Education develops the foundation necessary for an individual to reach their potential. This is especially true for individuals with Down Syndrome.
What is IDEA?
IDEA or The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.
In IDEA 2004 Congress defined the purpose of special education: "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living" and "to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected"... (Section 1400(d)).
Special education and related services necessary for each individual student is defined by their unique needs and is supported by an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
What is an IEP?
An IEP is a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised. It is the road map that describes the student, where they need to go, and how they are going to get there. It must include a statement of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, a statement of measurable annual goals, a description of how and when the child's progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured, a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aides and services, among other important details.
The student's IEP is developed by an IEP team, which includes a variety of educators and therapists dependent upon the student's unique needs. Parents are also equal members of the IEP team and have the right as well as the responsibility of advocating for their child. There are due process procedures in place should the team members disagree with a service and/or placement recommendation.
There are a variety of ways and classroom settings an education program (IEP) can be implemented. Some students will be included in their neighborhoods general education classes, while others may require a specialized curriculum provided in a special education classroom for a portion or all of their day. Supplemental aids or services are provided when necessary to support the student regardless of which classroom setting they are placed.
Read more about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)