The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted into law to ensure that children with disabilities, including students with communication disorders, have access to a free appropriate public education. More than 6.5 million children in our nation’s schools are entitled to IDEA-covered services. Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth–2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C, and children and youth (3–21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.
When IDEA was passed, Congress determined that federal funding should represent 40% of the average per-pupil expenditure in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States, and a plan was developed to increase funding every year until that goal was met. As of 2021, total federal funding still represents less than 15% of the per-pupil expenditure.
Many of the audiology and speech-language pathology services provided to children with disabilities qualify under IDEA Parts C or B. However, continued static funding from the federal government impacts members’ ability to provide appropriate and timely services. Without considerable funding from states to make up the difference, students would not be able to receive the services they need and deserve. The additional funding that states must provide leaves less money to recruit and retain educational audiologists and speech-language pathologists in schools, keep salaries competitive, and hire additional staff.
When states are unable to recruit and retain qualified professionals, the remaining staff are expected to assume additional caseload and workload responsibilities (such as an increase in the number of students), perform assessments, develop individualized education programs (IEPs), and complete paperwork.
Looking for information on IDEA regulations? Learn more about the statute and its impact on the services you provide.
ASHA advocates for IDEA funding to be increased annually until the federal expenditures reach authorized levels. Much of this works centers around its annual appropriations request from Congress.
See ASHA's full list of comments, letters, and testimonies.