ADA vs IDEA: Difference and Comparison

The law is a crucial concept around the globe and was created to ensure harmony and peace within a state and between countries.

Legislators introduce many laws to make life more livable for both people and animals on the planet Earth. Furthermore, lawbreakers’ punishments are also specified in the law book.

Although the term law predates the Vedic period, it has the main power.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are both laws designed to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities.

So that no one may abuse or discriminate against them, and they are treated equally in their respective areas. Let’s further understand them in detail.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. At the same time, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that ensures special education services for children with disabilities.
  2. ADA applies to various settings, including employment, public services, and transportation, while IDEA specifically focuses on educating children with disabilities.
  3. ADA requires reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, while IDEA mandates an individualized education program tailored to a child’s unique needs.


ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is an education law that provides free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible children with disabilities.

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The Americans with Disabilities Act is abbreviated as ADA. In 1990, this act became a civil rights law, protecting all of the rights of differently-abled people in the workplace.

In both the public and private sectors, this law emphasizes that disabled individuals should have the same opportunities as normal people.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed in 1975 and ultimately became law in 2004 after 30 years.

This law, which applies to special children aged 3 to 21, provides that disabled children should have the same access to free and appropriate education as other children.

This law keeps a close eye on the state and determines if it is adhering to the IDEA’s regulations.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonADAIDEA
Full-FormThe Americans with Disabilities Act is a full form of ADA.Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is the full name of IDEA.
PurposeTo secure employment rights of special people in the private and public sectors.To provide education to disabled children similar to the normal ones.
Became LawIn 1990.In 2004 after a few amendments.
Age GroupAnybody disabled person who is eligible for occupation. Benefits are available to differently-abled children between the ages of three and twenty-one.
Applicable ToPeople who have problems in walking, speaking, hearing, seeing, working, and breathing.Children with hearing loss, autism, speech challenges, mental disabilities, and blindness are eligible for this law.

What is ADA?

 ADA is an acronym for the American Disabilities Act, which became a civil rights statute in 1990 under President George H.W. Bush in the United States.

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This law was passed under five different titles to protect the rights of people with disabilities in the workplace.

According to Title 1, disabled persons should have the same employment possibilities as others.

Furthermore, employers with at least fifteen employees are entitled to provide accommodations for disabled employees.

Title 2 of the United States Department of Justice forbids discrimination against differently-abled persons at work.

According to Title 3, such facilities should be available in businesses catering to the needs of differently-abled employees and disabled customers.

Under Title 4, Federation Communication Commission states the laws for telecommunication companies to provide special facilities for people with hearing and speech impairment,

and under Title 5, other provisions related to insurance and the illegal use of drugs are stated.

People with disabilities such as walking, hearing, working, breathing, and seeing are entitled to employment in the public and commercial sectors without discrimination under the ADA.

To receive ADA benefits, disabled people must present necessary medical evidence to the firm to which they are applying.

Disabled people who have experienced discrimination at work can file a complaint by following the regulations outlined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

What is IDEA?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted as legislation in 2004, with modifications. President Gerald Ford signed the bill into law in 1975. This law allows children with exceptional needs to attend school.

By getting an education in good institutions, all special children (toddlers, teenagers, and adults) can benefit from this law.

This law ensures that all children have equal access to education for a brighter future while simultaneously lowering the illiteracy rate is also an aim of authorities.

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Furthermore, the government ensures that schools and other educational institutions meet all of IDEA’s standards and provide equal educational opportunities to differently-abled students.

Depending on the sort of impairment a child has, schools must satisfy the expectations of disabled children.

Aside from providing education, schools must examine impaired pupils regularly to identify the challenges they face while studying.

IDEA has also created an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in which differently-abled children’s annual study records are kept to ensure transparency.

Children who are deaf, dumb, blind, mentally retarded, autistic, or have speech difficulty are entitled to free education under the IDEA law. Authorities engaged with the IDEA statute offer to fund schools and educational institutions.

Main Differences Between ADA and IDEA

  1. The complete name of the ADA is the American Disabilities Act. On the other, the complete name of IDEA law is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  2. The ADA law aims to offer employment to specially-abled people in both sectors. However, the purpose of the IDEA is to provide free education to specially-abled children.
  3. ADA Act was signed under President George H.W. Bush and became law in 1990. On the contrary, the IDEA Act was signed under President Gerald Ford and became law in 2004.
  4. Any disabled person who can do an occupation is eligible to avail the benefits of the American Disabilities Act. In the case of IDEA, specially-abled children whose ages are between 3 and 21 years are eligible for the study.
  5. Employers do not receive any money for offering work to disabled people. On the other hand, government funds are allocated to schools and other educational institutions to provide free education to disabled students.

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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2 thoughts on “ADA vs IDEA: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The existing laws seem to have a big difference for people with disabilities. It’s imperative to keep regulamenting about equality and education for them. Both laws seem effective in their purposes.

  2. The American Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are great examples of laws that make the world more humane. Their differences are insightful and very useful for people to understand more about it.


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