Special Education Services
Special education services are available to meet the unique learning needs of eligible students. The District collects data on students to determine if there are any academic, social, or emotional concerns present. A Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is used to provide students extra support and services to work towards meeting grade level expectations. Throughout the MTSS process, intervention data is regularly collected and reviewed by the team. To access the MTSS Parent Guide, click here.
In some cases a student may not demonstrate adequate progress in the MTSS process and the team will meet with the parents to determine next steps. The next steps could include a change or adjustment of the current interventions or possibly determine the need for a special education evaluation.
The special education evaluation is a collaborative process between the parent and school team. The materials below assist in explaining the process:
- The IEP Process Flowchart
- Video vignettes
In some cases, students may not be eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), but may qualify for accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Students who may qualify under 504 must meet eligibility guidelines of:
- Having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
- Has a record of physical or mental impairment; OR
- Is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment
Please consult with the student's Building Principal regarding further information on eligibility for a 504 plan. Additional information can be found in a parent presentation given on September 17, 2019 as well as a parent manual.
When students are identified as eligible for special education services, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed for the areas of need. The Individual Education Plan (IEP) includes the following major components:
- Present Levels of Educational Performance (includes a summary of a student's levels of performance in areas of need)
- Goals and Objectives/Benchmarks (goals are identified for areas requiring specially designed instruction that have an adverse effect on a student's learning)
- Educational Accommodations (specifies supports the student needs in order to make progress towards their goals and to access the general education curriculum)
- Assessment Accommodations (specifies supports needed in order for the student to perform to their best ability on assessments)
- Services and Placement (specifies the type of special education services the student requires). Special education services may include, but is not limited to the following: instruction from a special education teacher, speech/language services, occupational therapy services, physical therapy services, and social work services
- Extended School Year (ESY) (recommendation for the student to continue instruction during the summer period to maintain skills)
Continuum of Services for Students with Disabilities
When determining services, the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is considered. The Least Restrictive Environment ensures that students with disabilities are educated to the maximum extent possible with students who are not disabled. Therefore, the continuum of services chart above is fluid where students may access different learning environments throughout the day (i.e. general education, general education with support, and resource services).
District program services include:
- Special Education Teachers
- Instructional Services-- Students who need academic or collaborative services with related services staff for a majority of the day (over 50%) or need a replacement curriculum, may be served by an instructional teacher who primarily provides pull-out services (in a special education classroom).
- Resource Services -- Students who need academic support for less than the majority of the day, may receive push-in or co-teaching services (within a general education environment) or pull-out services from a resource teacher.
- Vision Itinerants-- Services for students with impaired vision, including special teaching, equipment, and supplies, needed for the student to develop to his or her educational potential are provided through an agreement with Des Plaines District 62.
- Hearing Itinerants--Services for students who are deaf and hard of hearing are provided through an agreement with the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization (NSSEO), including diagnosis, instruction, supervisory case management, student and parent support services, professional growth activities and collaborative/consultative services.
- Specialized Programs -- D64 has begun to create specialized programs within the district thereby providing necessary services and supports within our school buildings.
- The Structured Learning Community (SLC) program provides a rigorous, structured, and predictable environment to address the academic, social, communication, sensory, and emotional needs of students who display characteristics associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Outplacement -- Placement in a specialized setting is made when a student’s needs cannot be adequately met in the public school setting. These placements are made locally in both public day and state-approved private day facilities.
- Home/Hospital Instruction-- Students who experience medical conditions that will warrant their non-attendance in a school setting for a minimum of 10 days and provide medical certification for an approved provider, may receive services within the home or hospital setting.
- Residential Services-- Students who experience difficulty within a school and community setting with involvement from social service agencies, may be recommended for a residential program in which the student resides in that setting.
- Students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired may be eligible to receive services from the Illinois School for the Deaf (Jacksonville) or the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (Jacksonville) which are state-run residential services within Illinois and do not require difficulty in a community setting or involvement from social service agencies.
Related Services are also provided to supplement all levels of service. These may include the following:
- Speech and Language Services -- Students who exhibit delays in articulation, expressive and/or receptive language skills, vocabulary, fluency, and/or vocal difference deficits that have an adverse effect on student performance may be eligible to receive speech and language therapy services.
- Physical/Occupational Therapy -- Students who have educational needs related to sensory regulation and gross and fine motor skills may be eligible to receive physical or occupational therapy services.
- Social Work/Counseling -- All schools have social workers on staff to support the social emotional well-being of all students in general and special education through group, individual, and consultative services.
The District also has other services to assist teams in supporting students (not recognized as related services):
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) -- The BCBA aims to support teams by assessing, developing, and providing training on individualized behavior reduction strategies. This includes, but is not limited to: functional behavioral assessments, behavior intervention plans, and positive behavior approaches designed to extinguish inappropriate behaviors within the classroom environment. BCBAs provide case consultation services for maladaptive behaviors and skill acquisition targets for students.
- Assistive Technology (AT) Specialist -- The AT Specialist works directly in general and special education environments to support students and staff in the full continuum of communication and technology interventions, tools and devices. The AT Specialist also functions as a diagnostic team member and provides ongoing technical assistance.
- Intervention Coach -- The Intervention Coach works with interventionists and special education teachers to train and support them as they work to implement, with fidelity, District-identified curriculum, strategies and programs.
- School Psychologists -- School psychologists provide diagnostic information about individual students including their intelligence levels, learning styles, and personality patterns. They also confer with parents and teachers to interpret test results and offer recommendations for follow up.
- School Nurses -- Each school has a nurse that will assist in meeting individual student medical needs
The District receives Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) federal funds. A “proportionate share” amount of those funds is used to support students with disabilities in homeschool, private or parochial schools within the District 64 attendance area. The District also performs “Child Find” services for those students who are homeschooled or are enrolled in private/parochial schools within the District 64 boundaries. For more information on the provision of special education services to students who are enrolled in homeschool or private/parochial schools, please reach out to Dr. Lea Anne Frost or contact the Building Principal at the private/parochial school.