What is Special Education?
Special Education is specially designed instruction to meet the needs of a child with a disability.
Does My Child Need Special Education?
Your child may be eligible for special education if your child:
- Has a physical, sensory, mental or emotional disability and
- Needs specially designed instruction as determined by a multidisciplinary evaluation team.
Multidisciplinary Evaluation Process:
- You may request in writing an evaluation for your child at any time.
- The school may also request permission to evaluate your child. Your informed consent in writing is required before the District can conduct the evaluation.
- You will receive a written Evaluation Report describing your child's educational strengths and needs, and whether your child is eligible for special education services.
- If your child is eligible for services, you and school personnel will develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Special Education/Evaluation Timeline to see a flow chart of the evaluation and IEP processes.
Special Education Programs:
Special education programs faciliated by Antietam School District are based on the following key principles:
- Collaborative teamwork and systematic problem solving by and with the members of the IEP Team are essential to quality education;
- All students can learn;
- Varied instructional practices and learning environments can benefit all children;
- Diversity in the classroom, building, district and community is an asset.
Special education programs are provided for all exceptionalities through district-run classes and, as determined, other available resources and agencies. Special education supports and services are provided to the maximum extend appropriate within the regular education setting. Examples of these supports and services include instructional and curricular adaptations, alternative assessments, course modifications and adult assistance.
Under Pennsylvania and federal law, exceptional children have a right to special education and related services that are provided:
- At public expense
- Under public supervision and direction
- Without charge to eligible preschool, elementary or secondary school students and
- In conformity with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This means that students with disabilities or giftedness who need special education must receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
FAPE includes related services that help students get to school and benefit from special education programming. These may include:
- Speech, occupational or physical therapy
- Special transportation
- Assistive technology
- Other services which help or support students as they grow and learn
When the presence of a disability is known or suspected, a comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE) is conducted to determine the nature and degree of the student's needs. An MDE includes a review of all testing and assessments that were conducted, information from the parents, classroom observations and the observations of teachers and related personnel.
Family members and school personnel develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in conjunction with the regular education classroom teacher(s). Additional services may be provided to assist each student in participating in the educational program. Progress toward each IEP goal is monitored and reported to families as written in the IEP. At a minimum, progress is reported on a quarterly, or tri-annual in the case of elementary, basis.
Important Components of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP):
Present Levels - statement of the student's current educational performance, including strengths, needs and instructional levels.
Annual Goals - Measurable goals addressing the individual learning and/or behavior needs of the student; each goal describes the progress that can be reasonably expected within a twelve month period.
Specially Designed Instruction - A list of strategies the IEP team will implement to adapt, as appropriate, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the student that result from the disability and to provide access to the general education curriculum.
Related Services - Services that a child needs in order to make progress on IEP goals, such as adaptive physical education, counseling, extended school year, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social skills groups, speech and language therapy.
Placement - A description of the type, frequency, duration, and location of support the student requires in order to make meaningful progress on IEP goals; the placement reflects the learning environment where the student will have maximum interaction with non-disabled peers.
Services Available to students with disabilities in the Antietam School District
Learning Support Services: For students whose need is in academic areas such as reading and math.
- Specially designed instruction in a small group setting;
- modified instructional schedule depending on the student's needs.
Emotional Support Services:
For students who have decreased motivation to learn, learning differences, difficulty maintaining positive interactions, depression and/or anxiety, school phobia or school avoidance.
- Specially designed instruction in a small group setting, modified instructional schedule to minimize transitions during the school day, mental health support, counseling, and social skills instruction.
Speech & Language Services:
For students who have speech and/or language impairments that impact educational performance.
- Individual and/or group sessions with a focus on articulation, fluency, language or voice.
For students with diagnosis on the autism spectrum who require specialized program to meet their unique needs
Life Skills Support:
For students who require a program emphasizing the development of functional academic, work and living skills.