Special Education

For questions regarding special education please contact Assistant Superintendent Christie Holderman at cholderman@jcsdk12.org or 717-436-2111, ext. 5032. 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 shackenberger@jcsdk12.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

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

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

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

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

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.

Visual Impairment

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.

Verbal Behavior

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.


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 June 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

  • Be waived

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.

  • Demographic data

  • 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

  • Teacher Recommendations

  • 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

2. Testing for re-evaluation:
If additional data is needed after the review of records is completed, then a permission to re-evaluate is issued for parent to sign and then testing is initiated. There are 60 calendar days of which this process is to occur which must be before the anniversary date of the IEP. This testing is conducted by the psychologist, unless otherwise indicated.
The additional data is added into the section on the re-evaluation report, a determination of eligibility determined and signatures of participating members obtained

3. Waiver of re-evaluation
Team determines that a re-evaluation is not necessary and creates an agreement to waive reevaluation to place in the student file

Reason reevaluation is not necessary at this time is included

Individualized Education Plan

The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a document that describes the current educational levels, goals, objectives and the specialized programs and services a student will receive.A team consisting of parents, educators, and others who work with the student, meets to determine what services may be needed.IEPs are reviewed on an annual basis. The IEP team will make decisions about the type of services, the level of intervention, and the location of intervention.

The Team Meeting

First, there may be many people present. Each person will introduce themselves and tell the reason why they are present at the meeting. The meeting may include your child’s teacher, the principal, the psychologist, the speech-language pathologist, the learning support teacher, or other qualified individuals who may be able to assist in making decisions so your child received FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education)

Next, the team will discuss the results of the evaluation. The team will consider the results of the evaluation and write a written evaluation report. The report will provide a determination that the child either qualifies as a child with a disability and requires specially designed instruction/supports or does not qualify.

Finally, if your child qualifies for specially designed instruction, an IEP (individualized education plan) must be developed by the team. This team will include you (as the parent), the regular education teacher, the special education teacher and the local education agency representative, who is usually the principal or vice principal.