Special Education Department » About Us

About Us

What is special education?


Special Education is a set of services provided to students who experience exceptional learning needs. In 1974, the US Congress passed, and President Ford signed, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, since amended as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Thus, was born the framework for schools to provide “specifically designed instruction at no cost to parents, to mee the unique needs of a child with a disability”.


Who is eligible for special education services?


Every student is entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). In order to be eligible for special education services, the student must meet the three following criteria, as determined by a multidisciplinary team:

  1. The student has a disability.
  2. The student’s disability adversely affects positive educational outcomes.
  3. The student’s unique needs cannot be addressed through the general education setting alone, with or without individual accommodations, and requires specially designed instruction (SDI).

Eligibility is based on the completion of a comprehensive initial evaluation, led by the school psychologist. This evaluation includes all existing data gathered about the student through the referral process and any additional assessments needed to determine whether a student is eligible for special education. The initial evaluation report is used to determine what special education and related services the student needs.


Once a student is determined eligible for special education services, an Individual Educational Program (IEP) is developed by the multidisciplinary team for the student based on their individual needs. The parents, administrator, school psychologist, general and special education teachers, student, and other service providers (i.e., speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, etc.) are members of the multidisciplinary team involved in the development of the IEP. The provision is to provide the student with educational services in the least restrictive environment (LRE).


A full continuum of services exists and is based on student need. This continuum refers not only to the type of services but the manner in which services are provided.


  • Non-Public
  • State and County Schools
  • Special Day Classes (more than 50% of the day)
  • Resource Specialist Program (less than 50% of the day)
  • Regular Programs with Designated Instructional Services such as: Language, Audiological Services, Visually Handicapped Services, Orientation, and Mobility Home and Hospital
  • Occupational and Physical Therapy
  • Nursing Services
  • Regular Programs with Modifications, Special Materials, and Services


For information, please contact our Special Education Department at (951) 654-6113.