Special Education is provided to students who qualify in one of fourteen areas of disabilities: Deaf-Blind; Emotional Disability; Cognitive Disability; Hearing Loss; Multiple Disabilities; Orthopedic Impairment; Vision Loss; Deafness; Specific Learning Disability; Speech or Language Disorder; Other Health Impaired; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Traumatic Brain Injury; or Developmental Delay.
The purpose of special education is to enable students to successfully develop to their fullest potential by providing a free appropriate public education in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Special education is specially designed instruction, support, and services provided to students with an identified disability (listed above) requiring an individually designed instructional program to meet their unique learning needs.
Before students receive any special education services, they are tested in the areas of suspected disability. When the test results are compiled, a team meets to review and discuss the results and determine eligibility for special education. This team includes the parents, classroom teacher, school administrator and special education teacher. Others may be invited as needed, including parent advocates, medical specialist, counselors, and therapists. This team will determine if the child meets the eligibility criteria and requires a special education program. If the team is in agreement, they will write the program which is called an Individual Education Program (IEP). This document is required for a student to receive special education services.
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is provided to a student who has been determined first to have a disability and, second, to need special education services because of that disability. The IEP, the team that develops it, and what it must contain are governed by Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and amendments to it. The IEP provides information on the child's current levels of performance and directs the special services and supports that are provided to students who have IEPs. It includes provisions for defining annual goals, evaluating progress, and formalizing what is to be a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for the student with the disability. This document is updated annually or when requested by the school district or parents. The testing/evaluation is updated every three years.
For more information, refer to these websites:
http://ldaamerica.org/parents/ for information on Learning Disabilities
http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/Parents-Caregivers-of-Children-with-ADHD.aspx information on ADHD
http://www.nidcd.nih.gov information on Deafness and Communication Disorders
http://www.kidsmentalhealth.org/ information on behavioral and emotional disorders in children
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/ information on Autism Spectrum Disorder
http://www.helpguide.org PRACTICAL TIPS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS AT HOME AND SCHOOL