Special Education Eligibility Criteria
What makes a child eligible for Special Education Services?
Children who have a disability and meet specific eligibility criteria may qualify for special education under one of the following areas:
· Emotional Disturbance
· Hearing Impairment
· Intellectual Disability
· Multiple Disabilities
· Orthopedic Impairment
· Other Health Impairment
· Specific Learning Disability
· Language or Speech Disorder
· Traumatic Brain Injury
· Visual Impairment, including Blindness
· Established Medical Disability (0-5 years)
What do I do if my child is determined to be eligible for Special Education Services?
Once it is determined that your child is eligible for Special Education Services, the team will develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a plan for the services and supports that are to be provided to your child in order to help him/her be successful in school. Each plan is individualized and requires the input of many people. The IEP team consists of parents / guardians, teachers, administrators, and may include other related service providers such as speech and language pathologists.
The most important thing you can do once your child is determined eligible for special education services is to participate in the IEP meetings. IEP meetings are held at least once a year to review progress, identify needs, plan for services, and propose goals. Reassessment of your child is conducted every three years and results are discussed by the IEP team at your child’s tri-annual IEP meeting.
What other help is available if my child exhibits evidence of a disability, but does not meet Special Education eligibility criteria?
If the IEP Team determines that your child does not meet eligibility requirements for Special Education at this time the team will usually give you recommendations that may support your child within the general education classroom. Sometimes a student who does not meet the Special Education eligibility requirement, (i.e., the student’s disability did not significantly affect the student’s ability to learn) may qualify for services or accommodations under Section 504. Students who qualify under Section 504 are not required to have a written IEP document, but may receive accommodations to assist them in the classroom.
Section 504 is a civil rights statute designed to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities, which states: “No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States, shall, solely, by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance… “
How are special education services provided to my child once they are determined to be eligible for Special Education Services AND have an IEP?
Many things are considered when making decisions about how special education services are provided to your child. The IEP team, including you, will make this decision based on your child’s needs and always keeping least restrictive environment (LRE) in mind.
The least restrictive environment (LRE) means that your child will be educated to the maximum extent appropriate in the general education setting with other children who do not have exceptional needs. To the extent appropriate, the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Special Education department utilizes an inclusion model (link to inclusion model) in delivering special education services whereby to the extent appropriate, students with learning, developmental, or other disabilities learn side by side with students in general education classes.
Some children need more supports than can be provided through an inclusion model. There is a full continuum of options available to children within pasadena unified school district. Your child’s placement is based on the information contained in his or her IEP.
A list of some of the program options follows, beginning with the least restrictive environment and continuing to the most restrictive environments:
- General education class/es
- General education class/es with consultation
- General education class/es with related services
- General education class/es and specialized academic instruction
- General education class/es and special day class
- Special day class/es
- Special schools/centers
- Non-public schools
- Public/non-public school with dual enrollment
- Home or hospital instruction
- Residential Treatment Centers