Special Education Services
Special Education is based on the acknowledgement that all children can learn and have a right to a free and appropriate education. The public school system is responsible for providing educational service for all students identified with educational disabilities ages 3 through 21 or until they receive a high school diploma in the least restrictive environment in accordance with federal and state laws. Additionally, the school system must identify those children from birth to three years of age who have educationally disabling conditions.
Appropriate services, which correspond to a student’s ability, are provided to the greatest extent in the company of non-disabled peers. Some of the possible services available to students with an educational disability are classroom accommodations and modifications, specialized individualized instruction with a special education certified teacher or related service professional (OT, Speech, PT), vision services, emotional/behavioral support and counseling, consultation with regular classroom teachers, resource room instruction, and self-contained classrooms. Homebound education services are available for students unable to attend school for health and/or emotional reasons. Those students, for whom the nature of their disability is so severe as to warrant a more restrictive environment than the public school, are placed in out-of-district facilities providing specialized instruction. It is the responsibility of the local district to work with the out-of-district program to ensure that the student receives educational services as outlined in the Individual Education Plan in the least restrictive environment possible and whenever possible, facilitate a transition back to the local school district.
The provision of special education services by the school district requires attendance to the procedures outlined in this manual. Students who may be eligible for services include those whose education is impacted by a: visual impairment, hearing impairment, cognitively impairment, learning disability, emotionally disturbance, physically disability, health impairment, speech/language impairment, multiple-disabilities, traumatic brain injury, autism or developmental delay.
A team review of progress and services is required no less than once per year. It is essential that all personnel who work with the student and parents provide input at these IEP reviews in order to appropriately plan services for each student. In addition, at least every three years, an evaluation occurs to determine if the student continues to be a student with an educational disability who requires specialized instruction. If the student has made progress and the educational disability no longer requires specialized instruction, the student may be discharged from special education.
While federal and state laws require parental involvement, beyond the law, the key to successful provision of special education services is the efforts schools and parents make to work together on behalf of the student. Communication and collaboration are essential to the school – parent – student relationship and student achievement.
Revised: December 2016