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Special Education FAQs


Why is my child struggling in school? 

When children are struggling in school, it’s important to find out why. It may be that a disability is affecting your child’s educational performance. If so, your child may be eligible for special education and related services that can help. 

As a first step, the school may need to try sufficient interventions in the regular education classroom and modify instructional practices before referring your child for special education evaluation.

What is special education?

Special education is instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of children who have disabilities. Special education and related services are provided in public schools at no cost to the parents and can include special instruction in the classroom, at home, in hospitals or institutions, or in other settings. This definition of special education comes from IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This law gives eligible children with disabilities the right to receive special services and assistance in school.

More than 6.8 million children ages 3 through 21 receive special education and related services each year in the United States. Each of these children receives instruction that is specially designed:

✧ to meet his or her unique needs (that result from having a disability); and

✧ to help the child learn the information and skills that other children are learning in the general education curriculum.

Who is eligible for special education?

Children with disabilities are eligible for special education and related services when they meet IDEA’s definition of a “child with a disability” in combination with state and local policies. IDEA’s definition of a “child with a disability” lists 13 different disability categories under which a child may be found eligible for special education and related services. These categories are:  

Hearing impairment
Intellectual disability
Multiple disabilities
Orthopedic impairment
Other health impairment
Serious emotional disturbance
Specific learning disability
Speech or language impairment
Traumatic brain injury
Visual impairment, including blindness

Who can I talk to concerning Special Education in the Upper Adams School District? 

Each building principal is aware of the procedure for obtaining special education services. You may also contact the Student Services Office at (717) 677-7191, X2701

Where can I get copies of the regulations pertaining to Special Education?

A copy of the special education regulations and standards may be obtained by writing the Bureau of Special Education or by calling the main number at (717) 783-6913.

What is an IEP?

An IEP is an Individualized Education Program and is the written plan for the education of a student who has a disability. The IEP is based on the individual student's needs and describes the special help the student will receive in school.

Are parents involved in the Special Education process?

Parents play a key role in determining the programs and services with which their child will be provided. Parents are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the determination of the appropriateness of their child's special education.

What is a Special Education placement?

A "placement" refers to the actual class and school a special education student attends where the student receives his or her special education program, and the type and intensity of services needed.