The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) is the federal law that governs the special education process. One of the main purposes of IDEA is to ensure that children with disabilities have available to them a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living. Special Education means specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Related services are special services needed to support the students’ special education services so they can make progress to meet their academic and functional goals.
FAPE is defined by the student’s Admission Review Dismissal Committee (ARDc) in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) based on the ARD committee’s decision. Educational programming and placement decisions are always made on an individual basis as determined by appropriate assessment data. After a student’s IEP has been developed, the ARDc considers where the required services can best be implemented. The general education classroom is the primary placement option that is always considered first. Students are removed only as far from this setting as their individual needs dictate.