1997 Reauthorization of IDEA-
Impact on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students


The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) had some changes that took effect during the 1997 Reauthorization with implications for deaf and hard of hearing children, specifically: "language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communications with peers and professional personnel in the child's language and communication mode, academic level, and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child's language and communication mode." The 1997 Amendments also require the IEP team to consider whether the child requires assistive technology devices and services. Children enrolled in private schools no longer automatically get services from the public schools. The school district must agree that they cannot provide services for the child and that the private school is the better setting. This doesn't mean that a school district won't provide services but they don't have to if they weren't involved in the decision to place the child in the private school.

[The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) was signed into law on December 3, 2004. Most provisions of the law take effect on July 1, 2005. The IDEA 97 regulations will remain in effect, except where they are manifestly contrary to IDEA 2004, until they are replaced with new federal regulations. The final IDEA 2004 regulations will be published in late 2005 or early 2006.]

IMPACT of IDEA Reauthorization on NC
taken from publications produced by
The Exceptional Children's Assistance Center (ECAC)

1. Individualized Education Program Team is responsible for the decision making and placement process.

2. IEP Team (including parents) must gather information that is necessary for appropriate education programming. If they determine further information is needed, a re-evaluation must be conducted.

3. Major changes in NC IEPs include:

  • Focus on "general curriculum"
  • Use of benchmarks along with/instead of objectives
  • Placement decisions must be based on why the student is being removed from regular education instead of why the student needs special education
  • State recommended IEP form is provided.
4. Progress Reports to Parents- Parents must receive reports of progress toward IEP goals as often as other students receive report cards.

5. Mediation- Two tier system of mediation created by new state law. Independent mediators are available before a parent files for due process and law judges will offer mediation after due process is filed.