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Special Ed and Related Services

What is Special Education? 

Special education is an individualized approach to teaching and supporting students with disabilities or unique learning needs. It encompasses a wide range of educational strategies, techniques, and resources designed to ensure that students with disabilities receive a quality education that meets their specific needs. 

Special education services are governed by federal and state laws, most notably the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These laws ensure that students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) tailored to their needs. 

Types of Disabilities and Eligibility: 

To qualify for special education services, a student must meet three criteria.  

  1. Have a recognized disability  
  2. Disability adversely affects their educational performance.  
  3. Require specially designed instruction  

Disabilities can include: 

  • Learning disabilities 

  • Autism spectrum disorders 

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 

  • Speech and language disorders 

  • Physical disabilities 

  • Sensory impairments (visual or hearing impairments) 

  • Emotional and behavioral disorders 

Special Education Services

Special education services are individualized services provided based on an Individual Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is a legally binding document developed for each student eligible for special education services. It outlines the student's unique needs, goals, services, and accommodations required to support their educational progress. Parents, teachers, and specialists collaborate to create and implement the IEP. 

IEP services may include: 

  • Specialized instruction and curriculum modifications 

  • Classroom accommodations and support 

  • Assistive technology 

  • Speech therapy 

  • Occupational therapy 

  • Physical therapy 

  • Behavioral intervention and support 

  • Transition services for post-school success 

  • Parent and teacher collaboration 

Related Services

Related services are essential components of special education, provided to address specific needs associated with a student's disability. These services may include: 

  • Speech and language therapy to improve communication skills 

  • Occupational therapy to enhance fine motor skills and daily living activities 

  • Physical therapy to address mobility and physical challenges 

  • Counseling services to support emotional and social well-being 

  • Adaptive equipment and assistive technology to promote independence