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What is Special Education?


Purpose:  "To ensure that all students with disabilities have available to them a free and appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living..." - Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004

Definition:  A student is eligible foe special education in Vermont id they meet the following three criteria:

1.  The student has a disability:  developmental delay (age 3 thru 5), learning impairment, specific learning disability, visual impairment, deafness or being hard of hearing, speech or language impairment, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, emotioanl disturbance, autism, traumatic brain injury, deaf-blindness, and multiple-disabilities.    

If the student has a disability , continue to next step.  If not, the student should be referred to EST.

2.  The disability results in an adverse effect on the studnet's educational performance in one or more of the basic skill areas.

Basic Skill Areas:

Oral expression

Written expression

Reading expression

Mathematics reasoning

Listening comprehension

Basic reading skills

Mathematics calculation

Motor skills

Functional skills

If the student's disability has an adverse effect on his/her education, continue to the next step.  If not, refer for 504 consideration.

3.  The student needs special education services to benefit from his / her educational programs and this support cannot be provided through the educational support system (ESS), standard instructional conditions ore supplementary aids and services provided in the school.

If yes, the student is eligible for special education.  If not, refer for 504 consideration.

What does this mean for students?

  • A team process involving people knowledgeable about the student, general education curriculum, disabilities and the provision of special education and related services
  • A comprehensive evaluation, and re-evaluation at least every 3 years
  • An Individualized Education Plan (IEP), that is reviewed at least annually, and may include accommodations to access education
  • Parental Rights and Safeguards

What does this mean for staff?

  • A forum to strategize and develop programs for helping students
  • Abroad range of expertise including related service personnel
  • Collaboration with special educators
  • Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that includes present levels of performance, annual goals, specific special education services and , if applicable, related services and accommodations
  • Evaluation of the student's progress towards annual goals