Frequently Asked Questions
Special education is instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of children that result from having a disability so they may learn the information and skills that other children are learning.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is federal legislation that requires eligible students with disabilities to have equal access to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
Who is Eligible for Special Education?
Certain children with disabilities are eligible for special education and related services. The IDEA provides a definition of a "child with a disability." This law lists 13 different eligibility categories under which a child may be found eligible for special education and related services. These categories are:
- Emotional disturbances
- Hearing impairment
- Intellectual disabilities
- Multiple disabilities
- Orthopedic impairment
- Other health impairment
- Specific learning disability
- Speech or language impairment
- Traumatic brain injury
- Visual impairment, including blindness.
What is Child-find?
Child Find is a component of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that requires all school districts to identify, locate, and evaluate all children ages three through 22 with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities. If you know of a child with a suspected or identified disability who lives within the boundaries of the San Gabriel Unified School District, please encourage the parent to call the special education department at (626) 451-5415 to learn about the process of determining the child’s eligibility for special education services.
A parent, teacher, administrator, doctor, community agency, or any other concerned individual may refer a child who is suspected of having a disability to the Student Success Team (SST) at the child’s school of residence. When evidence of the suspected disability indicates a need for more in-depth information, the child may be referred for assessment. Informed parent consent is required in order for the assessment process to
What is a Special Education Assessment or Evaluation?
An assessment plan is a description of the assessments that will be used to explore the child’s strengths and needs in the area of suspected disability. After the parent receives their rights under IDEA and gives written consent to test the child, the appropriate specialists conduct the assessment with parent input. No single procedure can be used as the sole criterion for determining an appropriate educational program. The District must complete the assessment within 60 days of the initial referral, excluding breaks of 5 school days or more.
What is an Individual Education Plan (IEP)?
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed for each child identified as having a disability and is eligible for special education services. The IEP is a written document that is developed, reviewed, and revised to meet the educational needs of the child.
What are Related Services?
Related services are defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 as,
"transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education..."[section 300.24(a)].
Students who need special education and specially designed instruction are eligible for related serves under IDEA. During the evaluation process, the student is evaluated to first find out if the student has a disability, and secondly to determine what types of related services the student requires. Within IDEA it can be in many forms.
The related services may include: audiology, counseling services, early identification, family training-counseling and home visits, health services, medical services, nursing services, nutrition services, occupational therapy, orientation and mobility services, parent counseling and training, physical therapy, psychological services, recreation and therapeutic recreation, rehabilitative counseling services, interpretation services, school health services, service coordination services, social work services in schools, speech pathology and speech-language pathology, transportation and related costs, and assistive technology and services.
How Often is an IEP Reviewed?
Every IEP is reviewed and updated annually. However, a parent, teacher, or administrator may request a review in writing at any time. Requests may be submitted to the teacher who manages the implementation of your child’s IEP or the Special Education Office at the district office. The IEP meeting, by law, must be held within 30 days from the time the written request is received.
What is the SELPA?
The Special Education Local Plan Area or SELPA is a consortium of school districts that serve the common needs of their students. San Gabriel is a member of the West San Gabriel Valley SELPA that shares programs and services with Arcadia, Duarte, Monrovia, South Pasadena, Alhambra, Garvey, Temple City, Rosemead, San Marino, El Monte, Valle Lindo, and Mountain View School Districts.
What is the SELPA Community Advisory Committee?
The Community Advisory Committee serves the Special Education Local Plan Area in an advisory capacity.
San Gabriel has two representatives. For contact information, call the Special Education Office at (626) 451-5415.
How is a referral processed?
A parent, teacher, administrator, doctor, community agency, or any other concerned individual may refer a child who is suspected of having a disability to the Student Success Team (SST) at the child’s school of residence. When evidence of the suspected disability indicates a need for more in-depth information, the child may be referred for assessment. Informed parent consent is required.
The Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
The law requires that a student be placed in the least restrictive environment possible to effectively address his/her needs. The intent clearly is to have the special needs student as much a part of the regular school program as possible while giving consideration to the needs of exceptional and typically developing children participating in the program.
What is a Free Appropriate Public Education?
A Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) ensures that all children with disabilities have access to special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.
As questions arise, it is best to start with the person who is providing the service to your child first. If you still have questions or concerns…
- Reach out to the teacher or specialist who manages your child's IEP
- Reach out to the principal of your child’s school
- Reach out to the Director of Special Education at 626-451-5415