Special Education » Special Education Eligibility

Special Education Eligibility

What is Special Education?


Education Code

56031 (a) "Special education," in accordance with Section 1401 (29) of Title 20 of the United States Code, means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique needs of individuals with exceptional needs, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and other settings, and instruction in physical education.

(b) In accordance with Section 300.39 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, special education includes each of the following, if the services otherwise meet the requirements of subdivision (a):

(1) Speech-language pathology services, or any other designated instruction and service or related service, pursuant to Section 56363, if the service is considered special education rather than a designated instruction and service or related service under state standards.

(2) Travel training.

(3) Vocational education.

(c) Transition services for individuals with exceptional needs may be special education, in accordance with Section 300.43(b) of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, if provided as specially designed instruction, or a related service, if required to assist an individual with exceptional needs to benefit from special education.

(d) Individuals with exceptional needs shall be grouped for instructional purposes according to their instructional needs

Special Education Eligibility
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines 13 disabilities under which children ages 3 to 21 years old may be eligible to receive special education services.
  • Autism
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment
Infants and toddlers under three years of age may be eligible to receive early intervention services if diagnostic instruments and procedures indicate they are delayed in one or more of the following areas:
  • Cognitive Development
  • Physical Development
  • Communication Development
  • Social Emotional Development
  • Social or Emotional Development
  • Adaptive Development
If a student does not meet the special education eligibility requirement, (i.e., the student's disability did not significantly affect the student's ability to learn) a student may qualify for services or accommodations under Section 504. Students who qualify under Section 504 are not required to have a written IEP document; however, there may be a written 504 Plan.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Overview
Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. 
The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents/guardians, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together as a team to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the guiding document for each child with a disability to receive a quality education.
Parents/guardians, school staff, and often the student must come together to look closely at the student's unique needs to create an effective IEP. These individuals pool knowledge, experience, and commitment to design an educational program that will help the student be involved and progress in the general curriculum. The IEP guides the delivery of special education supports and services for the student with a disability.
Child Find
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires all states to implement a policy to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities. This includes all school districts.
One method of locating and identifying children with a suspected disability is the Child Find program.
The Child Find program requires all school districts in California to locate, identify, and evaluate all children with a suspected disability, regardless of the severity. School districts are required to identify all children who may need special education services even if the district is not currently providing special education services to the child.
The following children are included under the Child Find mandate:
  • Children from birth to age 21
  • Children who attend public and private school
  • Children of migrant families
  • Children of homeless families
  • Children who are wards of the state
If you suspect a child has a disability, please contact the HUSD Special Education office at (951) 765-5100 Extension: 4080.