• Special Education 101
    Before a student is referred to a placement team for evaluation, alternative procedures and programs in general education must be explored and, where appropriate, put into place in the classroom and used. School districts have teams in individual schools that provide a variety of alternative strategies for individual student’s teachers to use in the classroom. These teams are sometimes called child study teams, or student assistance teams. If you have concerns, one of the first steps would be to request additional information about your child’s school performance and present intervention status from your school’s team. If your child’s difficulties persist, a change in intervention or additional steps toward special education services may be warranted.

    About Special Education:

    Special education is specially designed instruction and related services that meet the unique needs of an eligible student with a disability. It is intended to allow their access the general curriculum and often these supports occur outside the regular education setting. While not every child with a disability will require special education services, every child whose disability has a significantly adverse effect their school progress (as determined by grades, teacher input, achievement measures etc.) is entitled to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

     To be eligible for special education and related services:
    • Your child must be between 3 and 21 years old;
    • Your child must meet the criteria for one or more of the following disabilities, as determined by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004):
      • Autism
      • Deaf-blindness
      • Deafness
      • Developmental Delay (for 3-to-5-year-olds, inclusive)
      • Emotional Disturbance
      • Hearing Impairment
      • Intellectual Disability
      • Multiple Disabilities
      • Orthopedic Impairment
      • Other Health Impairment
      • Physical Impairment
      • Specific Learning Disability
      • Speech or Language Impairment
      • Traumatic Brain Injury
      • Visual Impairment including blindness
    • The disability must be determined to adversely affect your child's educational performance; and as a result;
    • Your child requires an alternate and individualized, specially designed instructional program to address their unique educational needs which cannot be met satisfactorily within the regular education setting.
    How to Proceed
    If you have a concern about your child's educational progress, please contact your child's teacher and/or school counselor. A Child Study Team meeting may be held, which may include you, your child's teacher(s), the school counselor, the school psychologist, the principal, and any other educational professionals that work with your child. Information concerning your child's behavior, development, academic progress in school, and the results of screenings may be discussed. The Child Study Team will brainstorm ways in which school personnel and you as the parents can support your child's progress and decide whether to refer your child for more in-depth evaluation if a disability is suspected. If you suspect your child has a disability it may be useful to call your child's school psychologist to further discuss your concerns.
    *This information was taken and/or adapted from the Connecticut State Department of Education and Cumberland Valley School District webpages. More information can be found at: http://www.sde.ct.gov and http://www.cvschools.org*