Does My Child Need Special Education?
Parents may refer their child at any time to the Pupil Evaluation Team (PET) if they have reason to believe that their child may require special education services and supportive services.
Special education services are educational services that are specially designed to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability. These services are provided at no cost to the parent by qualified individuals. Special education services can vary a great deal based on the student and his or her needs.
Supportive services are designed to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education services. If your child is succeeding in the regular education program and only needs supportive services, they may not be eligible for special education services.
Supportive services means special education transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from their special education program. The term includes, but is not limited to, speech pathology, audiology, counseling services, psychological services, physical therapy and occupational therapy, recreation, early identification of students with disabilities, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. The term also includes school health services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training. All supportive services shall be provided by appropriately certified or licensed professionals or appropriately supervised support staff.
In the Maine Special Education Regulations, the Department of Education defines "students with disabilities." The state has a duty to provide a free appropriate public education to those students. According to this definition, a student with a disability is an individual who:
- has reached the age of 5 years on or before October 15;
- has neither graduated from a secondary school program with a regular high school diploma nor reached 20 years of age at the start of the school year;
- has a disability which adversely affects the student's educational performance and requires the provision of special education services in order that the student may benefit from an elementary or secondary educational program.
According to the State's definition, a student with a disability will have one or more of the following disabilities:
A student with autism has a developmental delay, generally evident before age three and significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction, that adversely affects educational performance. Characteristics of autism include irregularities and impairments in communication, engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not include students with characteristics of a behavioral impairment.
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