skip navigation

Last modified: December 17, 2020

Special Education Services

What is the definition of special education?

Special education means a set of services (specially designed instruction and related services), at no cost to the parent(s) or the adult student, to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom and in other settings; that:

  1. Help the student access and progress in the general education curriculum.
  2. Prepare the student for further education (beyond high school), future employment and independent living. The term includes speech language pathology services and may include other related services… if they meet the definition of special education.
  3. Is provided to the student in addition to his/her general education services (services available to all students).
  4. Does not include consultation between teachers or monitoring a student’s grades or work completion.
  5. Should not be defined by a specific location in the district, a specific program, or a specific person.

What does specially Designed Instruction (SDI) mean?

Specially designed instruction (SDI) means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible student, the content, methodology, or delivery of grade-level general education curriculum (GEC) instruction in order to:

  1. Address the unique needs of the student that result from the student’s disability; and
  2. Ensure access of the student to the grade-level GEC, so that the student can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the LEA that apply to all students.
    • The IEP Team may determine the use of the Essential Elements Curriculum (EEC) (grade-level alternate core standards), for a student with a significant cognitive disability as defined in R277-705-2(8). This is typically 1% or less of the special education population within our school district.
    • Other alternate or modified academic achievement standards are prohibited.

Who can design and deliver specially designed instruction?

Specially designed instruction (SDI) in the area of academics and behavior must be designed, supervised, and monitored by a licensed special education teacher.  SDI in the area of speech and language services must be designed, supervised and monitored by a licensed speech and language pathologist. Related services (i.e., counseling, intensive behavior supports, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.) must be designed, supervised and monitored by an appropriately licensed professional (i.e., school psychologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, etc.).

SDI may be provided by a licensed special educator (i.e., special education teacher, speech language pathologist, etc.). It may also be provided under the license and supervision of a special educator by the following: a trained assistant (i.e., para-professional, speech language technician, certified occupational therapy assistant, etc.) and a general education teacher.

What is an inclusive approach to providing specially designed instruction?

Co-teaching means an instructional arrangement in which a licensed general education teacher and a licensed special education teacher deliver core instruction to all students along with specially designed instruction to students with disabilities in a single physical space. Co-teaching partnerships require educators to make joint instructional decisions and share responsibility and accountability for the learning of all the students (students with and without disabilities) in the class” (USBE SES Rules PDF, 2020, page 18).

Source: USBE Special Education State Rules PDF, 2020, page 18 and page 29.