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SDI Is Required by IDEA


Updated June 21, 2014

Students writing on chalkboard with teacher
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Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) for children with disabilities is a requirement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal law governing special education programs. SDI refers to the teaching strategies and methods used by teachers to instruct students with learning disabilities and other types of learning disorders.

To develop appropriate specially designed instruction for each learning disabled student, educators and parents work together to analyze student work, evaluation information, and any other available data to determine the student's strengths and weaknesses. Based on that student's unique learning needs, strategies are developed. Teachers continue to measure students' progress and make changes in instruction as needed.

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Also Known As: special instruction, individualization, differentiated instruction

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, every student's Individual Education Program must include several elements, including a description of specially designed instruction.

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