A few notable changes to the IDEA law could help psychologists working in schools, says Ron Palomares, PhD, APA's assistant executive director for policy and advocacy in the schools, including:

  • Paperwork reduction. IDEA creates a new program that will allow 15 states to launch pilot plans to reduce excessive procedural paperwork. States will submit proposals for paperwork reductions plans to the Department of Education, and the secretary of education will waive some paperwork requirements for the 15 selected states, which will use the plans during a trial period of up to four years. The program offers practitioners an excellent opportunity to get involved at the state level by offering suggestions for an effective paperwork reduction plan, Palomares says.

  • E-mail notification. The new IDEA law allows psychologists in limited cases to notify parents of meetings, such as those for a child's individualized educational plan, via e-mail. Parents must elect to receive notifications this way. Typically, psychologists must send written notices to parents about upcoming meetings. The change aims to benefit psychologists and school staff as well as parents by expediting the paperwork process, Palomares says.