I think my child may need special help in school.What is special education?
Special education is instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of children who have disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives eligible children with disabilities the right to receive special services and assistance at school. Special education is instruction that is specially designed:
What is a disability? Under IDEA, a child may not be identified as having a disability just because the child speaks a language other than English or does not speak English well. A child also may not be identified as having a disability just because he or she has not had enough instruction in reading or math.
To meet the child's unique needs (that result from having a disability); and
To help the child learn the information and skills that other children are learning.
The IDEA lists 13 different disability categories under which a child may be eligible for services. The disability must also affect the child's performance to the extent that special education services are required. The disability categories listed in IDEA are:
- Emotional disturbance
- Hearing impairment (including deafness)
- Mental retardation
- Multiple disabilities
- Orthopedic impairment
- Other health impairment
- Specific learning disability
- Traumatic brain injury
- Visual impairment (including blindness)
How do I find out if my child is eligible for special education?
The first step to finding out if a child has a disability is to contact your child's school. Referral to special education is a part of BISD's overall general education referral or screening system. Prior to referral to special education, students should be considered for all support services available to other students, such as tutorial, remedial, compensatory or other services. If the student continues to experience difficulty, the student will be referred for a full special education evaluation.
What happens during an evaluation?
Before the school can evaluate your child, the school must ask for the parent's informed written permission. An evaluation must be comprehensive and must address all areas where your child may be affected by the possible disability. The school will collect information from many people and in different ways. Tests are an important part of an evaluation, but they are only a part. The school will also collect information regarding the child's medical history, language acquisition and development, intelligence and academic levels, and significant emotional/behavior concerns (if any).
What happens after the testing is completed?
The information gathered from the evaluation will be used to make important decisions about your child's education. You will be invited to attend an Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meeting to determine if your child is eligible for services, and to determine the nature of services if special education services are needed. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed to describe the type and amount of services that the child needs.
How can I help support my child's learning?
Let your child's teacher(s) know that you want to be involved in your child's educational program. Make sure that the teacher is notified of any significant medical problems that your child may be having, or any significant experiences that may be affecting the child's education. Review your child's work at home with him, and talk with the teacher about ways to best help him at home. Remember that you and the school both want success for your child, and working together is the best way to make this happen.
Where can I go for further information?
If you have a problem, or desire further information, contact the school that your child attends. If you feel that you still need additional assistance, contact the BISD Special Education Office at (817) 547-5740.If you have any questions, please contact Fred Shafer, Interim Director, at ( 817) 547-5740