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Dorchester School District Four (DSD4) currently provides Special Education services to students with disabilities, ages 3 to 21, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA). The District provides a continuum of specially designed instruction, direct and indirect services, and related services to students attending public schools, community-based daycares, as well as private and home schools. Specially designed instruction (34 C.F.R. § 300.39(a)(1)), is provided to address the unique needs of a child that result from the child’s disability to ensure the child has access to the general education curriculum to the maximum extent possible in order to meet the educational standards that apply to all children (34 C.F.R. § 300.39(b)(3)(i) and (ii) by adapting the content, methodology or delivery of instruction. Special Education supports the student in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) through the implementation of specially designed instruction, accommodations/modifications, materials, and curriculum, as appropriate.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are required by federal law (IDEIA) for all students who meet criteria as a student with a disability. Written by a collaborative team that includes the child’s parents, lead educational agency representatives, general education teachers, special educators, related service providers, and community agencies, as appropriate, an IEP documents the educational and related services a student requires to reach specified short-term and long-term goals.

All students with IEPs are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that includes access to an education that will best prepare them to attain positive post-secondary outcomes.

In order for a student to qualify for Special Education services, a student must meet eligibility as a student with a disability and the child must have specific needs that are so unique that they require specially designed instruction to access the general education curriculum (34 C.F.R. § 300.8).  A student may meet criteria in one or more of the following thirteen areas:

-   Specific Learning Disability              

-   Speech-Language Impairment      

-   Developmental Delay                    

-   Intellectual Disabilities                  

-   Emotional Disabilities                    

-   Visual Impairment                        

-   Deaf and Hard of Hearing

-  Orthopedic Impairment       

-  Other Health Impairment

-  Traumatic Brain Injury

-  Autism

-  Multiple Disabilities

-  Deaf-blindness

Dorchester School District Four utilizes a collaborative team approach to determine the most appropriate educational services for students with disabilities.