What is Special Education?

“Special education” is instruction, specific to the child, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.  It is important to note:  Students with disabilities are general education students first. They receive special education support services in conjunction with the general education curriculum. Special education is an instructional service, not a place. 

Special education services must be reasonably calculated to allow the student to benefit from instruction.  If the student is receiving benefit from the special education services, the student will progress at his/her own individual rate.  A student who has a disability will always have the disability and would not be expected to progress in all areas at the same rate as his/her regular education peers.


How Does a Child Receive Special Education Services?

Legal Reference

School districts shall develop systems designed to identify pupils with disabilities beginning at birth, pupils with disabilities attending public and nonpublic school, and pupils with disabilities who are of school age and are not attending any school. The district's identification system shall be developed according to the requirement of nondiscrimination and included in the district's total special education system plan.

MN R. 3525.0750

ISD # 206 has adopted the following procedure for the identification and evaluation of students with disabilities.

 To qualify for special education services a child must have a disability.
An evaluation is used to document the existence of a disability. Below average academic performance alone does not qualify a student for special education. 

The child must meet Minnesota eligibility criteria in one or more of the following areas:



Who Can Receive Special Education Services?


The school will conduct an evaluation to determine your child’s areas of need (such as reading, math and written language).  With your input, goals will be written to improve the areas of need identified.  These goals will be written on a document called an Individual Educational Program (IEP)/Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). 
Specialized instruction may be provided in the areas of need.  Special education areas of need may include:

  • Reading Skills   
  • Math Skills
  • Written Language Skills
  • Expressive/Receptive Communication Skills
  • Self-Regulation Skills
  • Gross/Fine Motor Skills
  • Organizational Skill
  • Self-Help Skill
  • Transition to Independent Living Skills

Related services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, DAPE, etc. are provided if it is determined the child would not be able to meet their instructional goals without this service.  Related services cannot be provided unless the student is already receiving a special education service in a disability area, such as a learning disability. The related service is only provided if the student requires the service in order to make progress on IEP/IFSP goals.