Special Populations

Special Education Services and Programs


Children with disabilities from age three to twenty-one may be eligible for special education services. Children of school age, who are eligible for special education service, usually receive their services in the public school. Preschool children may receive their services through our Discovery Preschool at Blythe-Bower Elementary. Students with disabilities who attend private or religiously affiliated schools and home-schooled students may be eligible for special education services if eligibility is met.

Child Find

“Child Find” is the term used for the process of locating, identifying, and evaluating children and youth who may be in need of special education services. A referral may be made by anyone who suspects that a child has a disability or a delay in development. A student is deemed eligible for special education services if assessment results indicate the presence of a disability.

IDEA/Procedural Safeguards

The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) reauthorization states that the purpose of the law is as follows:

    1. to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living;
    2. to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected;
    3. to assist States, localities, educational service agencies, and Federal agencies to provide for the education of all children with disabilities;
  1. to assist States in the implementation of a statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families;
  2. to ensure that educators and parents have the necessary tools to improve educational results for children with disabilities by supporting system improvement activities; coordinated research and personnel preparation; coordinated technical assistance, dissemination, and support; and technology development and media services; and
  3. to assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.

With the release of the final regulations of IDEA 2004, local education agencies are no longer required to follow the discrepancy model, but are allowed to find other ways to determine when a child needs extra help. This is being implemented throughout the country through a process called Response to Instruction and Intervention.


Parent Information

Teacher Information


Office of Student Services and Special Education – 472-9571

David Stone,Supervisor of Special Populations (ext. 2012)

Janice Blair,Administrative Assistant

Jenna Loveday,School Psychologist

Melissa Freeman,School Psychologist

Joel Cilio,School Psychologist

Miriam Anderson,Service Support Specialist

Christy Fretwell,Service Support Specialist

Jacqueline Smith, Service Support Specialist

Kerry O'Connor, Behavior Interventionist

State Board of Education Rule 0520-1-9-.01 (15) (i) “Disabilities”

  • Autism

    • “Autism” means a developmental disability, which significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three (3), that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with Autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experience. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an Emotional Disturbance, as defined in this section.
  • Deafness

    • “Deafness” means a Hearing Impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
  • Hearing Impairment

    • “Hearing Impairment” means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but does not include Deafness.
  • Developmental Delay

    • “Developmental Delay” refers to children aged 3 through 9 who are experiencing delays, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical, cognitive, communication, social or emotional, or adaptive development that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other disability categories shall be used if they are more descriptive of a young child’s strengths and needs. Local school systems have the option of using Developmental Delay as a disability category.
  • Emotional Disturbance

    • “Emotional Disturbance” means a child or youth who exhibits one (1) or more of the characteristics as listed in the state adopted eligibility criteria over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
  • Functionally Delayed

    • “Functionally Delayed” means a child who has or develops a continuing disability in intellectual functioning and achievement which significantly affects the ability to think and/or act in the general school program, but who is functioning socially at or near a level appropriate to his/her chronological age.
  • Intellectual Disability

    • “Intellectual Disability” means substantial limitations in present levels of functioning that adversely affect a child’s educational performance. It is characterized by significantly impaired intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period.
  • Intellectually Gifted

    • “Intellectually Gifted” refers to having intellectual abilities and potential for achievement so outstanding that special provisions are required to meet the child’s educational needs.
  • Multiple Disabilities

    • “Multiple Disabilities” means concomitant impairments (such as Mental Retardation-Blindness, Mental Retardation-Orthopedic Impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated by addressing only one of the impairments. The term does not include Deaf-Blindness.
  • Orthopedic/Physical Impairment

    • “Orthopedic/Physical Impairment” means a severe Orthopedic Impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g. club foot, absence of some member), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).
  • Other Health Impairment

    • “Other Health Impairment” means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention-deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia; and adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
  • Specific Learning Disability

    • “Specific Learning Disability” means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
  • Speech or Language Impairment

    • “Speech or Language Impairment” means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

    • “Traumatic Brain Injury” means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
  • Visual Impairment Including Blindness

    • “Visual Impairment Including Blindness” means impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness

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