The policies and procedures that govern the special education services that APS provides to eligible students are designed to meet the Federal and State mandates so that all students with disabilities of eligible age receive a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
Children with suspected delays in the areas of cognition, communication, hearing, vision, social-emotional skills, and/or motor skills are referred to a student study committee to determine whether the child requires assessment for consideration of eligibility for special education services.
The 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes several amendments regarding discipline. Students with disabilities are subject to the same disciplinary procedures as other students for up to ten days. Suspensions of more than ten days within a school year require that a functional behavioral analysis be completed. Following the functional behavioral analysis, an individual behavior management plan must be developed or modified. A manifestation hearing (causal) must be held. If the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the disability, and services have been withheld for ten days within the school year, an interim placement must be provided.
Extended School Year (ESY) Services
Extended School Year services are provided to eligible students who require instructional or support services beyond the regular 180-day school year to maintain proficiency levels in critical skill areas from one school year to the next. Critical skill areas include muscular control, physical mobility, self-care/self-help, impulse control, basic communication, social interaction, and basic cognition.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Screening
Deaf and Hard of Hearing screenings are provided for all entering students, students in kindergarten, third, seventh, and tenth grades, all students being considered for special education services, and those students with a known hearing loss.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
The Deaf and Hard of Hearing specialist works closely with the teaching staff to implement all aspects of aural rehabilitation in the classrooms for students with hearing losses who require an oral approach. A speech-language pathologist is available to all identified students who require additional services to assist the Deaf and Hard of Hearing specialist.
Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
Itinerant Functional Vision Services
Services are provided to students with visual impairments so they may fully participate in their educational programs. Trained personnel are involved in: assessment, eligibility, IEP development and implementation, providing consultation and/or direct service, providing adapted material and equipment and serving as a link between school staff, students, parents, eye care provider and the Virginia Department for the Visually Handicapped (VDVH).
Resources for Vision Services:
The following links to information and resources are excerpted from the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Web page, Specific Disabilities/Sensory Disabilities. VDOE’s guidance documents should be provided to teachers and parents of these students. School divisions have permission to provide paper copies aswell as alternate formats.
- Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired
- Guidelines for Working With Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired in Virginia Public Schools
Other specific resources that should beavailable to teachers and parents include the following:
- Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) -The VSDB is located in Staunton, Virginia and provides a day program andoutreach services, as well as a residential setting exclusively to students whoare deaf, have a hearing impairment, blind, or have a vision impairment, andwho are deaf-blind. VSDB’s admission policy is available at the above Website.
- Virginia Project for Children and Young Adults With Deaf-Blindness – This office provides technical assistance, training, distance education and networking information to families, service providers and individuals who are deaf-blind/dual sensory impaired.
- Guidelines for School Division Policy Regarding Service Dogs in Virginia’s Public Schools
- VDOE-Deaf-Blindness Eligibility
- Preschool Programs – Preschool services are provided for students ages 2 to 5 found eligible for special education through ChildFind. These services help develop independence, motor, language, social, and cognitive skills.
Adapted Physical Education
Adapted Physical Education is provided for students with disabilities who must have a highly individualized program to benefit from instruction and participation in physical education.
In the educational setting, occupational therapy addresses the individual’s ability to perform self-care, education, vocational, and play tasks. Therapists assess sensory awareness and processing, neuromuscular function, motor skills, perceptual skills, and adaptive behavior to determine how they are affecting school performance. Occupational therapists may work with students to improve activities of daily living skills (e.g., clothing management, eating in the cafeteria, personal hygiene), functional fine motor skills (e.g., writing, coloring, cutting), and specific skill training for pre-vocational and vocational tasks. Intervention in these areas must be related to the IEP goals and objectives.
In the educational setting, physical therapy addresses the ability to move parts of the body, to assume and maintain postures, and organize movement into functional gross motor skills. Physical therapists work with students to build strength and endurance for functional mobility (e.g., climbing stairs, opening doors, carrying materials, accessing the playground, participating in field trips). Intervention in these areas must be related to the IEP goals and objectives.
Orientation and Mobility Services
Orientation and mobility services are provided to blind and visually impaired students to ensure independent and safe travel within the school and community. Trained personnel provide assessment and training to students in sensory awareness, concept development, cane travel, use of low vision aids and implementation of these skills into daily routines.
Recreation services includes assessment of leisure skills, therapeutic recreation service, recreation programs in schools and community, and leisure education
Transportation includes travel to and from school and between schools, travel in and around school building, and specialized equipment.
Assistive technology includes devices or services, or both, which should be made available to a child with a disability if required as part of the child’s special education, related service or supplementary aids and services.
Speech- language pathologists develop comprehensive speech language programs for identified students by providing evaluation, treatment, counseling and consultation for preschool and school-aged children with speech, language, or hearing disorders.
Transition services include a coordinated set of activities designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities (including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment [including supported employment], continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation). An individual transition plan in required for all students age 16 and above. This plan is based on individual needs, and is part of the IEP.