What is Special Education?
Special Education is specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique 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 special education as determined by a multidisciplinary evaluation team, including the parents.
Multidisciplinary Evaluation Process
- You may request an evaluation for your child in writing 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 Programs
Special education programs operated by the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District are based on the following key principles:
- Collaborative teamwork and systematic problem solving are essential to quality education;
- All members of the school community can teach and learn;
- Varied instructional practices and learning environments can benefit all children;
- Diversity is an asset.
Special Education programs are provided for all exceptionalities through district-run classes, private programs, and programs operated by the Chester County Intermediate Unit. Special education supports and services are provided, to the maximum extent appropriate, within the regular education setting. Examples of these supports and services include instructional and curricular adaptations, alternative assessment, 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 Program (IEP). This means that students with disabilities or giftedness who need special education must receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
FAPE includes related services that helps students get to school and benefit from the special education program. These may include:
- Speech, occupational or physical therapy
- Special transportation
- Assistive technology devices
- 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 Educational Program (IEP) in conjunction with the regular education classroom teacher(s). Additional services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy may be provided to assist each student in participating in the educational program. Progress toward each IEP goal is monitored and reported to families on a quarterly or tri-annual, in elementary, basis.
Important Components in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
- Present Levels~ A statement of the student's current educational performance, including strengths, needs and instructional levels.
- Annual Goals~ Measurable goals addressing the individual learning 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.
Programs Available in T/E
Learning Support Services
For students whose greatest 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 a highly 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.
Extended School Year (ESY) Determination
- ESY must be considered for all students with disabilities
- IEP team must consider the factors below:
- Regression ~ whether the student reverts to a lower level of functioning as a result of an interruption in educational programming.
- Recoupment ~ whether the student has the capacity to recover skills in which regression occurred to a level demonstrated prior to the interruption of educational programming.
- Whether the student's difficulties with regression and recoupment make it unlikely that the student will maintain the skills relevant to the IEP goals.
- The extent to which a skill is particularly crucial for the student to meet the IEP goals for self sufficiency and independence from caretaker.
- The extent to which successive interruptions in educational programming result in a student's withdrawal from the learning process.
- Whether the student's disability is severe, such as autism/pervasive developmental, serious emotional disturbance, severe mental retardation, degenerative impairments with mental involvement and severe multiple disabilities.