Special education is any specially designed instruction, support, or equipment a student may need to order to reach his or her fullest potential. These services are available to eligible students, ages 3 through 21 years of age within DoDDS, and may include changes to the education program, commonly known as classroom modifications. A student may also receive services in the general education classroom, a resource room, self-contained class, or other appropriate setting. Special education services provide the additional support or assistance you child may need to be successful.
If your child requires special education services, you will be involved in decisions about what services, instruction, and equipment are to be provided, as well as where these services may take place. DoDDS will ensure that placement is made in the least restrictive environment. This means a student who receives special education services must be placed, to the greatest extent possible, in an educational setting with students his or her own age. Special education and general education are partners with you in this process.
DoDDS special education services are directed by the 1997 amendment (PL 105-17) to
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), (P.L. 101-476) and Department of Defense Instruction, DoDI 1342.12, Provision of Early Intervention and Special Education Services to Eligible Dependents, dated April 11, 2005. These documents ensure that DoDDS personnel and families know who is eligible and what they must do to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).58
The Child Find Program is part of the DoDDS Special Education services. Child Find is a program that actively seeks to locate and identify children and youth, ages birth through 21 years of age, who have developmental delays or educational disabilities and may need special education and related services. Child Find activities, when conducted in the school, may include teacher observations, parent observations and conferences to discuss your child's strengths and needs. These activities may lead to a formal assessment process designed to further explore ways to assist your child. This process may ultimately result in a recommendation for your child to receive special education services.
If you have a concern about one of your children, you can help this child develop to his or her fullest potential by contacting your local school or pediatric clinic in your military hospital. They can provide you with information about Child Find and can schedule a screening, if needed.