To qualify for special education services, a child must have a disability. A disability is defined as a lifelong handicapping condition often associated with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, including education.
The child must meet State eligibility criteria in one or more of the following areas:
• Speech or Language Impairment
• Developmental Cognitive Disability: Mild-Moderate
• Developmental Cognitive Disability: Severe-Profound
• Physical Impairment
• Deaf/ Hard of Hearing
• Visual Impairment
• Specific Learning Disability
• Emotional or Behavioral Disorder
• Other Health Disability
• Autism Spectrum Disorders
• Developmental Delay (Birth to Age 7)
• Traumatic Brain Injury
• Severe Multiple Impairments
. . .
An evaluation is used to document the existence of a disability. Below average academic performance alone does not qualify a student for special education.
Categorical Disabilities (Minnesota Department of Education)
Receiving Special Education Services
The school will conduct an evaluation to determine your child’s areas of need (such as reading, math and written language). With your input, goals will be written to improve the areas of need identified. These goals will be written on a document called an Individual Educational Program (IEP)/ Interagency Individual Intervention Plan (IIIP). Specialized instruction may be provided in the areas of need. Special education areas of need may include:
- Math Skills
- Social Skills
- Self-help skills
- Motor Skills
- Transition skills
- Organizational Skills
- Related Services*
*Related services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, DAPE, etc. are provided if it is determined the child would not be able to meet their instructional goals without this service.
*Related services cannot be provided unless the student is already receiving a special education service in a disability area, such as a learning disability. The related service is only provided if the student requires the service in order to make progress on IEP/IIIP goals.
What to expect if your child receives Special Education Services?
Parents should expect to participate as a team member in decisions regarding their child’s special education program. Your child should receive instruction that has been individualized to meet the specific needs of your child. Special education instructors will work with regular education teachers to provide the appropriate accommodations and modifications within the regular education setting. Modifications and accommodations can include such things as highlighted textbooks, shortened assignments, class notes, as well as other aids to assist students to succeed in school.