Special Education (SPED) is an integral part of the total public school system and provides education in a manner that promotes maximum interaction between students with disabilities and those without disabilities.
Special Education is specially designed instruction which meets the unique needs of individuals with exceptional requirements, whose educational needs cannot be met with modifications to the general education instructional curriculum. In addition, there are related services which may be needed to assist a student.
For a student to be eligible for special education and related services s/he must meet certain criteria that falls within one of the identified disability areas established by the state of California. The following list contains those disabilities: autistic, deaf, deaf/blind, emotionally disturbed, hard of hearing, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedically impaired, other health impaired, specific learning disability, speech and language disorder, traumatic brain injury and visually impaired.
When a teacher is concerned about addressing a student’s needs, s/he develops interventions for the child. Curriculum or student behavior might be modified. If the interventions and modifications are unsuccessful and the student continues to have difficulty a teacher or parent may refer the student to the Student Success Team (SST). The Team is composed of general education staff. The SST will develop additional modifications or accommodations for the student. Modifications and accommodations to the general education program must be documented prior to a referral to Special Education. If the student is assessed for Special Education, the IEP team determines whether or not the student is eligible for special education and if the student needs special education services.
All children who are eligible for special education services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is a written document that describes the child’s needs and the services that will best meet those needs.