Special Education Defined

Special education is specially designed instruction developed to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability whose educational needs cannot be met without significant modification to the general instructional program. Disabilities include: Mental Retardation, Speech and Language Impairment, Orthopedic Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Autism, Hard of Hearing, Visual Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Deaf-Blindness, Traumatic Brain Injury, Deafness, Emotional Disturbance, Established Medical Disability, Multiple Disability. Special education services can begin at birth and continue, if needed, up to 22 years of age for students who qualify according to laws and regulations outlined by the federal and state governments and whose parents give their written consent to such services. Special education services may be offered in a variety of ways and in a variety of settings.
Special education programs are subject to federal and state laws, regulations, policies and guidance. The most important laws governing the education of students with disabilities include: 
    The Americans with Disabilities Act
    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Parent rights are covered in-depth within each local school district’s Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Notice of Procedural Safeguards. Special education is an integral and dynamic part of the total public education system and provides education in a manner that promotes maximum interaction between students with disabilities and students without disabilities, in a manner that is appropriate to the educational needs of both.