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Special Education

What is Special Education?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that makes available a free and appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities (birth-21) and ensures special education and related services to those students.  Special education means specially designed instruction and related services provided by the district to meet the unique needs of an eligible child with a disability.  Specially designed instruction means adapting the child’s instruction to meet the needs that result from their disability and ensuring the child has appropriate access to the general education curriculum.  Related services may include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological services, and transportation, depending on the child’s individual needs.

Student Support Services facilitates special education in 4J by locating, evaluating, identifying, and providing services to students with eligible disabilities who attend public, private, charter, or homeschool in the 4J district boundaries.

Who is eligible to receive Special Education services?

There are three key elements to being eligible to receive Special Education services:

  • A child with a disability must meet criteria established in the Oregon regulations related to IDEA. Per these regulations, a student must meet specific criteria in at least one of the following disability categories, based on the results of a comprehensive evaluation conducted by the school district:
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • Communication Disorder
    • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
    • Deafblindness
    • Developmental Delay
    • Emotional Behavior Disorder
    • Intellectual Disability
    • Orthopedic Impairment
    • Other Health Impairment
    • Specific Learning Disability
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Visual Impairment
  • In addition to meeting the criteria for a disability, it must be shown that the disability is having an adverse impact on the child’s developmental or educational performance; and,
  • That the child requires special education services as a result of the disability.

Note: A medical or psychiatric diagnosis does not automatically qualify a student for Special Education services.  However, the district must consider that information when conducting a child’s comprehensive evaluation.

Who refers a student for a Special Education evaluation?

Evaluation referrals may only come from two sources [OAR 581-015-2105(2)]:

  • The student’s parent or guardian, or
  • A public agency, such as a school district, an ESD, or the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Requests cannot be made directly by physicians, psychiatrists, counselors, or other non-education professionals.


Learn more:

Early Childhood CARES (for children younger than kindergarten-age)

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004

Oregon Administrative Rules for Special Education

Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards