What is Special Education?
Special education programming focuses on specially designed instruction that addresses children's individual needs and differences. Assessing, planning instruction, and monitoring progress is completed by a team of teachers who work with the child. It is each child's team responsibility to consider their abilities that will help them be successful and independent in compliance with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) through the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
How Does a Child Receive Special Education Services?
When a child is unsuccessful with interventions in the Response to Intervention (RtI) system, they are referred for an initial special education evaluation to determine if they are eligible for specialized instruction addressing their needs. To qualify for special education services, the child must have a disability. A comprehensive evaluation determines the existence of a disability, below average performance does not qualify a child for special education services. The school conducts a comprehensive evaluation to determine the child's needs. Based on their overall performance, the team determines if a child is eligible or ineligible for special education services. When a child qualifies for special education, the team develops an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that specifically identifies how the student's areas of need will be addressed through the development of goals and objectives. The IEP team meets annually to continually change their goals and objectives based on their present levels of performance. A child is comprehensively evaluated every three years.
The child must meet Minnesota criteria in one or more of the following areas. Minnesota Statue (Chapter 2535 of Minnesota Administrative Rules):
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Deaf-Blindness (DB)
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH)
- Developmental Cognitive Disability (DCD)
- Developmental Delay (DD) (ages 3 through 6)
- Emotional or Behavioral Disorders (EBD)
- Other Health Disabilities (OHD)
- Physical Impaired (PI)
- Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
- Speech or Language Impairments (SPL)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Special Education Resources and Information
- Arc Minnesota-Advocacy and support for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
- Autism Society of America
- Council for Exceptional Children-International professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or gifted.
- Minnesota Council for Exceptional Children
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004
- Minnesota Department of Education: Learning Support Special Education
- PACER Center-Parent Advocacy coalition for educational rights.
- Infinitec-Promotes independence and inclusive opportunities for children and adults through technology.