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Special Education

Special Education

Child with a disability
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines students with disabilities as those children, ages three (3) to twenty-one (21), who have been properly evaluated as having Mental Retardation, Hearing Impairments and Deafness, Speech or Language Impairments, Visual Impairments including Blindness, Emotional Disturbance, Orthopedic Impairments, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, Other Health Impaired, a Specific Learning Disability, Deaf Blindness, or Multiple Disabilities and, who because of that disability, require special education and related services. As allowed under 34 CFR 300.87 implementing IDEA, the State of Missouri also defines a child with a disability to include ages three (3) through five (5) who have been properly identified as a young child with a developmental delay. Early Childhood Special Education services are provided in all areas of the state.  If a district's size or resources does not make it feasible to provide services to meet the unique needs of all students in their district through salaried personnel, they may choose to contract with private agencies, individuals, or other school districts to make available appropriate services.

Where possible and appropriate, services are provided in the environment where the child typically spends his/her day (community child care facilities, Head Start, Title I or school district preschool programs, etc.), but some children may require services that are provided in a group setting primarily designed for children with disabilities.  Services may be provided to children on a one-on-one basis, in small groups, or in a classroom setting.  Providers of special education and related services also provide consultation to assist general education teachers, paraprofessionals and caregivers in addressing the child's special education needs.


Eligibility Determination

Beginning with the 2001-2002 school year, school districts had the option of identifying a child as eligible under the category of Young Child with a Developmental Delay (YCDD) or under one of the other eligibility categories that have been historically used for children ages Kindergarten to 21.  In order to be eligible under the YCDD category, the child's development must be at or below 1.5 standard deviations or equivalent levels, of the mean in any two areas of development, or at or below 2.0 standard deviations or equivalent levels in one area of development, and the child must need special education and related services.  Areas of development that can be used to determine eligibility include physical, cognitive, communication, social/emotional or adaptive.


The State Performance Plan, required by the U.S.  Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), includes an indicator that addresses early childhood outcomes (ECO).  This requirement is designed to gather performance data for young children receiving services through Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Districts and SPOEs were to begin assessing all children entering and exiting First Steps and ECSE programs in fall 2006.

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