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Special Education

Referral for Special Education

If a child is experiencing learning difficulties, the parent may contact their child's campus to learn about the district's overall general education referral or screening system for support services.  This system links students to a variety of support options, including referral for a special education evaluation.  Students having difficulty in the regular classroom should be considered for tutorial, compensatory, and other academic or behavior support services that are available to all students including a process based on Response to Intervention (RtI).  The implementation of RtI has the potential to have a positive impact on the ability of districts to meet the needs of all struggling students.

At any time, a parent is entitled to request an evaluation for special education services.  Within a reasonable amount of time, the district must decide if the evaluation is needed.  If the evaluation is needed, the parent will be notified and asked to provide informed written consent for the evaluation.  The district must complete the evaluation and the report within 60 calendar days of the date the district receives the written consent.  The district must give a copy of the evaluation report to the parent.

If the district determines that the evaluation is not needed, the district will provide the parent with prior written notice that explains why the child will not be evaluated.  This written notice will include a statement that informs the parents of their rights, if they disagree with the district.  The district is required to give parents the Notice of Procedural Safeguards -- Rights of Parents of Students with Disabilities.  Additional information regarding the IDEA is available from the school district in a companion document A Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process.

Federal law requires parental consent for, and completion of, an appropriate evaluation to determine if a child may have a disability and the individual educational needs the child may have as a result of that disability. 

Who is a Child with a Disability?

The term child with a disability is defined to mean a child with certain conditions who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services. §300.8(a)(1)

What is Special Education? 

Special education is defined by federal law as specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. §300.39(a)(1)

What is Specially Designed Instruction?

Specially Designed Instruction means adapting the content, methodology or delivery of instruction, as appropriate to the meet the needs of an eligible student.  By doing so the unique needs of the child that result from the child's disability can be addressed.  This also ensures access to general curriculum for this student so that he can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all students.  This is an assurance of least restrictive environment (LRE).  §300.39(b)(3)

What is Educational Need?

An Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee reviews the full and individual evaluation and determines:

  1. Whether or not a student meets the definition of a child with a disability under federal and state law  (visual impairment; auditory impairment; deaf-blindness; autism; emotional disturbance; intellectual disability; orthopedic impairment; other health impairment;  learning disability; speech Impairment; traumatic brain injury; non-categorical early childhood); and

  2. How that disability affects the child's education. Educational need may be evidenced in: academics, behavior, socialization, communication, life and/or vocational skills

  3. And, if eligible, determines appropriate special education and related services to meet the child's educational needs arising from the disability within the least restrictive environment

Related Services

Related services are available to support an eligible student's special education. Therefore, a student must qualify for special education in order to receive related services (as noted above).

Further information may be obtained by contacting your child's school and/or the Special Education Office at or 817-215-0075.