Special Education FAQs

Questions & Answers About Special Education

  1. What programs and services are provided through special education?
  2. How do you get help when an "exceptional need" is suspected?
  3. What education must be provided for the individual with exceptional needs?
  4. What is involved in the evaluation/assessment process?
  5. Is every individual who is evaluated placed in a special education program?
  6. What is an IEP?
  7. Who participates in developing the IEP?
  8. What rights do the parents/guardians have in the decisions that are made about the student?
  9. Where and how will the educational services be provided?
  10. How can parents participate in the review and/or development of special education programs?
  11. What is a SELPA?



What programs and services are provided through special education?

Special education support services may be provided in the general education curriculum or in a separate class and may include related services. Related services include: speech and language therapy, audiology, adapted physical education, physical and occupational therapy, counseling services, specially designed vocational education, and other services that may be identified by the IEP team as necessary for the student to benefit educationally from his or her instructional program.

How do you get help when an "exceptional need" is suspected?

Contact your local school or school district office by mail or telephone. A student study team meeting or district meeting will be scheduled to discuss your student's educational needs.

What education must be provided for the individual with exceptional needs?

Federal and state laws require that all students be provided with an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

What is involved in the evaluation/assessment process?

Assessments are conducted in the areas of suspected disabilities. Qualified professionals observe, interview, and sue testing procedures appropriate for each student. Parental approval is required prior to assessment, and parents will be provided a copy of the assessment results.

Is every individual who is evaluated placed in a special education program?

Individuals identified as having exceptional needs are provided with special education services only after the IEP team has determined eligibility and parental consent for special education has been obtained.

What is an IEP?

An IEP is an "Individualized Education Program." It is a written document that establishes the following for the individual educational needs: present levels of performance, annual goals, placement, support services needed to implement program goals, individuals responsible for support services, supplementary aids and services needed to complete the prescribed course of study, including physical education as appropriate. For students 16 years of age and older, the IEP also contains transition goals and services.

Who participates in developing the IEP?

The IEP team may be comprised of special and general education teachers, support staff, local education agency (LEA) representative, and parents. The team meets to determine the services best suited to the needs of the student. The student will also be invited to attend, if appropriate. In particular, students 16 years of age and older must be invited to participate in their IEP team meetings whenever transition services will be discussed.

What rights do the parents/guardian have in the decisions that are made about the student?

The parents/guardians have the right to participate in the decisions made by the IEP team and to give informed written consent before the IEP is implemented.

Where and how will the educational services be provided?

It is the policy of the SELPA that, to the maximum extent possible, students with exceptional needs will be educated with students who do not have exceptional needs. Special schools and classes are available within the SELPA region in the event that it is not possible to provide specialized educational services at the student's school of residence. The location of services is determined at the IEP meeting.

How can parents participate in the review and/or development of special education programs?

The SELPA Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is comprised of parents, students, teachers, paraeducators, education specialists, agencies, and individuals with exceptional needs who are working toward the most appropriate education for special needs individuals. CAC meetings are held four times per school year.

What is a SELPA?

The acronym SELPA refers to the Special Education Local Plan Area. SELPAs are dedicated to the believe that all students can learn and that special needs students must be guaranteed equal opportunity to become contributing members of society. SELPAs facilitate high quality educational programs and services for special needs students and training for parents and educators. The SELPA collaborates with county agencies and school districts to develop and maintain healthy and enriching environments in which special needs students and families can live and succeed.

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