WHAT IS SPECIAL EDUCATION?

Special Education services are provided to students with disabilities which impact their ability to learn. Eligible students are provided a free and appropriate educational program in the least restrictive environment. Services are available to identified individuals from age three until a student’s twenty-second birthday who have one or more of the following disability categories: Autism, Communication Impairment, Emotional Impairment, Developmental Delay, Health Impairment, Intellectual  Impairment, Neurological Impairment, Physical Impairment, Sensory Impairment, Specific Learning Disability.

Identification of a disability is not a medical diagnosis, but rather it is a determination that the student’s characteristics are consistent with the criteria of the educational disability category.  Presence of a disability alone does not mean that a student is eligible for special education services.

HOW WILL MY CHILD BE REFERRED FOR AN EVALUATION?

Depending on a student’s age, a student may be referred for an evaluation by the school-based team, Early Intervention, a parent, or any person in a caregiving or professional position.  Once the referral is made, a consent form is provided to parents for signature. Once signed and returned, the evaluations are completed within 30 school days. Students are evaluated in the area(s) of suspected disability. 

HOW IS ELIGIBILITY DETERMINED?

A team meeting will be scheduled within 30–45 school days of receipt of signed consent. At this meeting the team will review the results of all evaluations and consider input from all team members.  The team will consider the following questions:

1. Does the student have a disability?

2. Is the student making effective progress?

3. Is the lack of progress a result of the student’s disability?

4. Does the student require specially designed instruction in order to make effective progress in school or does the student require related services in order to access the general curriculum?

WHAT IF MY CHILD IS ELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES?

If the team determines that your child is eligible,  the team will develop an Individual Education Program (IEP) designed to meet the unique needs of the student.  The IEP will outline the specially designed instruction and/or related services that will be provided. The IEP must be signed by the parent in order to be implemented.