The term special education means specially designed instruction, special classes, programs and services, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.
Under federal and state statutes, children requiring special education are those children who have one or more of the following disabilities, which adversely affect their educational performance and who require specially designed instruction:
- hearing impaired
- learning disabled
- intellectually disabled
- orthopedically impaired
- other health impaired
- emotionally disturbed
- speech/language impaired
- visually impaired/blind
- traumatic brain injury
- developmentally delayed (infants and preschool age)
Special education is available to preschool children who have attained the age of three years and whose degree and type of disability, based on the evaluation by the Planning and Placement Team, is such that the absence of special education will impair the child's educational development to the extent that it is unlikely that the child will be able to make satisfactory educational progress when the child attains school age.
Under state statutes, school districts are required to identify gifted and talented students. However, programming for such students is optional and left to the discretion of each local board of education.