NDRN Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

November 19, 2020
NDRN Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

This month, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will officially turn 45! We teamed up with the Learning Disabilities Association of America to produce this video on what IDEA is, its history, and why it’s so important for students with disabilities.


Narrator: It’s IDEA’s 45th birthday! While ideas have been around for way longer than 45 years, the IDEA we’re celebrating is actually a law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This landmark legislation guaranteed free and appropriate public education for individuals with disabilities. IDEA lets parents of students with disabilities have a say in their child’s education and it requires schools to test students they believe to have a disability at no cost to the student’s family. All of these things we know are important for people with disabilities and learning disabilities. When IDEA was first born in 1975, it had a different name, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. In 1990, the law to ensure all students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate education, or FAPE, was renamed to what we now call IDEA. In 1997 and 2004, IDEA was amended to further education, employment and independent living. So what does IDEA in action look like? We asked some students.

Nick: Hi, I’m Nick. I found out I was dyslexic in third grade. Since finding out I was dyslexic, I’ve used my services and support from IDEA to be successful all the way from third grade to college, where I am now a freshman.

Megan: Before I was identified with dyslexia, I struggled a lot in school. But through the help of IDEA and my IEP (Individualized Education Program), I’ve been able to learn to read using the Wilson Reading Program and have extra time in all tests and assessments. Today, I’m in Honors English, which is the coolest thing ever.

Jack: Without IDEA, many students with disabilities would be left behind, including myself, and I am grateful that we still have this piece of legislation.

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Caine, and IDEA is very important to me because it levels the playing field for me and my peers. I have dysgraphia and I use speech-to-text to get all my ideas down on paper. This helps me keep up with my class.

Narrator: Today, advocates are fighting to uphold FAPE and to push for the full funding of IDEA. Share this video and join in celebrating IDEA’s 45th birthday.