Special Education Process

Watch our new series of short Navigating Special Education webinars! Module 1 (5 minutes): Overview and Referral; Module 2 (5 minutes): Evaluation and Eligibility; Module 3 (7 minutes): Individualized Education Program; and Module 4 (8 minutes): Procedural Safeguards.

The special education process begins when a student is referred for an initial special education evaluation to determine if he/she is eligible for special education and related services. When the evaluation is complete, the evaluation and planning team (EPT), which includes the parents, determines whether the student is eligible for special education.  There is a basic Special Education Process under IDEA 2004. If a student is found eligible for special education, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will be convened to write an IEP. The IEP is reviewed at least once a year, and special education reevaluations are conducted at least once every three years.

Special education curriculum is specifically designed instruction that cannot be provided within the school’s standard instructional conditions or through the school’s educational support system. Specially designed instruction (SDI) adapts content, methodology, or delivery of instructions, as appropriate, to address the unique needs of the eligible child that result from the child’s disability. SDI also ensures the child’s access to the general curriculum. Special education rules (as defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) provide for a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) of children, youth, and young adults between the ages of 3 and 21.

Meeting requirements for special education is a three-step process, disability does not mean eligibility. Three specific criteria are used to determine special education eligibility: (1) the presence of a disability, (2) the extent to which the disability is having an adverse effect in the basic skill area(s), and (3) whether or not the student’s need is significant enough to require specialized instruction.

To learn more about eligibility requirements for special education, visit the Vermont Special Education Rules.

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