IDEA and universal design, plus future applications


IDEA, or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, makes it mandatory for schools to evaluate students for disabilities at no cost to families. This is called “child find,” and is important, because IEPs and accommodations are only provided for students determined to have disabilities by the school personnel. IDEA states that parental consent must also be given before the school provides services to their child. If a child is denied services under IDEA, they may still qualify under section 504. Here is a handy infographic on IDEA:

IDEA Fact Sheet


The key difference is that ADA applies to postsecondary education, while IDEA applies to K-12 children.

” The ADA aims to protect the rights of adults with disabilities. Under this act, it ensures the adults with disabilities can be employed, have the right to transportation, public accommodations, telecommunications, and other provisions.
IDEA aims to protect the rights of children with disabilities. Under this act, it ensures that children with disabilities have a free, public education, to prepare them for their advanced education, to have chances of being employed in the future, and other special provisions. “

Read more: Differences Between ADA and IDEA | Difference Between

Universal Design

Universal Design is essentially designing an environment so that it is accessible to all people.

According to, there are seven key principles of Universal Design:

  1. Equitable Use
  2. Flexibility in Use
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use
  4. Perceptible Information
  5. Tolerance for Error
  6. Low Physical Effort
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use

In the Inclusion course I took last summer at UAA, we spent a lot of time learning about Universal Design Learning Systems. This includes making content more accessible to kids with disabilities. For example, a child that has an IEP and has trouble reading may be provided with an audio recording of the textbook. Here is a website where you can learn more about UDL.

Future Application

In the future, as a teacher I will be concerned with providing all students with opportunities to learn music in the classroom, regardless of ability or disability. The following are some websites I found that specifically deal with teaching music to children with disabilities: