What is Special Education?
Special education services are instructional programs and support services available to school-aged children who have been identified as eligible and in need of specially designed instruction by a Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation (MDE) and an Individual Education Program (IEP) team. These services are mandated by federal and state law and are provided at no cost to students who qualify with one or more of the following exceptionalities:
- Deaf - Blindness
- Emotional Disturbance
- Hearing Impairment
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairment
- Specific Learning Disability
- Speech or Language Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment including Blindness
For additional information or requests for special services please contact the building principal, guidance counselor or the Director of Special Education.
How do I know if my child is eligible and in need of special education services?
The district conducts ongoing child-find activities for the purpose of identifying students who may be in need of special education and related services. In addition, parents and teachers who suspect a child may need services can make a referral to the Child Study Team (CST) to explore regular education supports and classroom modifications. Multi-disciplinary Evaluations (MDE) follow for those not making sufficient progress with CST supports. Parents can also directly request a multi-disciplinary evaluation regardless of whether their child attends public, private or parochial school.
What is a Multi-disciplinary Evaluation (MDE)?
A Multi-disciplinary evaluation consists of information provided by parents and school personnel, classroom observations, a review of available records from school or outside agencies or providers, and assessments by specialists as needed (e.g. school psychologist, OT/PT or speech therapists, consulting psychiatrist). Results are summarized in an Evaluation Report (ER) which discusses eligibility, need and recommendations for special services.
What is an Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting?
If the student is eligible and in need of special education, an IEP meeting is held with team members (parents, school personnel, specialists, etc.) to review the Evaluation findings and to develop an Individual Education Plan. The IEP team determines the instructional program, level of intervention, goals, objectives, related services and specially designed instruction.
What special education services are provided?
The district operates Gifted Support, Learning Support, and Speech and Language Support programs. We contract with the Colonial Intermediate Unit (Colonial IU) for Hearing and Vision Support services, and with private occupational and physical therapists and behavior consultants. Most services are provided within the school district. In some cases, arrangements are made for students to attend classes in neighboring districts, Colonial IU schools or Approved Private special education Schools as per decisions by the IEP team. Services and the transportation to them are paid for by Saucon Valley School District.
How are parents/guardians involved in the process?
Parents/ guardians are an integral part of all phases of special education. Parent/ guardian permission is required to conduct initial and reevaluations and your approval is needed to implement an IEP. You are a member of the MDE and IEP teams, are invited to annual IEP meetings and are encouraged to maintain close contact with your child's teacher and support staff. Parents can also request meetings to review their child's IEP or re-evaluations to assess the appropriateness of his/her educational program at any time.
What about confidentiality?
All information gathered about your child is subject to confidentiality provisions contained in federal and state law. The district has policies and procedures in effect to ensure these rights and access to educational records. Procedural safeguard notices describing special education rights and due process are provided to parents throughout the MDE/IEP process.
Services for Handicapped Students
What are services for protected handicapped students?
In compliance with state (Chapter 15) and federal (Section 504) law, the district provides services, related aids or reasonable accommodations needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the school program and extracurricular activities. In order to qualify, a child must have a physical or mental disability which substantially limits a major life activity. If an evaluation and subsequent parent/school team determine that a child is eligible, a service agreement, noting reasonable accommodations in regular education, is developed. (These services and protections are distinct from those applicable to students in special education.)