Public Law 94-142 - Education of All Handicapped Children Act

now called

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act because it makes a nice acronym - "IDEA" *

Public Law 94-142 (Education of All Handicapped Children Act)

In 1975, Congress passed Public Law 94-142 (Education of All Handicapped Children Act), now codified as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). In order to receive federal funds, states must develop and implement policies that assure a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children with disabilities. The state plans must be consistent with the federal statute, Title 20 United States Code Section 1400 et.seq. (20 USC 1400) (For more information on IDEA, legislative history, implications, see the other files in forum libraries, especially those that relate to the Shannon Carter case which was argued before the US Supreme Court on October 6, 1993.)
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More Information

PBIS and the Law (or main PBIS page) This site has a large amount of information on the implementation of PL 94-142. This one's worth bookmarking if you need to deal with a public school system. Included are descriptons of 'IEP' and 'FBA' evaluations. - IDEA Regulations, IDEA Legislation, IDEA Reports to Congress - Includes history and implementating regs.

Public Law 94-142: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Multiple Links from The Arc (formerly Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States)

Amicus for Children
Founded by Sheri Taylor-Mearhoff, this organization provides resources for people to be their children's first and best advocates. This is really a good resource. Details at their website. Family & Advocates Partnership for Education
FAPE has some excellent resources on IEPs and other issues related to educational assistance. People seem to speak highly of them.
Familias y Abogados Asociados por Educación
Index IDEA en Español, Hmong, Somali.
Also has an English-Hmong Dictionary of Special Education
I don't know the organization, but they seem to have good information.

IEP Handout (.pdf) by Ian Ford
This is geared toward autistic mid-school students, and is intended for students advocating for themselves in writing IEPs. Ian Ford describes himself as "An autistic quaker engineer who is fixated on policy, transit, and education." (html version)

34 CFR 300 et seq This is a partial set of the Federal law which incorporates IDEA

"Law and Exception Students" summary from Angela Howell at U.N.C.
This identifies the separate acts which implement what is now the IDEA law.

Disability & Education Laws from NICHCY
Has information on P.L.94-142 and other links relating to IDEA

Paginos en Español y copias de IDEA en inglés y español

News Digest de NICHCY en Español
con informacion de P.L.94-142 y IDEA

IDEA Information from NASP - National Association of School Psychologists

back to the "Ritalin is Child Abuse" page

other Public Law 94-142 links from the Ritilin is Child Abuse site.

Autism Links

Autism Definitions from GRASP -

"You Need to be Realistic About Your Child's Future" -
... or how to ignore amateur fortune tellers with degrees
... or being realistic about prenatal screening hyperbole. - A very comprehensive index - scroll to "Learning and Education"
List of education law resources including "Special Education Burden" and several examples of successful lawsuits involving noncompliance with IDEA, from Kathleen Seidel of Neurodiversity
List of articles on intelligence and learning techniques
IEP Development for Autistic Students - several links for parents and I believe also for autistic students doing their own IEPs

MAAP on Legal Rights

"Don't Mourn for Us"
from The Autism Mom, describing Jim Sinclair's essay. (versión en Español - "No Sufran Por Nosotros" - Traduje esto y no soy incluso un locutor español.)

ASAN - the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Autism NOW
Autism NOW is a project of The ARC, and is making efforts toward provision of services, rather than presenting a medical model of autism. They include adult autistics in their organizational structure.

Participating in an IEP (D-I-Y for Students)

IDEA provides, as a matter of right, that students over 16 (over 14 in some states) may participate in the establishment of an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The following describe this process.
A Student's Guide to the IEP from
NICHY ( is the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. (Kids as Self-Advocates) document en Español (MS Word)

D-I-Y IEP links courtesy Jim Sinclair of Autism Network International (ANI)

The Text of the Law

I have noted that this little document has been included as part of several instructional syllabi. Presumably the information here is sufficient for the purpose; but if not, here's where to find further information:



IDEA text and regulations from The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education

* There's actually more to the change to "IDEA" than just a nice acronym. "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" is "person first" language, which describes the person and then states the condition as a modifier of the person. [1] The subject of the acronym IDEA is "Individuals" which is stated before the modifier, "disabilities".

Coincidentially, the "I" of "IEP" is "individual", which suggests that the structured plan mandated by IDEA must be "individual" and not "one size fits all". That means that parents (or the student if the student is doing the IEP) have a right to an individualized plan.

(Thank you Marilyn K. for letting me be involved on your dissertation on the subject. I enjoyed working with you and those are still fond memories.)


[1]^       "Person First" does not apply to all groups. For example, the majority of adult Deaf, Blind and Autistics prefer "Identity First" language (instead of "people with deafness, etc.), because they identify with the condition or consider it a sub-culture. "Identity First" preferences should be honored for the same reason "Person First" preferences are honored.

Stan Protigal
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This page copyright 1999, Stan Protigal