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."
DoDEA's special education programs and services are provided in accordance with the Department of Defense (DoD) Manual 1342.12, "Provision of Early Intervention and Special Education Services to Eligible DoD Dependents," dated June 17, 2015.
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.
DoDEA recognizes clearly defined disabilities with specific criteria for determining eligibility. The specific disabilities recognized by DoDEA are:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Developmental Delay
- Emotional Disturbance
- Hearing Impairment
- Intellectual Disability
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairment
- Specific Learning Disability
- Speech or Language Impairments
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment, including blindness
- Multiple Disabilities
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 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.