Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of Jan. 1997 (IDEA) is a federal law which guarantees all students with disabilities between the ages of 3 through 21 the right to a free appropriate public education designed to meet their individual needs. It also offers protection for the rights of students with disabilities and their parent/guardians or education surrogate parents.
The Indiana Special Education rules, known as Article 7, provide the legislative and department of education guidelines for implementing special education programs in Indiana, effective June 21, 2000. Article 7 regulates special education programs and related services provided by the public school as well as the state operated and state supported programs. Greater Lafayette Area Special Services, better known as G.L.A.S.S., is a special education cooperative sponsored by Lafayette School Corporation, Tippecanoe School Corporation, and West Lafayette Community School Corporation. General educators and special educators work together to implement the responsibilities of public schools defined in Article 7. Parents are also involved in every step of planning educational services for a student with a disability. Students who are to receive special education services must be evaluated by a multidisciplinary evaluation team and, at a case conference, must be determined eligible based on one of the following eligibility categories: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Communication Disorder, Emotional Disability, Learning Disability, Mental Disability, Multiple Disability, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Deaf/Blind and Developmental Delay. The case conference committee, which includes the students’ parents, will then develop an individualized education program (IEP). The IEP will be designed to meet the students’ unique needs and will include related and other supportive services as needed in order to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education. Each student with a disability will be educated in his least restrictive environment. The amount of time that the student with a disability spends within a general education setting will be determined on an individual basis.