Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Special Education?

    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 being learned by their non-disabled peers. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/steps/

    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 disability categories under which a child may be found eligible for special education and related services. These categories are:

    • Autism
    • Deafness
    • Deaf-blindness
    • Hearing impairment
    • Mental retardation
    • Multiple disabilities
    • Orthopedic impairment
    • Other health impairment
    • Serious emotional disturbance
    • Specific learning disability
    • Speech or language impairment
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Visual impairment, including blindness.

    According to the IDEA, the disability must affect the child's educational performance. The question of eligibility, then, comes down to a question of whether the child has a disability that fits in one of IDEA's 13 categories and whether that disability affects how the child does in school. That is, the disability must cause the child to need special education and related services. For more information go to:

    What is Child-find?

    “Child-find” is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that mandates the identification, location, and evaluation of children with disabilities, aged birth to 21. To receive Special Education services children must meet eligibility guidelines as authorized by IDEA.

    If you know of a child with a suspected or identified disability who lives within the boundaries of the Duarte Unified School District please encourage the parent/guardian to call Stephanie Minardi, Special Education Program Specialist at (626) 599-5052 or by email to sminardi@duarteusd.org to learn about the process of determining the child’s eligibility for Special Education Services.
     

    What is IDEA?

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is federal legislation that requires eligible students with disabilities to have equal access to a free and appropriate education (FAPE). www.fape.org


    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.

     

    What is an assessment?

    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. For more information see: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/assessment-accommodations/

     

    What is an Individual Education Plan?

    A team develops an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each youth that has a disability and is eligible for special education and related services. For more information see: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/iep/

     

    What are related services?

    In general, the final regulations for IDEA '97 define the term related services 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)]. 
    Related services help children with disabilities benefit from their special education by providing extra help and support in needed areas, such as speaking or moving. Related services can include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

    speech-language pathology and audiology services
    interpreting services
    psychological services
    physical and occupational therapy
    recreation, including therapeutic recreation
    early identification and assessment of disabilities in children
    counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling
    orientation and mobility services
    medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes
    school health services and school nurse services
    social work services in schools
    parent counseling and training


    For more information see: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/iep-relatedservices/

     
    How often is an IEP reviewed?

    Every IEP is reviewed and updated annually. However, a parent, teacher, or administrator may request a review at any time in writing. 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 of the time the written request is received. 

     
    What do all the Special Education Acronyms mean?

    APE: Adaptive Physical Education
    CCS: California Children’s Services
    DIS: Designated Instructional Services
    IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Act
    FAPE: Free and Appropriate Education
    IEP: Individual Education Program
    IFSP: Individual Family Service Plan
    LRE: Least Restrictive Environment
    NPS: Non public School
    OT: Occupational Therapy
    PT: Physical Therapy
    RSP: Resource Specialist Program
    SDC: Special Day Class
    SLD: Speech and Language Development
    SST: Student Success Team

     

    What is the SELPA?

    The West San Gabriel Valley Special Education Local Plan Area or SELPA is a consortium of school districts that serve the common needs of their students. Duarte is a member of the West San Gabriel Valley SELPA and  shares programs and services with Arcadia, Monrovia, South Pasadena, San Gabriel, 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 capacityFor contact information, call Stephanie Minardi, Special Education Program Specialist, at (626) 599-5052 or by email to sminardi@duarteusd.org.

     

    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 of a part of the regular school program at his/her home school as possible while giving consideration to the needs of exceptional and typically developing children participating in the program.    

     

    The Continuum of Services

    Placement in the Least Restrictive Environment is set along this continuum.

    General Education Classroom

    Resource Specialist Program
    The child receives special education services 50% or less of the school day.

    Special Day Class in the District
    The child receives special education services 51% or more of the school day.

    • Special Day Class out of the District

    • SELPA Regional or LA County Class

    • State approved Non public school (NPS) *

    * All appropriate public school programs in the SELPA and/or County will be explored prior to consideration of a placement in an NPS.


     
    What happens when there is a disagreement about Free and Appropriate Education?

    If the IEP Team is unable to come to an agreement on components of the IEP there are procedural safeguards in place to resolve the issues at hand. These procedures are outlined in the Parental Rights.