The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: A Parent’s Perspective and Proposal for Change

For two years, beginning in the fall of 1991, I was involved in an ongoing legal battle with the Delaware County, Pennsylvania Intermediate Unit No. 25 regarding the “appropriateness” of preschool programming for my son. To a large degree, the following Article has its origin in that battle.

Nevertheless, the point of this Article is neither to get even for wrongs, real or imagined, nor to utilize these pages to supplement the already extensive briefs and formal arguments made in that case. Rather, I believe that my position as a law professor, lawyer, litigant, and parent of a disabled child gives me a somewhat unique perspective on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA or Act), and the Act’s shortcomings in practice, in theory, and in underlying assumption. The following pages lay out some of those shortcomings and what can be done to remedy them.