Special Education Services
In keeping with our mandate to provide a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, District 401 offers a full range of special education services.
Our procedures and practices with regard to special education services are governed by the D401 Board of Education's policy on the education of children with disabilities, which can be found in Section 6:120 of the District Policy Manual.
Referral for Special Education Services
A student may be referred to the Student Services educational team — which may include a special education teacher, social worker, speech-language pathologist, school psychologist, special education coordinator and/or building administrator — when a student is not progressing within the general education environment.
The educational staff will schedule a meeting with the parent/guardian in order to review the referral information, including student data, and to determine whether or not an evaluation for special education services is appropriate.
For students eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the District shall follow procedures for identification, evaluation, placement and delivery of services to children with disabilities provided in the Illinois State Board of Education's Special Education rules.
A continuum of special education and related services is offered at all schools within District 401 for children who meet specific eligibility requirements for ages 3-21.
Each school provides a variety of services to address the diverse needs of our students. All schools are committed to providing services in the least restrictive environment. The student services offered allow our students to participate in and benefit from the general education curriculum as much as possible.
Individualized Education Programs
An individualized education program (IEP) is developed for each student who is eligible for special education services. The IEP must be reviewed at least annually at an IEP meeting.
An IEP details the disability, present levels of performance, parent/guardian input and the impact of the disability on the student's ability to participate within the general education environment.
It also details the supports needed, measurable goals for the student, accommodations and student placement based on data collected throughout the IEP year and/or evaluation.
For any students who are 14½ years old or older, transition goals and a transition plan will be included as part of the IEP.
District 401's Transition Program provides a skill-building, classroom- and community-based program to support participants, aged 18-21, in the attainment of independent/daily living skills, vocational/employment skills, post-secondary education and training, and self-advocacy/self-awareness. The program is located at Elmwood Park High School.
The focus of the D401 Transition Program is on achieving the following goals:
- To increase independence in adult-living situations
- To improve self-advocacy and awareness skills
- To improve social and communication skills
- To increase leisure, recreation and life-skills opportunities
- To experience work-based learning and volunteer work
- To prepare for community living and participation
Transition programming is determined by each participant's individualized education plan goals and objectives, and instructional activities are driven by individual participant outcomes.
The program is not for credit. Participant success is measured by progress toward individualized goals and objectives.
Transition does not operate on a bell schedule. Participant schedules are based on real time, and therefore each participant comes and goes based on his or her individualized schedule.
Each of our schools offers a variety of related services to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of students. Examples of related services include:
- School-based occupational therapy
- School-based physical therapy
- School-based social work services
- School-based speech-language therapy
District 401's Policy on Special Education
As noted above, our procedures and practices with regard to special education services are governed by the D401 Board of Education's policy on the education of children with disabilities, which can be found in Section 6:120 of the District Policy Manual.