Highlands School DistrictSpecial Education Department
Secretary: Diane Dale 724-226-2400, ext. 4520
Welcome to the Special Education Department. We look forward to working with you!
It is the policy of the Highlands School District that every child shall be provided with the opportunity for a free, public, and appropriate education. To the maximum extent possible, exceptional children shall be educated in the most appropriate physical, social, and academic environment available. Exceptional children shall be, as deemed individually appropriate, included in regular programs, placed in itinerant programs, and/or placed in part-time or full-time special classes as determined by the IEP Team.
After all evaluations are completed, an Evaluation Report will be compiled with parent involvement. It will include specific recommendations for the types of intervention necessary to deal with the childs specified needs.
An Individual Education Program (IEP) will be developed for specialized services for the student. The IEP Team will consist of at least; the principal, the special education teacher, the regular education teacher(s), the district psychologist, district liaison, other teachers or specialists as needed, and other staff when appropriate.
In compliance with state and federal law, the Highlands School District will provide to each protected handicapped student without discrimination or cost to the student or family, those related aids, services, or accommodations which are needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the students abilities. In order to qualify as a protected handicapped student, the child must be of school age with a physical or mental disability which substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to any aspect of the school program. These are described in Chapter 14 and 15 of the state Board of Education regulations.
Through the evaluation process students are diagnosed with one of the following disability categories. Special education is provided through: Learning support programs, Life skills support programs, Emotional support programs, Speech and language programs, Autistic support programs, Multihandicapped support programs, Physical support programs, Blind and visually impaired support programs, Deaf and hearing impaired support programs, and our Partial Hospitalization programs.
Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
Orthopedic impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects educational performance.
Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including heightened alertness to environmental stimuli.
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 may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.
Speech or Language impairment means a communication disorder.
Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or pychosocial impairment or both.
Visual impairment means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects both partial sight and blindness.
Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Emotional Disturbance is defined as follows: The term means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance:
(A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
(B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
(C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
(D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
(E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
(ii) The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.
Mental retardation means significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardness-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severs educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.
Further information about these procedures may be obtained by calling the Highlands School District Special Education office at 724-226-2400, ext. 4520.