IDEA Manual

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About the IDEA Manual

The IDEA Manual is designed to help you become familiar with the requirements of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Texas law so you can act as an equal partner in planning your child’s education. You will learn, by using this comprehensive manual and by working with school staff, how to plan an educational program that will lead to an independent and productive life for your child and yourself. The manual includes:

  • A list of words and acronyms you need to know
  • Details on each step of the special education process from evaluation to graduation
  • Ways for you to stay involved
  • Sample letters and forms
  • Parent checklists
  • And more

This version of the IDEA Manual was updated in July 2022 and reflects changes from the 2021 Texas legislative session.

Get the IDEA Manual

The IDEA Manual is available as a PDF that can be:

  • viewed in a web browser,
  • downloaded and viewed in Adobe Acrobat, and/or
  • printed.

Download the IDEA Manual (PDF)

Parents who are unable to print a copy can request one by submitting a Contact Us Form. If a parent cannot submit an online request for the manual, he or she can call 512-454-4816 and ask for Nora or leave her a message. Parents who use sign language can call our video phone to request the manual: 1-866-362-2851.

Special education advocates or school personnel who want multiple copies can also complete our Contact Us Form. (Limit is 5.)

To request parts of the manual in ASL, Braille, or as an audio file, please submit a Contact Us Form.

Support This Work

The IDEA Manual was developed through a partnership between Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) and The Arc of Texas. If you find the manual to be helpful, please consider making a donation to the nonprofit organizations that created it.

Stay Up to Date

The IDEA Manual is updated periodically. To get notified via email or text when the next edition of the IDEA Manual is available, subscribe to DRTx’s Special Education Updates.


Download IDEA Manual


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