Special Education Services support schools' efforts to provide opportunities for ALL students to participate in and benefit from all educational resources. Team members provide technical assistance and leadership to meet the diverse needs of CESA #4 youth including their cultural, emotional, social, health, and educational needs.
Some children who are having problems in school may need extra help through special education. Special education is for children who have a disability. The child must be at least 3 years old, but not yet 21, and not yet graduated from high school. The term includes a person who becomes 21 during the school term for the remainder of the school term (the last day pupils attend in a school year, other than summer classes). The law has criteria for each category below to help IEP teams decide if a child has a disability.
- Cognitive disabilities (CD)
- Hearing impairments (HI)
- Speech or language impairments (SL)
- Visual impairments (VI)
- Emotional behavioral disability (EBD)
- Orthopedic impairments (OI)
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Other health impairments (OHI)
- Specific learning disabilities (SLD)
- Significant developmental delay (SDD)
Special education has a language of its own:
- Assistive Technology (AT) - Any item a child needs to increase, maintain or improve how the child does in school. AT includes low-tech and high-tech items, from a calculator to a computer. AT also can mean services a child needs to help in choosing, getting, or using the item.
- Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) - The IEP Team makes a plan to help prevent problem behaviors. The plan helps a child learn new appropriate behaviors. A positive behavior plan is not a list of punishments. The plan uses information from a functional behavioral assessment.
- CESA - Cooperative Educational Service Agency. An agency that provides special education and other services to schools. Schools buy services from a CESA, but the school is still responsible for the services.
- Consent - The parent tells the school in writing the parent understands and agrees to what the school plans to do. The consent form says the parent understands consent is voluntary, and the parent can take it back at any time before the school does what it plans to do. Parents can revoke the consent, but it does not cancel what the LEA has already done.
- DPI – Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the state agency that oversees LEAs.
- Evaluation - When a professional gathers information about a child to decide if the child qualifies for special education or the kind and amount of services the child needs. Evaluation can be testing, observing, or talking to people who work with the child.
- Evaluation Report - The IEP team gathers all evaluation information about a child who is being evaluated. They work together to write a final report about the evaluation. The report includes whether the child qualifies for special education.
- FAPE - Free Appropriate Public Education. LEAs are required to provide FAPE for all children enrolled in special education in that district.
- Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) - Every child who is eligible for special education must receive a FAPE which means the school cannot charge for the child’s education, and that education must enable the child to be involved in, and make progress in, the general education curriculum.
- Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) - The IEP Team finds out what makes the child keep doing problem behaviors and how to help the child learn how to behave differently.
- General education curriculum - What children without disabilities learn in the regular education classroom.
- Home-based schooling - Parents choose to teach their child at home instead of sending their child to school to learn basic subjects.
- Homebound schooling: When the child’s IEP Team decides it is appropriate, the school teaches a child at home. The IEP Team’s decision must be based on the child’s needs.
- IEP team - Individualized Education Program Team is a group of school staff, parents, and others that either the school staff or parents choose to include.
- Individualized Education Program (IEP) - The plan developed by the child’s IEP team which indicates the child’s annual goals, and specifies the special education and related services which the child will receive.
- Itinerant instruction - Instruction that is provided by staff traveling to multiple schools or school districts and offer services in such areas as Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Orientation and Mobility, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, etc.
- LEA - Local Education Agency or the school district.
- LEA Representative - A person on the IEP Team who has knowledge about, and can commit, the school’s resources so that the child receives the IEP services. All IEP meetings must have an LEA representative.
- Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) - LRE is a concept referring to the extent of removal of a child from education with children who do not have disabilities as little as possible.
- Placement - The child’s setting (regular class, resource room, self-contained class), and the school building the child attends, for receiving special education.
- Related Services: Things a child may need to benefit from special education. They are included in the IEP. Examples of related services are occupational therapy and physical therapy.
- Special Education: Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. The services are provided at no cost to the parents. The services can be provided in many different settings.
- Supplementary Aids and Services: Services and supports provided in regular education classes and other settings to help a child with a disability be educated with children who do not have disabilities as much as is appropriate.
- Transition - Transition is the term for preparing a child for life after high school. Transition planning is a required part of every child’s IEP starting at age 14. Transition planning is also required for every child moving from Birth to Three Programs to a school’s Early Childhood special education. Sometimes transition planning happens when a child moves from one grade to the next, or one school to the next. Transition can also mean moving from one class to the next class in school.
- Wisconsin Alternate Assessment - State guidelines for testing children with disabilities who cannot take the regular required state tests
Excerpt from “Special Education in Plain Language,” Wisconsin DPI