Skip to main content
Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Special Education

Special education is a broad term that describes the education of students who have intellectual, physical, behavioral, or emotional disabilities. Special education involves specially designed instruction tailored to the unique needs of each child and is provided at no cost to parents. The federal law Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures services to children with disabilities throughout the nation.

Infants and toddlers (ages birth to 2 years old) with disabilities and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3 to 21 years old) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.

Administrative Rules of Special Education

Assessment and Testing

Students with disabilities may be provided with accommodations that give them access to the general education curriculum and its assessments. Some students with disabilities participate in alternate forms of assessment in order to demonstrate learning.

Dispute Resolution

The IDEA of 2004 offers several avenues for parents, AEAs, and districts to resolve issues around special education.


Funding sources and requirements for special education.

Iowa IDEA Information (i3)

The i3 website is a one-stop-shop for procedures, guidance, and resources on early intervention and special education for parents, families, educators, and partner families.

Out-of-State Placement Information

Approved Out-of-State Facilities for Special Education Services - List of the out-of-state facilities approved by the Department of Education to provide special education services for students with disabilities. Out-of-state placement decisions are made by a student's IEP team, the Department of Human Services (DHS) or Juvenile Court Services (JCS).

Parent Information

Links to information for families and parents about special education programs and services.

Programs and Services

Special education support for students with disabilities is provided through special education services and programs.

Public Reporting

The most recent applications, policies, and reports required by IDEA 2004.

Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP)

State Guidance

Information regarding special education topics and issues.