Specialized Education is education designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
Governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), specialized education programs typically provide students with additional supports and accommodations that allow them to access a specific curriculum. IDEA ensures that disabled children and students, from birth to age 21, have available to them a free and appropriate public education. This education includes early intervention and related services designed to meet a student’s unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.
Some students with the most significant cognitive disabilities will require substantial supports and accommodations to have meaningful access to certain curriculum, based on their communications and academic needs. When measuring academic performance, many take alternative assessments, or alternate tests used to measure the achievement of students who are unable to participate in a general state exam.
All students accessing special education services possess an Individualized Education Program (IEP), or a plan that guides their education services. A student’s IEP defines a student’s education goals and details the supports and accommodations they will receive in the classroom.
The Common Core State Standards provide an historic opportunity to improve access to rigorous academic content standards for students with disabilities. Effective implementation of Common Core will help all students achieve mastery of English and mathematics standards, including students with disabilities.
DC Specialized Education Services
The District provides services to students accessing specialized education services, their families, and special education providers.
Strong Start DC Early Intervention Program is a statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary system that provides early intervention therapeutic and other services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays and their families.
OSSE’s Division of Specialized Education provides resources for students, families, and education professionals. It conducts over 100 trainings for teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals to support students with disabilities and ensure IDEA compliance.