Special Education Services
Special education services are available to meet the unique learning needs of eligible students. The District uses universal screeners for all students to determine if there are any academic or social emotional concerns present. A Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is used to provide students identified by the screeners extra supports and services to bring performance levels to those of their peers. In some cases schools may choose to do an evaluation to determine if a student is eligible for special education services. If found eligible for special education, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed and implemented.
Services provided under special education in the District include:
- Instructional and Resource Services – When students are identified as eligible for special education services, academic, social emotional, motor, health, and speech /language learning needs are identified, goals are written, and services determined. When determining services and placement in classes, the least restrictive environment (LRE) is considered. We believe that the LRE for most students is the general education classroom. Some students, however, require more support from a special education teacher for their identified areas of deficit. When a student is in the general education class for the majority of the day, we describe the special education services as a "resource" level of support. For those students who require special education services for a majority of their school day, we describe the special education services as an "instructional" level of support.
Related Services are also provided to supplement Resource and Instructional levels of service. These may include the following:
- Speech and Language Services – Speech and language therapy services are provided for eligible students.
- Physical/Occupational Therapy – Physical and/or occupational therapy are provided for special education students whose gross and fine motor impairments have a documented educational impact. Students with sensory regulation needs may also benefit from service. Physical therapy is also based on a school based evaluation, but also requires a prescription from an outside licensed medical examiner.
- Early Childhood Diagnostic Team and Early Childhood Program – A team based at Jefferson School provides diagnostic services to 3- and 4-year-old children to determine their need and eligibility for special education programs and services. Children found eligible are provided service at Jefferson in Blended Classrooms and an instructional classroom. The Blended classes are made up of students with special needs and tuition-paying community students. The Early Childhood program also provides itinerant speech services to eligible students.
- Vision and Hearing Services -- 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. 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. Students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired may be eligible to receive services from the Illinois School for the Deaf or the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired.
- 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.
- 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.
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) – The BCBA aims to support their teams by assessing, developing, and 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.
- Private/Parochial Services – Students attending private or parochial schools within the District 64 attendance area may be eligible for special education evaluation and support services.
- Out of District Placements – Placement in a specialized setting is made when a student in special education has identified needs that cannot be met in the public school setting. These placements are made in both public day and state-approved private day facilities within the Chicago area.
District 64 provides services 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 Administrator regarding further information on becoming eligible for a 504 plan. Additional information is also found in a presentation given to parents on September 17, 2019 as well as a parent manual.