“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.
Students in special education both have a disability and are in need of specialized instruction. A comprehensive evaluation, conducted by a team from the public school, evaluates and identifies these students. For every student who needs special education services, the team develops a special document called an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP outlines the unique needs of the student and the specialized goals and objectives that will help the student make educational progress. Parents are a critical partner in every phase of identifying a student for special education and in establishing the IEP. For more information on special education in Minnesota, see the related resources.
See also SPECIAL EDUCATION