SPECIAL EDUCATION

Special education is a broad term that refers to specially designed instruction that meets the unique needs of a child with a disability. Special education provides support to children who need assistance in a variety of developmental areas. Services can include instruction in the classroom, at home or in hospitals and can range from a specific program or class for the child to access to specialists and modifications in the educational program such as in curriculum or teaching methods. The type of service varies based on the child’s needs, as educational disabilities can range from mild to severe and can include mental, physical, behavioral and emotional disabilities.

“She is a tree of life for those who hold fast to her, and happy are those who support her.”

Pirkei Avot - Ethics of the Fathers 3:18

IEPs & Public Schools

A child’s special education curriculum is part of his/her Individualized Education Program (IEP). In order for a child to qualify for services, he/she must have met at least one of 13 categories of special education proven to adversely affect his/her educational performance.

In public schools, special education services are free. The Federal law, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires that children be offered Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). One feature of an appropriate education is that it is provided in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) in which a student can progress with appropriate supports.

Getting Started

If you suspect your child may need special education services, the first step is to get him/her evaluated. You can request this free evaluation through your school district. If the evaluation reveals that your child does not have one of the qualifying disabilities, he/she may still qualify for services under Section 504 of the American Disabilities Act of 1973.

It is important for parents that their child receives an appropriate education. Please refer to the Department of Education: Exceptional Student Education online for additional information.

Broward County Public Schools Exceptional Student Learning Support
Serves more than 32,000 students with disabilities and offers a free and appropriate public education in compliance with the federally mandated IDEA. A continuum of services and programs are available to meet the individual needs of students, ages 3 to 22, who are eligible for special education and related services. This continuum of services may be provided in a variety of settings, which include general education classrooms, resource rooms, specialized day schools and hospital homebound. Eligible students are provided supports and/or services as per their Individual Education Plan (IEP) that are based on each child’s unique needs, as related to their present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.

Quick Links

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children. https://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/idea/

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
If you have a child with a disability, your child is entitled to FAPE – a free appropriate public education, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). What does this mean? In a nutshell, FAPE is an individualized educational program that is designed to meet the child’s unique needs and from which the child receives educational benefit, and prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living.

504 Plans
What Is a 504 Plan? 504 plans are formal plans that schools develop to give kids with disabilities the supports they need. These plans prevent discrimination and protect the rights of kids with disabilities in school. 504 Plans are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which is a civil rights law.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)
The IEP, Individualized Education Plan, is a written document that’s developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. The IEP is created through a team effort and reviewed at least once a year. Before an IEP can be written, your child must be eligible for special education. By federal law, a multidisciplinary team must determine that (1) he/she’s a child with a disability and (2) he/she requires special education and related services to benefit from the general education program.

0.5M
Americans Live With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
0%
of Children Have Been Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability
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