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Referrals, Evaluations and IEPs

Defining Disability

Approximately 12 percent of all children have mental, physical, speech-language, emotional and/or learning disabilities that hinder them from being successful in the general education curriculum without additional support(s). In describing a child as disabled, the emphasis should not be on their disabilities, but rather on their abilities. Therefore, to the maximum extent possible, each student receives services in the least restrictive environment, predominantly in the regular education classroom, thus allowing the student access to a free appropriate public education.

 

Referrals for special education are made through the child’s home school. Students who attend a private school within the school districts boundary may request services by contacting the Special Services Department at 495-3770.

To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, ages 3 through 21, will be educated with children who are non-disabled. Special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular education environment will occur only when the nature and severity of the disability is such that education in a regular classroom with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be satisfactorily achieved. The determination of the least restrictive environment (LRE) is a team decision and the child’s parent is a vital member of that team.

Before a child can be placed in a special education program, the student must first have received continuous quality instruction in the regular classroom environment coupled with scientific, research-based interventions for those students who continue to struggle in the regular classroom environment.  This is known as the "Response to Intervention" (RtI) problem solving model. A psycho-educational evaluation may be completed by a qualified examiner if and when additional data is needed during the eligibility/placement process to determine eligibility for disability categories other than a Specific Learning Disability. Special education eligibility is determined by a multi-disciplinary team that follows very specific eligibility criteria for each of the thirteen disability categories. Upon an eligibility determination an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) must be written jointly by the parents and school personnel in a team meeting. The purpose of the IEP is to:

  •   Provide for parental involvement in educational decisions
  •   Protect the rights of parents and children
  •   Assure that each child with a disability is provided special education and related services appropriate to his or her special learning needs.

The IEP is reviewed at a minimum of once a year.

Early identification of children with significant developmental delays begins in the public schools at the age of 3. If you have concerns about your preschooler’s development, contact Wendy Hagy, Putnam City Special Services, 495-3770.