IDEA Eligibility Criteria

Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Editorial Team

Famous personalities like Stephen Hawking evinced that personal compromises can never be a stumbling block to success. However, special needs individuals may need counsel and direction to attain the potential to compete. This was the central basis of the Crio Camp.

Fortunately, the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) addressed the same, by ensuring relevant provisions for special needs children. To avail of the benefits under this act, a student ought to be eligible for special education. Consequently, we will edify you on the eligibility criteria of IDEA.

IDEA: A brief insight

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is federal legislation that ensures that qualifying children with disabilities get a free and suitable public education across the country and ensure they receive special education and associated services.

During the 2018-19 school year, the IDEA governed the provision of early intervention, special education, and associated services to more than 7.5 million eligible newborns, toddlers, children, and teenagers with disabilities, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Early intervention services are provided to disabled infants and toddlers from birth to age two and their families. Special education and associated services are provided to children and teenagers from the ages of three to twenty-one under IDEA Part B.

Who is protected under IDEA?

Not every kid is eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and having a diagnosis does not ensure eligibility. IDEA covers 13 categories in which the children need to fit in, in order to be eligible. They are as follows:

  1. Autism
  2. Deaf-blindness
  3. Deafness
  4. Emotional disturbance
  5. Hearing impairment
  6. Intellectual disability
  7. Multiple disabilities
  8. Orthopaedic impairment
  9. Other health impairments (including ADHD)
  10. Specific learning disabilities (includes dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and other learning differences)
  11. Speech or language impairment
  12. Traumatic brain injury
  13. Visual impairment, including blindness

Having one of these impairments, on the other hand, does not automatically qualify a kid under the IDEA. A kid who has ADHD but is performing well in school, for example, may not be protected by the IDEA because of his or her performance. Sometimes schools and parents are at odds about whether a kid is covered by health insurance. As soon as this occurs, the IDEA alternatives settle the disagreement.

IDEA eligibility determination: What is it?

Eligibility Determination under IDEA implies a judgment made by the CDDP (the department that caters to the needs of eligibility of a person for developmental disabilities assistance). It is either a judgment that is eligible or ineligible (based on certain grounds) for developmental disabilities assistance. Consequently, it illustrates an authorization or rejection of eligibility and a revival or cessation of eligibility.

To qualify for IDEA,

  • The child could be differently-abled. 
  • Being with special needs, the child needs special education and constant assistance.
  • The education performance is severely affected.
  • An ineptitude to memorize that cannot be clarified by academic, receptive, or health factors.
  • Socializing, and establishing interpersonal connections with friends and educators becomes a challenge.
  • Problematic types of behavior or emotions under ordinary situations.

What are the 3 eligibility criteria for learning disability under IDEA?

To opt for special education services for your child, you need to go through a legal process. The most vital law for this process is IDEA. It is the nation’s special education law, which provides rights and protection to pupils with disabilities. However, there are certain criteria that IDEA follows. This includes:

  1. The existence of an issue is indicated. A student must come forward and show concern about their academic performance to be considered for this position.
  1. Achievement levels fall substantially short of expectations in academics. 
  1. Having an overall or verbal intelligence score that is at least in the average range, if not higher, on normed-referenced standardized testing and certain particular areas of scholastic success that are at least one standard deviation below the measured intellectual ability level.

Eligibility criteria “measures” employed by IDEA 

The only criteria of ability that can be employed in the judgment of this disparity are:

  • Wechsler ADULT Intelligence Scale (current version),
  • The Wechsler Verbal IQ score (the abbreviated editions of this testing tool are not acceptable, however)
  • The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities (current version), and
  • The Broad Cognitive Ability score.

When inferring the size of the disparity only the precise standard records may be utilized. This does not thwart the aim of degeneration procedures for those who are aware and comfortable with this technique. It is inferred that on occasion competent clinical assessment may be utilized to substantiate or rule out a diagnosis of LD (Learning Disability) and that the qualitative features of the examination tools may be employed by the skilled when deducing a diagnosis.

The purpose of IDEA

IDEA is the nation’s special education law that furnishes educational rights to kids with certain disabilities. It takes care of the kid’s education from birth until they graduate high school or reach the age of 21. According to the legislature, parents and legal guardians also have rights under this law. The IDEA law was approved for the first time in 1975. The following are the key goals of IDEA:

1. To ensure that all children with disabilities get a free and adequate public education (FAPE) 

As part of the IDEA, schools are required to identify and test pupils who are suspected of having impairments at no cost to their parents. The school system is responsible for providing children diagnosed as having disabilities with special education and associated services (such as speech therapy and counseling) to fulfill their individual requirements. The ultimate objective is to assist pupils in making academic progress.

2. To offer parents a say in their children’s educational decisions 

You have a right to participate in the educational choices that the school makes concerning your child under the IDEA. Each step of the procedure is accompanied by certain rights and safeguards provided by the law. Procedural protections are what we term them in the legal world. Among the safeguards that are in place are those requiring the school to get permission from you before delivering services to your kid.

Not fulfilling IDEA eligibility criteria? Here are some alternatives:

1. Plans according to Section 504

The development of a 504 plan to define and record the changes that a kid is entitled to receive under the legislation should occur when a child is declared eligible for extra assistance under Section 504. These adjustments are not regarded to constitute “special education,” but they may be essential for the kid to succeed in school. While not needed by law, a written plan assists organizations in documenting the modifications they will make to support the kid in question. 

There is no requirement under Section 504 that parents be a member of the team that chooses whether or not to launch a 504 plan or to establish one. The fact remains that, since this team comprises persons who “are aware of the kid,” parents should be involved as active members of the team for them to give any information that might be beneficial to the Section 504 committee (observations and experience with child, evaluation results and other reports from doctors and other specialists, etc.) Parents should also be made aware of their legal rights throughout this procedure.

2. Action Plans for Children

A kid who is not qualified for IDEA or Section 504 may need additional assistance to succeed in the classroom. This often occurs when a kid does not satisfy the requirements for a disability diagnosis or when the child is not tested to establish eligibility for services.

Depending on the program, a written action plan may be developed to demonstrate how they are ensuring that the kid can fully engage in the program. Such plans assist in documenting the kid’s objectives as well as the tactics that adults use with the youngster. The plan is developed under the supervision of a disability services coordinator, a mental health expert, or education staff members. 


To be eligible for special education under the IDEA, a child must have a disability that fits into one of 13 categories and needs special education as a result of the impairment. If your child is eligible for special education services, you will collaborate with the school staff to prepare an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides you with numerous crucial rights regarding your child’s education. The reach of IDEA goes far beyond conventional public schools. It incorporates charter schools, public magnet, and private schools.

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