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Special Education

Special Education Overview

Under existing law, school districts must provide to all students a Free Appropriate Public Education (commonly referred to as ““FAPE””) to all children, including children with “disabilities”.

Children with disabilities are “identified” by category of disability through an evaluation. The categories of disability are:

  • Developmentally delayed
  • Seriously behaviorally disabled
  • Communication disordered
  • Orthopedically impaired
  • Health impaired
  • Specific learning disability
  • Mental retardation
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Deafness Hearing impairment
  • Visually impaired/blindness
  • Deaf/blindness
  • Autism
  • Traumatic brain injury

If your child is demonstrating the characteristics of any one of these disabilities the school district to which he or she belongs must fashion an education program to meet the special needs of your child. The goal is to have your child complete his or her education in as “normal” an atmosphere and setting as possible.

If you have any concerns that your child is in need of special education assistance, you have the right to request a meeting with your child’s teachers, principal, and related school personnel in order to determine what is the best course of instruction for your child.

Ideally, both you and the school district together will develop an Individual Education Program (IEP) that will address in an ongoing fashion the special needs of your child. However, since we do not live in an ideal world, there is often conflict in this process. If you are unable to reach an agreement as to how your child’s educational challenges should be addressed, you have the right to a special hearing called a Due Process Hearing. The Due Process Hearing allows you to challenge the particular education program that the school recommends if you do not believe that the educational program is appropriate for your child.