Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

On this page, we provide 6 short video lessons about:

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA,
  • Exceptional Student Education or ESE in Florida,
  • Developing an appropriate Individual Education Plan or IEP for your child, and
  • Strategies for successful IEP meeting advocacy.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is our nation's primary special education law. IDEA guides how states, school districts, 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. IDEA was first enacted by Congress in 1975 to ensure that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education, just like other children. IDEA has been revised several times over the years. The most recent revisions were enacted in December 2004, with final regulations published in August 2006.

In Florida special education is called Exceptional Student Education or ESE.

Every child with a disability who is eligible under IDEA and ESE has an Individual Education Plan or IEP. The IEP is an individualized written plan that supports the need for specialized supports and services. Parents and teachers consider the IEP to be their child’s educational road map.

Watch all six videos and then visit the Links tab for additional online resources. 


10 Step ESE Process

Effective Strategies

Preparing for the IEP Meeting

IEP Details Part 1

IEP Details Part 2


Helpful Florida Department of Education websites:


Helpful National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities website:


Helpful National Center for Learning Disabilities website:


To learn more about Special Education Law, visit these websites: