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Special Education Services

Special Education Services

Related Services (DIS)
Related Services are supportive services the student requires in order to benefit from his special education program. California calls such services Designated Instruction and Services (DIS). Examples of such DIS services include, but are not limited to, language and speech development and remediation, audiological services, orientation and mobility instruction, and adapted physical education.


Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI)
Education Specialists provide direct and/or indirect IEP driven special education instructional services to students who spend as much of their day as possible within the general education classroom. Instruction is provided by the special education teacher and/or the instructional aide as a pull out service in a separate class room or as a push in service within the general education classroom in collaboration with the regular education teacher.  Students complete work towards specific goals and objectives developed according to needs identified by specialist evaluations.

Special Education Process

The purpose of the special education process is to determine whether or not a child is eligible for special education services and if so, what special education services are most appropriate for the child.


There are four (4) main steps in this process:

  1. Referral for Assessment
  2. Assessment
  3. Development and Implementation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
  4. IEP Review


Step 1: Referral For Assessment

Parent(s), legal guardian(s), teachers, administrators, other school personnel and community members usually refer a child for assessment for special education services. Within 15 days of receiving a referral for assessment (not counting school vacations greater than five days), the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) will receive a written response from the Burton School District outlining the Assessment Plan that will be followed in gathering and obtaining information to determine special education eligibility. If the District determines that an assessment of the child is not appropriate then you will receive a written notification of this decision.

The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must give written consent by signing the Assessment Plan before the child can be assessed. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have 15 days from the receipt of the Assessment Plan to provide the District with a written, signed consent. If the District does not receive the Assessment Plan in the proscribed time, the process begins anew. Once the District receives the signed Assessment Plan, it has sixty (60) days (not counting vacations greater than five days) to complete the assessment and hold an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting.


Step 2: Assessment

The assessment process involves gathering information about the child to determine whether the child has a disability and, if he or she is eligible, the nature and extent of special education services that the child may need. Assessments may include individual testing, observation of the child at school, interviews with the child and school personnel who work with the child, and review of school records, reports and work samples.


Guidelines for Assessment

When the child is assessed, the following guidelines will be followed:

  1. The child will be assessed only after you consent to the Assessment Plan.
  2. The child will be assessed in all areas related to his and her suspected disability.
  3. The assessment will be administered in the child's primary language or a qualified interpreter will be provided.
  4. The assessment must include a variety of appropriate tests to measure the child's strengths and needs.  The persons administering these tests must be qualifed to do so.
  5. The assessment will be adapted for students with impaired sensory, physical or speaking skills.
  6. A multidisciplinary team, including at least one teacher or other specialist with knowledge in the area of the child's suspected disability, will assess the child.
  7. Testing and assessment materials and procedures must not be racially, culturally or sexually discriminatory.


Your Right to an Independent Educational Assessment of Your Child

If the parent or legal guardian disagree with the school's assessment of the child, they may obtain an independent educational assessment of the child. Upon their request, the school must give them information about how to obtain this independent assessment by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the District.

The parent or legal guardian have the right to request that the District pay for the independent educational assessment of the child. Whenever the District pays for an independent educational assessment, the criteria under which the assessment is obtained, including location of the assessment and the qualifications of the examiner, must be the same criteria used by the District when it initiates an assessment.

The District may initiate a due process hearing to show its assessment was proper. If the final decision of the hearing offices is that the District's assessment was proper, the parent or legal guardian may still have the right to an independent educational assessment, but they will be required to pay for that assessment. If the parent or legal guardian obtain an independent educational assessment at their own expense, the results of the assessment must be considered by the DIstrict in any decision made concerning the child's education, and may be presented as evidence at a due process hearing regarding the child.

If a hearing officer requests an independent educational assessment as part of a hearing, the parent or legal guardian will not have to pay for that assessment.


Step 3: Development and Implementation of an IEP

After the child has been assessed, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team meeting will be scheduled. The IEP meeting must be held at a time and place convenient for the parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s) and the school's representatives. At this meeting, the IEP team will discuss the assessment results and determine whether the child is eligible for special education services. If the child is eligible, then an IEP will also be developed during the meeting.

The following people are members of the IEP team:

  1. The child's parent or guardian, and/or their representative;
  2. A school administrator or qualifed representative who is knowledgeable about program options appropriate for the child;
  3. The child's present teacher.  If a student does not presently have a teacher, a teacher with the most recent and complete knowledge of the student and who has observed the student's educational performance will participate as an IEP team member.  If a teacher with the most recent and complete knowledge of the student is not available, the teacher on the IEP team will be a special education teacher qualified to teach a student of his or her age;
  4. Other persons, such as the child, whom parent(s) or legal guardian(s) or the school wish to invite; and
  5. When appropriate, the person(s) who assessed the child or someone familiar with those assessment procedures.


What is an IEP?

The IEP is the written plan that describes a child's abilities and needs, and the placement and services designed to meet the child's unique needs. The child must have an IEP before he or she receives special education services. The child's IEP must be implemented as soon as possible after the IEP meeting. In addition, the child's IEP must be reviewed and, if necessary, revised once a year or more often upon request. If the child is found to be eligible for special education services, the IEP will contain:

  1. Annual goals and short-term objectives focusing on the child's current level of performance;
  2. The services that the child will receive;
  3. When services will begin, how often they will be provided and for how long;
  4. The instructional program(s) where these services will be delivered;
  5. The amount of time the child will spend in general education.  if the child is not educated completely in general education, it should state why; and
  6. How the school will measure the child's progress.

Children with disabilities should attend the school they would ordinarily attend if they were not in special education. This requirement may be waived when a student's IEP requires it and states why.

The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) will receive a copy of the IEP at the IEP meeting. If the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) do not attend the IEP meeting, a copy will be mailed to them. They have the right to agree or disagree with any part of the IEP. The school is required to get the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) consent to the IEP before the child receives special education services. Upon the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) request, they must be given a copy of the IEP in their primary language, whenever possible.


Will I Receive Notice of the IEP Meeting?

The school must provide the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) with notice of the IEP meeting within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. This notice will include: the date, time, and place of the meeting; the reason for the meeting; who will be at the meeting; and a statement of the right of participants to electronically record the meeting. If the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) are unable to attend the meeting, they may call the school to reschedule.


When Must an IEP Meeting be Held?

An IEP meeting must be held:

  1. Once a year to review the child's progress and placement and to make any needed changes to the IEP;
  2. Every three years to review the results of a mandatory comprehensive reevaluation of the child's progress;
  3. After the child has received a formal assessment or reassessment;
  4. If the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) or a teacher feel that your child demonstrates signficant educational growth or a lack of anticipated progress;
  5. When the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) or a teacher request a meeting to develop, review or revise the IEP;
  6. To develop a transition plan, beginning at age sixteen (16) or younger, if appropriate; and/or
  7. To determine whether a student's misconduct was a manifestation of his or her disability before expelling or suspending the student from school for more than ten (10) school days.

If the child is already enrolled in a special education program and the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) request an IEP meeting, they must do so in writing. Once the request is received, the meeting must be held within thirty (30) days, not counting school vacations greater than five (5) days.


Step 4: IEP Review

If the child is receiving special education services, his or her IEP will be reviewed in an IEP meeting at least once a year to determine how well it is meeting his or her needs. In addition, every three years, the child will be reassessed and his or her IEP reviewed as part of an overall comprehensive reevaluation of the child's progress.

If there are concerns that the child's educational needs are not being met, either the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) or school personnel may request a reassessment or an IEP meeting to review the IEP at any time during the year. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) may request an IEP meeting to review the IEP at anytime during the year. They may also request an IEP meeting by sending a written request to the school. Once the request is received, the meeting must be held within thirty (30) days, not counting school vacations greater than five (5). The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) may request a reassessment by sending a written request to the school or completing a Request for Special Education Assessment which can be obtained at any District school. The school must get permission before it reassesses the child.

***Information on this website was taken from: