Who May Receive Special Education Services?
August 01, 2012
The federal government, through legislation entitled Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), states that a child with a disability means a school age child who has been evaluated and determined to have one of the following disabilities that adversely affects the child's educational performance and who therefore needs special education and related services. The disabilities include: a cognitive disability (mental retardation), a hearing impairment including deafness, a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment including blindness, an emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, a traumatic brain injury, another health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities.
The law also requires public schools to provide services to preschool age students (ages 3-5) with disabilities if they are at least three years of age and not age six, have a disability demonstrated by a documented deficit in one or more areas of development, which has an adverse effect upon normal development and functioning.
A multifactored evaluation team (MFE) makes the final disability determination. If a student is identified as a student with a disability, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is written by the IEP team. The team consists of parents, teachers, administrators and other service providers. The IEP documents the student's needs and goals and objectives that address those needs. The IEP also documents where the goals and objectives will be taught. This is called the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) and could involve a variety of placements.