IDEA 2004 is the federal law that governs special education services. IDEA 2004 stands for Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004 for short). This law protects students who need special education due to a disability. The law states that a child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE) in the “least restrictive environment.” To the greatest extent possible, the child protected by IDEA 2004 is to be educated in the mainstream classroom. IDEA 2004 thus prevents children with disabilities from being unnecessarily segregated from their nondisabled peers.
Under IDEA 2004, children who are identified as having a potential disability are entitled to an evaluation at the school district’s expense. Either a teacher or parent may identify the child as having a potential disability. Parents knowing or suspecting their child has Asperger’s Disorder is not sufficient to require the school to perform an evaluation; the disorder must have an adverse effect on “educational performance.” Educational performance refers to much more than your child’s grades. It encompasses your child’s complete functioning in all aspects of school, including his ability to behave, get along with peers, and complete work, among many other things.