Practice Note:  Special Education is a service – not a place

This principle is often a matter of confusion to both parents and school staff.  There is an almost automatic reflex to think of special education as involving a special class or school.  This is not only inaccurate, but it violates the legal principal which holds that to the greatest extent possible, special education services should be delivered in the same class with non-disabled children.

In reality a child may be eligible under IDEA, without placement in a special education class, as long as the child requires “specially designed instruction.”  34 C.F.R. § 300.26.  Some examples might be a positive behavior support plan, sensory diet, social skills training or social stories, organizational aides, counseling, social work services, work planner assistance, study skills classes, etc.

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