Federal Law

Federal Law

The federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) was originally enacted by the United States Congress in 1975 to ensure that children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The law has been revised many times over the years. The most recent amendments were passed by Congress in 2004, with final regulations published in 2006 (Part B for school-aged children) and in 2011 (Part C for babies and toddlers). Since all states currently accept federal education funding, all states are governed by the IDEA.

The IDEA requires states to:

  • Have policies and procedures for identifying students with disabilities.
  • Provide special education services to eligible students.
  • Have at least one Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) to answer parent questions.  (Oregon’s PTI is FACT Oregon)

IDEA and Dyslexia

Dyslexia is listed as an example of a Specific Learning Disability in the text of the IDEA. However, a private diagnosis of dyslexia does not automatically mean a child has a disability under the law and is therefore eligible for special education.  To receive special education, a student must be found to 1) have a disability under the law, and 2) be in need of specially designed instruction. According to the IDEA, it is possible for a child to be getting good grades, yet have a disability and be in need of specially designed instruction.

More Information

Becoming familiar with the IDEA and Oregon’s interpretation of it is recommended for all parents of dyslexic students. The following resources can provide you with further information:

IDEA 2004 – Information from Wrightslaw and links to the actual text of IDEA

Wright’s Law: What do you need to Know about the IDEA.

FACT Oregon – Oregon’s federally funded Parent Training and Information Center.

Contact us for a list of Oregon attorneys who specialize in special education. Consulting with an attorney does not mean you plan to sue your school district. Legal consultations can help you better understand your rights and develop a plan for improving your child’s situation.  Initial consultations are often free of charge.