Special Education Eligibility

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Not all students who experience difficulties in school need special education. Usually, a student’s school problem can be corrected with modification of the general education program.  However, at times, additional help beyond the general education program is necessary.  A disability cannot be assigned to a student or changed for a student without district assessment. An IEP team can consider outside assessment, but the district must complete its own assessment for identification and eligibility purposes. In addition, IEP team members cannot change a disability or add a low incidence disability without written assessment and consideration of that assessment by the IEP team.


A student qualifies as an individual with exceptional needs if the results of an assessment demonstrate that the degree of the student’s impairment requires special education in one or more of the programs authorized under federal law and state regulations (EC 563561). The decision as to whether the assessment results demonstrate that the degree of the student’s impairment requires special education is made by the IEP team, including assessment personnel. The IEP team will consider all the relevant material that is available on the student. No single score or product of scores will be used as the sole criterion for the decision as to the student’s eligibility for special education. The disability categories listed below are the ones identified in Volume 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR).


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