Qualifying for Special Education Programs

  • Children Experiencing Disabilities are Guaranteed a Free Appropriate Public Education.

    The North Slope Borough School District provides comprehensive, free educational services to all children ages 3 through 21 who qualify in the following areas:

    Deafness – A hearing impairment that hinders a child’s ability to process and understand what is being said with or without a hearing aid.

    Hearing Impaired – A hearing impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance and requires special facilities, equipment, or methods to make his or her educational program effective.

    Visually Impaired – A visual impairment, which, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partially seeing and blind children.

    Deaf-Blindness – A combination of hearing and visual impairments causing severe communication, develop mental and educational problems.

    Specific Learning Disability – A disorder affecting the child’s understanding or use of spoken or written language that adversely affects educational performance. The student’s ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations may be affected. Conditions such as perceptual disabilities, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia are included in this category. This term does not include children who have learning problems that are the result of visual, hearing, motor disabilities, cognitive impairment, emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

    Speech or Language Impaired – A communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or voice impairment, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

    Cognitively Impaired - Both significant sub-average general intellectual functioning and deficits in adaptive behavior. These deficits should have been observable throughout the child’s development and adversely affect educational performance.

    Multiple Disabilities – A combination of impairments, other than deaf-blind, which adversely affects the child’s educational performance to the extreme that any one of the impairments cannot be determined to be primary.

    Emotional Disturbance – Children who have a marked degree of one or more of the following characteristics, which adversely affect educational performance and are displayed over a long period of time.
    • An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors
    • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships
    • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
    • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
    • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. (This term does not include students, who are socially maladjusted, unless they are also seriously emotionally disturbed.)
    Orthopedically Impaired – A severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects educational performance and requires special facilities, equipment or methods to make his/her education program effective.

    Other Health Impaired – Limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems such as rheumatic fever, asthma, hemophilia, leukemia etc., which adversely affects the child’s educational performance.

    Early Childhood Developmental Delays - A child who is 3-8 years old and is significantly developmentally delayed in one or more of the following five areas: cognitive development, fine and gross motor development, speech language’ development, social or emotional development, self-help skills.

    Traumatic Brain Injury – A student who experiences impairments that adversely affect educational performance due to the result of serious open or closed head injury.

    Autism – A child that experiences irregularities in communication, social interaction, resistance to environmental change, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.

    Special Education Programs Available

    Preschool Special Education – For young children 3-5 years of age with special needs. This program services all children experiencing disabilities – Communication, social skills, developmentally appropriate classroom activities, and parent training.

    Elementary Special Education – For elementary age students experiencing disabilities, special education services are available in all elementary schools dependent upon individual needs.

    Secondary Special Education – Middle school and high school special education services are provided in all schools in the NSBSD. The emphasis is collaboration, support, adapted curriculum, vocational education, transition planning, and individualized programming.

    Related Services - The District also provides related services including speech/language services, psychological evaluations, and physical therapy and occupational therapy services.

    Procedural Safeguards

    To ensure that parents are provided with every opportunity to become involved in their child’s educational program and to document that involvement, several rights to which parents are entitled are included in a summary, addressed as "procedural safeguards":
    1. Prior Notice – Parents must receive written notice before their child is evaluated or placed in any specialized education program. Written notice is also required before any change in program.

    2. Consent - Parent consent must be obtained before conducting a pre-placement evaluation, re-evaluation, and before initial placement of a child experiencing disabilities in a program providing special education and related services.

    3. Evaluation – Before any action is taken with respect to the initial placement, a full and individual evaluation of the child’s educational needs must be conducted. A re-evaluation must be conducted every three years or more frequently if conditions warrant or if the child’s parent or teacher requests an evaluation.

    4. Independent Education Evaluation – Provisions in the law describe when independent evaluation completed by non-district personnel can be performed at public expense.

    5. Least Restrictive Environment – To the maximum extent appropriate, children experiencing disabilities, including children in public and private institutions or other care facilities, are to be educated with children who do not experience disabilities. Special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular education classes should only be utilized if the use of supplementary aides and services cannot assist students in achieving satisfactorily. Unless a child has an individualized education program, which requires some other arrangement, the child is educated in the school, which he or she would attend if not experiencing a disability.

    6. Confidentiality of Information – With the exception of school officials and teachers with legitimate educational interests, no one may see a child’s records unless parents give their written permission. If parents believe that their child’s records are inaccurate, misleading or violate the privacy of the child, the parents may request the district to amend the information.

    7. Impartial Due Process Hearing – If at any point during identification, evaluation, or placement, parents do not agree with the educational decisions made concerning their child, they have the right to request mediation or a hearing. The right to appeal the findings and decisions of the hearing also are assured.

    Child Find requires that a school district identify and locate each qualifying child residing within the district’s boundaries. The district’s boundary essentially includes the North Slope Region. If you know of a child who may qualify for special education services, lives in the area, and is the right age, please call Lori Roth, Director at 852-4636.