Federal and state regulations guide and govern the educational needs of eligible students with disabilities in Rhode Island.

Federal Special Education Law and Regulations

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004 is the federal law that requires states to serve the educational needs of eligible students with disabilities, including developmental delays. Part B of IDEA lays out the educational guidelines for children 3-21 years of age, including the preschool section (Section 619) that applies to children ages 3 through 5.  The corresponding regulations necessary to implement the law were released on August 3, 2006. Learn more about IDEA statute and the associated regulations.

Rhode Island Special Education Regulations

Rhode Island established state regulations for implementing IDEA. The 2013 Rhode Island Regulations Governing the Education of Children with Disabilities have been designed to:

  • To ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique need and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living;
  • To ensure the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected;
  • To assist state agencies, local education agencies, education service agencies, Federal agencies, educational collaboratives, and other public agencies to provide for the education of all children with disabilities; and
  • To assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.

The RIDE Office of Student, Community and Academic Supports (OSCAS) oversees these state regulations.


For more information on Early Childhood Special Education, contact your district level Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Coordinator or select from the following sections: