For questions regarding special education please contact Assistant Superintendent Christie Holderman at email@example.com or 717-436-2111, ext. 5001. For records request or special education questions, please contact Susan Hackenberger, Special Education Secretary, at 717-436-2111, extension 5003 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Categories of Exceptionality
The following definitions apply to 13 categories of exceptionality as defined by IDEA:
Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 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 experiences. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance.
Deaf-Blindess means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
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.
Emotional Disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:(i) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.(ii) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.(iii) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.(iv) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
(v) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
Hearing Impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.
Intellectual Disability means significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Multiple Disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.
Orthopedic Impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), 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-(i) 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, and sickle cell anemia; and(ii) Adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
“Specific Learning Impairment”
Specific Learning Impairment 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.(i) Disorders not included. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
“Speech or Language Impairment”
Speech or Language Impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a 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.
Including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.Special education services are provided according to the primary educational needs of the child, not the category of disability. The types of services available are
1. Learning support, for students who primarily need assistance with the acquisition of academic skills
2. Life skills support, for students who primarily need assistance with development of skills for independent living
3. Emotional support, for students who primarily need assistance with social or emotional development; deaf or hearing impaired support, for students who primarily need assistance with deafness
4. Blind or visually impaired support, for students who primarily need assistance with blindness
5. Physical support, for students who primarily require physical assistance in the learning environment
6. Autistic support, for students who primarily need assistance in the areas affected by autism spectrum disorders and
7. Multiple disabilities support, for students who primarily need assistance in multiple areas affected by their disabilities
8. Related services are designed to enable the child to participate in or access his or her program of special education.
9. Examples of related services are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing services, audiologist services, counseling, and family training.
The purpose of the Pennsylvania Verbal Behavior Project is to enhance learning and language skills in order to improve the lives of of children with autism and their families.The Juniata County School District was selected to participate in the VB project during the 2007-2008 school year. The program is still used in several elementary life-skills classrooms in the district.For more information, go to: Verbal Behavior Project
“School Based Initiation”
Screening– These activities may include review of group based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records and reports cards; hearing screening, motor screening and speech and language screening occurring throughout the year). Kindergarten screening occurs in May of each year.
Evaluation– When a screening indicates that a child may have a disability, the school will seek parental consent to conduct an evaluation. Starting at the date of the receipt of parental permission, the district has 60 calendar days to complete the process.
“Home Based Initiation”
A parent may request- at any time- that their child receive an evaluation. This request may be in writing or given to the child’s teacher, the school counselor, psychologist or administrator.
“Re-Evaluation Explanation & Clarification”
According to Ch. 14 and IDIEA, a re-evaluation must be conducted every 3 years (in PA every 2 years if identification has been M.R.)A re-evaluation can:
Be a review of records and progress monitoring
Include testing if the child’s teacher or parent determines after the review of data that the child’s educational and service needs, academic achievement or functional performance warrants a re-evaluation (§614(a)(2)).62). A permission to re-evaluate is then issued.
1. Review of Records includes and is written on the form entitled “Re-evaluation Report”:
The Juniata County School District conducts a review of records on all students and completes a re-evaluation report unless a waiver has been requested.
The student’s physical condition (including health, vision, hearing, social or cultural background; and adaptive behavior relevant to student’s need for special education)
Information provided by the parents of the student(or documentation of LEA’s attempts to obtain parent input)
Teacher observations and observations by related service providers, when appropriate
Aptitude and Achievement tests
Current classroom based assessments and local and/or state assessments
Summary of findings includes student’s educational strengths and needs
Summary of findings includes recommendations for consideration by the IEP team regarding additions or modifications to the student’s programs
Students being evaluated for SLD only: documentation that the student does not achieve adequately for age, etc
Students being evaluated for SLD only: Indication of process(es) used to determine eligibility
Students being evaluated for SLD only: Instructional strategies used and student-centered data collected
Students being evaluated for SLD only: Educationally relevant medical findings, if any
Students being evaluated for SLD only: Data demonstrating that regular education instruction was delivered by qualified personnel, including the ESL program, if applicable.
Statement as to whether additional data is needed
Determination of eligibility and specially designed instruction
List of evaluation team members