Guidance for Families about Special Education Services
Students determined eligible to receive special education services must, based on a comprehensive evaluation—data gathered from a variety of sources-- meet all three of the following criteria:
- The student must have a disability or disabilities
- The student's disability(ies) adversely affects educational performance
- The student’s unique needs cannot be addressed through education in general education classes alone- -- with or without individual accommodations. This means a student requires specially designed instruction. (Specially designed instruction is organized and planned instructional activities which adapt as appropriate, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs that result from a student’s disability.)
Key points to keep in mind:
- Disability alone does not qualify a student for special education services.
- While a student's medical providers can provide relevant information for the evaluation or IEP team to consider, doctors don't determine a student's eligibility for special education services.
Qualifying disability categories under IDEA 2004
Eligibility criteria for each of the thirteen qualifying disability categories under federal special education law (fourteen categories, before the students turns nine years old).