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  • What is special education?

    Special Education is a unique instruction program that is designed to meet the specific educational needs of a child with disabilities.

    In South Carolina special education programs are determined by federal and state law.  Most of the time federal and state laws are the same. Also, state law will specify changes that individuals are allowed with the Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by the South Carolina Department of Education. 24 S.C. Code Ann. Regs. Sec. 43-243.  Both federal and state law says that school districts must provide students with disabilities a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

  • Who is eligible for special education?

    State law provides special education for “handicapped children.” A handicapped child is one who does not have normal mental or physical functions that are so extreme that they require special classes, special facilities, or special services for their development.

    Eligible conditions include:

    • educable mentally handicapped;
    • trainable mentally handicapped;
    • emotionally handicapped;
    • hearing handicapped;
    • visually handicapped;
    • orthopedically handicapped;
    • speech handicapped; and
    • those handicapped by learning disabilities.
  • What type of education are children with a qualifying disability entitled to? What is a “free appropriate public education”?

    Both federal and state law requires school districts to provide each student with a disability a FAPE.  FAPE means special education and related services that are provided:

    • Free of charge
    • Meet appropriate standards
    • Include preschool through secondary education
    • Conform to an Individual Education Program (IEP).

     20 U.S.C. Sec. 1401(9); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.17.

     What is a specialized education?

    A specialized education is “specially-designed instruction” to meet a child’s individual educational needs.

    • “Specially-designed instruction” means adapting the content, method or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of a child that result from their disability. This instruction also ensures that child have access to the general curriculum so educational standards are met.

    34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.39(b)(3). 

     In South Carolina, children with a qualifying disability are entitled to specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including :

    (i)Instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, hospitals, institutions, and in other settings

    (ii) Instruction in physical education.  S.C. Code Regs. Sec. 43-243(I)(B)(35)(a)(1).

    (iii)Speech-language pathology services, travel training, and vocational education.  S.C. Code Regs. Sec. 43-243(I) (B)(35)(a)(2).

  • Who provides special education?

    In South Carolina, the State Board of Education is responsible for establishing a program of specialized education for all handicapped children. This is done by using the personnel and facilities of the State Department of Education under the direction of the State Superintendent of Education.  S.C. Code Sec. 59-33-30.

  • Once a child is identified as being eligible for special education, what are the next steps? What is an “IEP” (Individualized Education Plan)?

    Once a child is eligible for special education an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed for that child.

    An IEP outlines in writing the educational program for the student.  S.C. Code Regs. Sec. 43-243(IV) (D)(1)(a).

     The IEP must include:

    • the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance;
    • measurable annual goals;
    • a description of how the child’s progress toward annual goals will be measured and reported;
    • a description of special education, related services, supplementary aids and services that will be provided to the  child
    • an explanation of to what extent, the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class
    • accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on State and district-wide assessments; or a statement why the child should not participate in the regular assessment, if the IEP team determine this;
    • the projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications; and the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services and modifications; and
    • transition services needed for students who are 16 years or older.

    24 S.C. Code Ann. Regs. Sec. 43-243(IV)(D)(1)(a).  W

  • Can a special education student be disciplined?

    School personnel may remove a child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct from his or her current placement to an appropriate temporary alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension, for not more than ten consecutive school days and for additional removals of not more than ten consecutive school days in that same school year for separate incidents of misconduct (as long as those removals do not constitute a change of placement). S.C. Code Regs. Sec. 43-243(V)(B)(1)(b)(1).