Special Education Services
Beginning in September of 2009, Mary Walker, along with all other districts in the state, began participating in early intervention services for infants and toddlers who have disabilities. The law now requires the special education department to expand its search for children (“Childfind”) with disabilities to include birth to age 3, referred to as Part C under the federal, “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA). Previously, districts were only required to identify and serve children with disabilities ages 3 through 21, referred to as Part B under IDEA.
Part B has required school districts to identify, assess and provide a “Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)” to children who may qualify under one of several categories, including: developmental delay, mental retardation, hearing impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, specific learning disability, autism, emotional-behavioral disorder and others. Services can include speech-language therapy, physical therapy, specialized instruction directed by a certified special education teacher, and other services and accommodations deemed necessary by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, which includes the parents.
Part C does not require the district to be the sole provider of services or to provide FAPE, as in Part B. It does, however, require district special education personnel to work with the county’s Family Resource Coordinator (FRC) whose responsibility it is to see that families and providers work together. Children in this age bracket, birth to 3, have an Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP) rather than an IEP. Required services are not only paid for by state special education funding, similar to Part B, but also through the family’s private insurance, Medicaid when the child is eligible, or some other funding source coordinated by the FRC.
Anyone can now refer any child suspected of a developmental delay or other disability, ages birth through 21, for evaluation to Mary Walker’s special education department. Contact Mary Sulgrove, Special Services Director (258-4714) for assistance.