Who Is Eligible to Receive Special Education Services?

Children are eligible to receive special education and related services when the IEP team determines that the child meets state and federal eligibility criteria and requires special education services. Not all children with special needs require special education services. There are fourteen categories of eligibility for special education:

  • Intellectual disability (formerly known as mental retardation)
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Hard of hearing
  • Orthopedic impairments
  • Autism
  • Deafness
  • Other health impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Speech and language impairment
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Established medical disability (0 - 5 years)
  • Vision impairment
  • Deaf/blindness  
Most students are served through district programs, including Resource Specialist Programs, Special Day Classes, and Designate Instruction and Services (DIS). Some students, whose needs cannot be met in district programs, are served in either county or non-public school programs.

Referral and Identification

If you suspect your child may have a disability and would like to have him/her assessed, please contact the school psychologist at your son's/daughter’s home school. You also have the option of putting the request for assessment in writing and notifying the Special Education Department or the school principal. Within 15 days of the receipt of the request for assessment, the district will provide an assessment plan outlining the proposed assessments or a Prior Written Notice outlining the reasons for denying the request for evaluation. Upon written approval of the assessment plan, the district has 60 days to complete the assessment and conduct an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) team meeting to determine eligibility for services. Parents are equal members of the IEP team. If it is determined by the IEP team that the student qualifies for special education services, an IEP will be developed and implemented.

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