What are special education services and who qualifies for services?
Most students do not require special education services, as the majority of classes are tailored to meet the needs of the general student population. Special education services are services provided to students with unique learning needs, and who may require additional classroom support. These services are tailored to the needs of individual students who have special needs. Some services may include:
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Consultant teacher services
- Education in a special class under the direction of a special education teacher
In order to qualify for special education services, a student must have a documented disability that negatively impacts his or her ability to learn in school. A psychological evaluation conducted by a school psychologist is often utilized to help determine the need for special education services.
What is a School Psychologist?
The role of School Psychologists is to work with students who may have a variety of academic, social, or emotional concerns. School psychologists help students in a variety of ways, and often collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals. Some of the typical responsibilities of school psychologists include:
- Conducting psychological evaluations (for new referrals and triennial reviews)
- Participating in the Committee on Special Education process
- Conducting parent conferences/meetings
- Consulting with teachers and staff regarding students
- Initiating academic and behavioral interventions
- Participating in the pre-referral Student Support Team process
What is the Committee on Special Education? (CSE)
Members of the Committee on Special Education work as a team and are responsible for reviewing referrals, arranging for evaluations and recommending programs and services for children and adolescents with disabilities. Teachers, parents, and other professionals involved in providing services to the student assist the committee in making decisions about a child’s strengths, appropriate programs and services, and placement to meet the child’s unique needs. Some people who may participate in the committee are:
· Parent of the child
· General education teacher
· Special education teacher
· School Psychologist
· Chair of the Committee on Special Education
· Other special education service providers
· The student (when appropriate)
What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?
Students who qualify for special education are given an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which describes the types of services that will be utilized to help meet the educational needs of the student. The Committee on Special Education (CSE) develops the IEP based on the evaluation conducted and the needs of the student.