Department of Defense Education Activity

Special Education

In DoDEA's Blueprint for Continuous Improvement, the vision statement, the mission statement and the guiding principles each embrace the notion that ALL students will be successful in our schools. Special educators work collaboratively with general educators and share the responsibility for ensuring that students with identified disabilities will meet with success. ALL students can learn when instruction is geared to their strengths and they are given sufficient opportunity to learn.

Special education is specially designed instruction, support, and services provided to students with an identified disability requiring an individually designed instructional program to meet their unique learning needs. The purpose of special education is to enable students to successfully develop to their fullest potential by providing a free appropriate public education in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as implemented by DoD Instruction 1342.12, "Provision of Early Intervention and Special Education Services to Eligible DoD Dependents."

In DoDEA, special education and related services are available to eligible students, ages 3 through 21 years of age. To be eligible for special education:

  • The child must have an identified disability;
  • The disability must adversely (negatively) affect the child's educational performance; and
  • The child must require a specially designed instructional program.

Note: Students with a disability who are not found eligible for special education and related services may receive reasonable accommodations and modifications under DoDEA Policy Memorandum: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in a DoDEA Dependent Educational Programs and Activities.

Eligibility Categories

DoDEA recognizes clearly defined categories of disabilities with specific criteria for determining eligibility. The primary categories and specific disabilities recognized by DoDEA are:

Physical Impairment
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • blind
  • deaf
  • deaf/blind
  • hearing impairment
  • other health impairment
  • orthopedic impairment
  • traumatic brain injury
  • visual impairment
Communication Impairment
  • articulation
  • fluency
  • language/phonology
  • voice
Learning Impairment
  • intellectual disability
  • specific learning disability

Educational Services

Decisions regarding the type of special education services to be provided and the educational placement for the provision of such services is based upon a student's individual need. Students with disabilities are educated in the least restrictive environment that is most appropriate for them. A variety of special education services are available beginning with full participation in the general education classroom to the extent possible--often with the provision of supplementary aids and support--as determined by the school's Case Study Committee (CSC) which includes parents. Services are provided in the least restrictive environment for each student and may include:

  • Consultation provided by special educators to the general education teacher;
  • Collaborative instruction in the general education classroom through co-teaching by the general and special education teachers; and
  • Instruction in the special education classroom for part or all of the school day.

Related Services

Related services are those services required for the student to benefit from his or her special education program and may include psychological and counseling services, language, speech, and hearing, transportation, assistive technology, physical and occupational therapy, and medical services that are required for diagnostic or evaluation purposes.

Developmental Intervention Services

The Military Medical Departments through their Educational and Developmental Intervention Services (EDIS) are responsible for providing related services (e.g., physical and occupational therapy, clinical psychology) in DoDEA schools located overseas. EDIS is also responsible for the provision of Early Intervention Services (EIS) for children, ages birth through 2, at all DoDEA locations. The related services available at each overseas location are identified in the DoD Directory, Early Intervention, Special Education, and Related Services in OCONUS Communities.

Contact Information:

DoDEA Special Education Coordinator
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria VA 22350-1400