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  • Who provides special education?
    Under Federal law, a “State educational agency ” is responsible for ensuring that all educational
    programs in the state for children with disabilities meet federal educational standards. 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1413(a)(1); 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1412(a)(11); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.149.

    In Indiana, the DOE (Department of Education), division of special education is the state educational agency responsible for the general supervision of all special education programs, as specified in IC 20 – 18 – 2 – 9 and IC 20- 35.

  • Who is in charge of Indiana’s Special Education?
    Special education programs in Indiana are
    governed by both federal and state law.

    • In most instances, state law will mirror federal law.
    • In others, it may provide greater or more specific protections than federal law, but in no circumstances may state provisions limit the protections offered under federal law.
    • Under both federal and state law, school districts must provide each student with a disability with a free appropriate public education (FAPE).


  • Who is eligible for special education?
    Children with a qualifying disability in need of specialized educational services in order to benefit from their education are entitled to receive special education and related service.

    Eligible disabilities include:
    • mental retardation;
    • hearing impairments (including deafness);
    • speech or language impairments;
    • visual impairments (including blindness);
    • serious emotional disturbance;
    • orthopedic impairment;
    • autism;
    • traumatic brain injury;
    • other health impairments;
    • specific learning disabilities;
    • developmental delay.
    A child may have a medical diagnosis for a disability which may still not qualify him or her for special education.

    • “ E ligibility ”, for special education and related services, means that:
    • A student’s CCC (Case Conference Committee) has determined, in accordance with Indiana regulations, that a student’s disability or impairment adversely affects the student’s educational performance and, by reason thereof, the student needs special educati on or related services
    • A student’s CCC has determined, in accordance with 511 IAC 7, that a student has a developmental delay as described in 511 IAC 7 – 41 – 6 and, by reason thereof, the st udent needs special education or related services. 511 IAC 7 – 32 – 34.
    The determination of eligibility for special education and appropriate special education services and placement must be made on the basis of more than a single test or procedure or sole criterion . Specific information and procedures required to determine disability and eligibility are described in 511 IAC 7 – 40 – 3.

    A comprehensive educational evaluation conducted by a team of qualified professionals shall include a variety of assessments and information gathering procedures designed to provide relevant functional and developmental information in all areas that may be related to the suspected disability, including,:

    Information on the student’s health, vision

    o Hearing, social and emotional status
    o General intelligence
    o Academic performance
    o Communication status
    o Motor abilities

    A child is not eligible for special education if the determining factor in the child’s exceptional needs is a lack of instruction in reading, a lack of instruction in math, or limited English proficiency. 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1414(b)(5); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.306(b); 511 IAC 7 – 40 – 6


  • At what age are children eligible for special education?
    Under Indiana law, special education programs may be provided to students at least three years of age through the school year in which students become twenty – two years of age, unless a CCC (Case Conference Committee) determines that a student will leave school earlier.511 IAC 7 – 32 – 90.20 U.S.C. Sec. 1401(3); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.8; 511 IAC 7 -41.

    In Indiana, infants and toddlers less than three years of age may qualify for early interventionservices under 470 IAC 3.1- 4 if they are experiencing development delays as measured by appropriate diagnostic measurements and procedures or if they have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay.

    • Each service provider that has a direct role in the provision of early intervention services is responsible for making a good faith effort to assist each eligible child in achieving the outcomes in the child’s IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan). 470 IAC 3.1 – 4.
  • What type of education are children with a qualifying disability entitled to? What is a “ free appropriate public education ” ?
    Under both federal and state law, school districts must provide each student with a disability with a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

    FAPE means special education and related services that are provided at public expense and without charge, meet appropriate standards, include preschool through secondary education, and conform with an Individual Education Program (IEP). 20 U.S.C. Sec. 140 1(9); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.17.
    Special education must be provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE). To the extent appropriate, all students with disabilities should be educated with students who are not disabled. 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.114.

    Special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique needs of a child with disabilities.

    Specially – designed instruction means “ adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child…the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability and to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that he or she can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.” 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.39; 511 IAC 7 – 32 -88

    Under Federal law, an “appropriate” public education means special education and related services that:

    • have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge
    • meet the standards of the State educational agency
    • include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved
    • are provided in conformity with the individualized education program required under 20 USC 1414(d).
    Under Indiana Law, an “appropriate” public education also means that it includes course credits and a diploma for academic requirements the same as given to students without disabilities. 511 IAC 7 – 32 through 7 – 47.
  • In addition to a free appropriate public education, are there other services a child with a disability is entitled to? What are “ related services ” ?
    In addition to being required to provide a free appropriate public education, school districts are required to provide
    “ related services ” , which allow a student to benefit from his special education program at no cost to the parents. 511 IAC 7 – 43 – 1.

    In Indiana, related services may include any of the following:

    • audiological services;
    • counseling services;
    • early identification and assessment of disabilities in children
    • interpreting services;
    • medical services for the purpose of diagnosis and evaluation;
    • occupational therapy; 
    • mobility services;
    • parent counseling and training;
    • physical therapy;
    • psychological services;
    • recreation, including therapeutic recreation;
    • rehabilitation counseling;
    • school health services
    • school nurse services;
    • school social work services;
    • transportation; and
    • other supportive services.
    Under Indiana law, the public agency must provide related services to a student if the student’ s CCC determines that related services are necessary for the student to benefit from special education. 511 IAC 7 – 43 – 1.

    “ Public agency ” means any public entity that is responsible for providing special education and related services,  including the following:

    • public school corporations operating programs individually or cooperatively;
    • charter schools that are not part of a public school corporation;
    • programs operated by the state department of health;
    • the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
    • the Indiana School for the Deaf; and
    • programs operated by the department of correction. 511 IAC 7 – 32 – 77.