Page Links:

ELIGIBILITY FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES

A student’s eligibility for special education and related services shall be determined by a case conference committee following a multidisciplinary team evaluation. 

Eligibility for special education and related services means that a student’s case conference committee has determined, in accordance with state law, that a student’s disability or impairment adversely affects the student’s educational performance (i.e. disability has a consistent and significant negative impact on the student’s academic achievement or functional performance, or both) and, by reason thereof, the student needs special education and related services;

The determination for special education and appropriate special education services must be made considering all of the information contained in the educational evaluation report.  It must not rely on any single measure or assessment as the sole criteria for determining eligibility or appropriate educational services. 

A student shall not be determined eligible if the key factor in the determination is:

A student’s academic and/or behavioral difficulties, which are adversely affecting his/her education should first be reviewed and addressed through a school-based general education intervention process. 

The Special Education Department has developed and disseminated a General Education Intervention Manual and a Behavioral Intervention Manual to assist with this process.

Eligibility Criteria for Autism Spectrum DisorderArticle 7

According to state law, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong developmental disability that includes Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and other pervasive developmental disorders, as described in the current version of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM.

The disability is generally evident before 3 years of age and significantly affects verbal, non- verbal, or pragmatic communication and social interaction skills and results in an adverse affect on the student’s educational performance. 

Other characteristics often associated include the following:

Autism Spectrum Disorder does not apply if a student’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily by an emotional disability, blindness or low vision, deaf-blindness, or a cognitive disability, unless the characteristics  of ASD are demonstrated to a greater degree than is normally attributed to these disabilities

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by a case conference committee considering the results of the Multidisciplinary Team Evaluation.

Required components of the evaluation are indicated on “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas” form.

Eligibility Criteria for Blind or Low VisionArticle 7

According to state law, the term blind or low vision (previously referred to as visual impairment) means a disability that, even with best correction, adversely affects the student’s ability to use vision for learning, which adversely affects the student’s educational performance.

The term;

Identification and eligibility for special education as a student who is blind or as low vision shall be determined by the case conference committee using the required assessment.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas.”

The school corporation educates students who have been identified as being blind or having low vision locally unless the case conference committee determines that services at the Indiana School for the Blind is the appropriate least restrictive environment.

Eligibility Criteria for Cognitive DisabilityArticle 7

According to state law, a cognitive disability (previously referred to as mild mental disability, moderate mental disability or severe mental disability) is manifested during the developmental period and:

A student with a mild cognitive disability has cognitive functioning which generally falls two (2) or more standard deviations below the mean and manifests delays in adaptive behavior consistent with the mild cognitive disability.

A student with a moderate cognitive disability has cognitive functioning which generally falls  three  (3) or more standard deviations below the mean and manifests delays in adaptive behavior consistent with the moderate cognitive disability.

A student with a severe cognitive disability has cognitive functioning which generally falls four (4) or more standard deviations below the mean and manifests delays in adaptive behavior consistent with the severe cognitive disability.

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by the case conference committee using the required assessment components.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas.”

Eligibility Criteria for Deaf or Hard of HearingArticle 7

According to state law, the term deaf or hard of hearing (previously referred to as a hearing impairment) is defined as a hearing loss that:

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may use spoken language or sign language or a combination of spoken language and signed systems.

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by the case conference committee using the required assessment components.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility.”

The school corporation educates students who have been identified as deaf or hard of hearing locally unless the case conference committee determines that services at the Indiana School for the Deaf is the appropriate least restrictive environment. 

Eligibility Criteria for Deaf-BlindArticle 7

The term deaf-blind, which may be referred to as dual sensory impaired, means a disability that:

A student who is solely deaf-blind is not considered to be a student who has multiple disabilities as defined in state law.

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by a case conference committee using the required assessment components.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas”.

NOTE:  The required medical reports for this disability should be completed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist and educational or clinical audiologist, otologist, or otolaryngologist.

Eligibility Criteria for Developmental Delay (Early Childhood)Article 7

According to state law, a developmental delay is a disability category solely for students who are at least three (3) years of age and not more than five (5) years of age or five (5) years of age but not eligible to be enrolled in kindergarten.  

A developmental delay means a delay of  either two (2) standard deviations below the mean in one (1) of the following areas or one and one-half (1.5) standard deviations below the mean in any two (2) of the following developmental areas:

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by the case conference committee using the required assessment.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas.”

The evaluation team and case conference committee may use the disability category of developmental delay or any of the other disability categories described in state law.

Eligibility Criteria for Emotional DisabilityArticle 7

An emotional disability means an inability to learn or progress that cannot be explained by cognitive, sensory, or health factors

The student exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree:

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by a case conference committee using the required assessment components.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility.”

When there is a suspected disability, the case conference committee must complete the ED Checklist to document the presence or absence of an emotional disability.

Note: The completion and implementation of the FBA (Functional Behavioral Assessment) and BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan) should be a component of the General Education Intervention process.

Eligibility Criteria for Language and/or Speech ImpairmentArticle 7

A language or speech impairment (previously referred to as a communication disorder) is characterized by one (1) of the following impairments that adversely affects the student’s educational performance:

Language impairments in the comprehension or expression of spoken or written language resulting from organic or non-organic causes that are non-maturational in nature.  Language impairments affect the student’s primary language systems, in one or more of the following components:

Speech impairments that may include fluency, articulation, and voice disorders in the student’s speaking behavior in more than one speaking task that are non-maturational in nature, including impairments that are the result of a deficiency of structure and function of the oral peripheral mechanism.

A student is not eligible for special education and related services as a student with a language or speech impairment solely because the student’s native language is not English.  A bilingual student may have a language or speech impairment if the impairment is exhibited in both languages.

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing or have a specific learning disability and have language deficits or auditory processing difficulties are not eligible for language impairment services in lieu of services for deaf or hard of hearing or specific learning disabilities.

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by a case conference committee using the required assessment components included in the multidisciplinary evaluation (M-Team).  A speech  language pathologist must be a member of the evaluation team.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility.”

Eligibility Criteria for Multiple DisabilitiesArticle 7

Multiple disabilities mean coexisting disabilities, one of which must be a significant cognitive disability.  The coexisting disabilities are lifelong and interfere with independent functioning, and it is difficult to determine which disability most adversely affects educational performance.  The term does not include deaf-blind.

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by the case conference committee using the required assessment components.   See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas.”

Eligibility Criteria for Other Health ImpairmentArticle 7

Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment that:

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by the case conference committee using the required assessment components.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas.”

Eligibility Criteria for Orthopedic ImpairmentArticle 7

An orthopedic impairment is defined as a severe physically disabling condition that adversely affects educational performance.  The term may include impairments caused by:

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by the case conference committee using the required assessment .  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas.”

Eligibility Criteria for Specific Learning DisabilityArticle 7

A specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that adversely affect the student’s educational performance, including conditions referred to, or previously referred to, as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.  A specific learning disability:

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by the case conference committee using the required assessment components included in the multidisciplinary team evaluation (M-Team).  This includes available medical information that is educationally relevant.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas.”

The General Education Intervention process must be implemented appropriately prior to determining eligibility for a specific learning disability.  This includes using research-based interventions and monitoring student progress using systematic data collection.

According to state law, a written M-Team Report for Determining a Specific Learning Disability must be included as part of the case conference committee’s discussion. 

EVALUATION OF SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITIES USING CROSS BATTERY ASSESSMENT

The following are the assessment criteria for an SLD evaluation, according to Indiana Article 7:

Exclusionary Factors: SLD does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of any of the following:

An SLD may manifest itself in one of the following areas:

For the purposes of evaluations for a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) within the South Bend Community School Corporation, the multi-disciplinary teams will use the Cattell-Horn Carroll theory of cognitive processing, as outlined in the Essentials of Cross Battery Assessment: Second Edition, (Dawn P. Flanagan, Samuel O. Ortiz, and Vincent Alfonso, John Wiley & Sons, 2007 CD-ROM).   The seven areas of cognitive processing which could be evaluated when assessing for a SLD include:  crystallized intelligence, short term memory, long term storage/retrieval, auditory processing, processing speed, visual processing, and fluid reasoning.

The first step in conducting an SLD evaluation is to complete a standardized achievement test (e.g. K-TEA-II, Woodcock-Johnson-III), assessing each area in which there are reported academic difficulties.  Scores within the Average range (standard scores 85-115) reflect a student who is functioning typically for his/her age, thus, no further assessment is necessary in the areas of cognitive processing. 

When a normative deficit (scores below SS of 85) is noted in academic areas, further assessment in the appropriate cognitive processing areas is warranted.  The following is a summary of the cognitive areas found to be critical to the development of each academic area.

READING ASSESSMENT:           

  • Areas found to be very important to reading:
    • Crystallized Intelligence
    • Short Term Memory
    • Auditory Processing
    • Long-Term Storage & Retrieval
    • Processing Speed

WRITTEN LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT:

  • Areas found to be very important to writing:
    • Crystallized Intelligence
    • Short Term Memory
    • Auditory Processing
    • Long Term Storage & Retrieval
    • Processing Speed

MATH ASSESSMENT:

  • Areas found to be very important to math:
    • Fluid Reasoning
    • Crystallized Intelligence
    • Short Term Memory
    • Processing Speed

If, through the assessment of relevant cognitive processing areas, the student is found to have processing deficits in one or more areas, (and these areas are important in the development of skills in the area of  academic weakness), a specific learning disability may be present.  However, the student must also demonstrate an “otherwise normal ability profile” and the difficulties must not be due to any of the exclusionary factors (listed above).  See Essentials of Cross Battery Assessment: Second Edition, (Dawn P. Flanagan, Samuel O. Ortiz, and Vincent Alfonso, John Wiley & Sons, 2007 CD-ROM) for further information.

Below is a general explanation of each of the seven broad abilities.

BROAD ABILITIES

  1. Crystallized Intelligence (acquired knowledge of a culture and the effective application of that knowledge; includes
    • Language Development, i.e., the development or understanding of words, sentences and passages, in spoken native language skills,
    • Lexical Knowledge, i.e., extent of vocabulary in terms of correct word meanings;
    • Listening Ability, i.e., ability to listen and comprehend oral language;
    • General Information, i.e., range of general knowledge, and
    • Information about Culture, i.e., range of knowledge about music, art, etc.
  1. Short-Term Memory: (the ability to apprehend and hold information in immediate awareness and then use it within a few seconds), includes
    • Memory Span, i.e., ability to attend to and immediately recall temporally ordered elements in the correct order after a single presentation;
    • Working Memory; i.e., ability to temporarily store and perform a set of cognitive operations on information that requires divided attention and the management of limited capacity of short-term memory.
  1. Long-Term Storage and Retrieval: (the ability to store information, e.g., ideas, concepts, items or names, in long-term memory and to fluently retrieve it later through association;
    • Ideational Fluency; i.e., ability to rapidly produce a series of ideas, words, or phrases related to a specific condition or object;
    • Naming Facility; i.e., ability to rapidly produce names for concepts; and
    • Free Recall Memory; i.e., the ability to recall as many unrelated items as possible, in any order, after a large collection of items is presented, and
    • Meaningful Memory, i.e., ability to recall a set of items where there is a meaningful relation between items or the items create a meaningful story or connected discourse.
  1. Auditory Processing: (the ability to perceive, analyze, and synthesize patterns among auditory stimuli; includes
    • Phonetic Coding (analysis;) ability to process speech sound, as in identifying, isolating and analyzing sounds;
    • Phonetic Coding (synthesis); ability to process speech sounds, as in identifying, isolating, and blending or synthesizing sounds; and
    • Speech/General Sound Discrimination; the ability to detect differences in speech sounds under conditions of little distraction or distortion.
  1. Processing Speed: (the ability to fluently perform cognitive tasks automatically, especially when under pressure to quickly combine disconnected, vague or partially obscured visual stimuli or patterns into a meaningful whole, without knowing in advance what the pattern is); Includes
    • Perceptual Speed; i.e., ability to rapidly perform tests that are relatively easy or that require very simple decisions; and
    • Mental Comparison Speed, i.e., reaction time when the stimuli must be compared for a particular attribute.
  1. Visual Processing: (the ability to generate, perceive, analyze, synthesize, manipulate, transform and think with visual patterns and stimuli; includes
    • Spatial Relations, i.e., the ability to rapidly perceive and manipulate visual patterns or to maintain orientation with respect to objects in space;
    • Visualization, i.e., ability to mentally manipulate objects or visual patterns and to “see” how they would appear under altered conditions; and
    • Visual Memory, i.e., the ability to form and store a mental representation or image from a visual stimulus and then recognize or recall it later.
  1. Fluid Reasoning (mental operations performed when faced with a novel task that cannot be performed automatically); includes;
    • Induction, i.e., the ability to discover the underlying characteristic that governs a problem or set of materials;
    • General Sequential Reasoning, i.e., deduction, the ability to start with stated rules, premises or conditions and to engage in one or more steps to reach a solution to the problem;
    • Quantitative Reasoning, i.e., ability to inductively and deductively reason with concepts involving mathematical relations and properties.

Fluid reasoning (particularly inductive and general sequential reasoning) is consistently important in learning Math concepts at all ages, and plays a moderate role in reading comprehension.

Eligibility Criteria for Traumatic Brain InjuryArticle 7

A traumatic brain injury is an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one (1) or more of the following areas:

The term, traumatic brain injury, does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

Identification and eligibility for special education is determined by the case conference committee using the required assessment components.  See “Required Assessment Components for Eligibility Areas.”

REQUIRED ASSESSMENT COMPONENTS FOR ELIGIBILITY AREAS

Eligibility CODA # GE Intervention Social Developmental History Cognitive Academic Observation Behavioral Emotional Adaptive Communication Written Medial Report Fine/Gross Motor Other
Autism Spectrum Disorder 15 X X   X X   X X   X Checklist
Speech/Language Impaired 9 X X   X X     X      
Deaf/Blind 14 X X   X X   X X X X O & M Assessment
Developmental Delay 8 X X   X X   X        
Emotional Disability FT 5 X X   X X X         Documentation
Emotional Disability -other 6 X X   X X X         Documentation
Deaf/Hard of Hearing 4 X X   X X     X X    
Specific Learning Disability 7 X X   X X           M Team Report
Mild Cognitive Disability 10 X X X X X   X        
Moderate Cognitive Disability 11 X X X X X   X        
Multiple Disabilities 1 X X X X X   X        
Orthopedic Impairment 12 X X   X X   X   X    
Other Health Impaired 17 X X   X X   X   X    
Severe Cognitive Disability 12 X X X X X   X        
Traumatic Brain Injury 16 X X X X X   X   X    
Visual Impairment 3 X X X X X   X   X   Functional Assessment