised at a due process hearing; new parameters for hearing officer decisions; timeline to bring a civil action; additional provisions for awarding attorneys fees. (4 pages)

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) - New definitions related to National Instructional Materials Accessability Standard (NIMAS); mandates access to instructional materials; mandates collaboration on assistive technology programs; establishes deadlines and duties. (3 pages)

Funding, Local - exceptions and limitations to maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements; permissive use of funds; requirements for funding of charter schools (2 pages)

Funding, State- changes in formula grants to states; 7-year path to "full funding"; changes in state-level activities; LEA risk pool; flexibility; limitations (3 pages)

More IDEA 2004 resources.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition (ISBN: 978-1-892320-16-2, 456 pages, 8 1/2" x 11", perfect bound) by Peter Wright and Pamela Wright is available in two formats. The book includes:

  • Full text of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 and IDEA 2004 regulations with analysis and commentary
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • No Child Left Behind Act
  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Act
  • Decisions in special education cases from the U. S. Supreme Court
  • References and resources
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd ed. by Peter W. D. Wright & Pamela Darr Wright


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