Special Education

Our special education program is designed to identify students with disabilities and implement programs and services to support their educational needs.

Child Find

The Upper Arlington City School District is committed to the location, identification and provision of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), for all children between the ages of 3 and 22, having disabilities. Location and referral of such children (Child Find) may be initiated by anyone with knowledge of the child and suspecting the child may have a disability. Please contact Dr. Kevin Gorman, Director of Student Services, at (614) 487-5197, with any questions, concerns, or names for Child Find referrals within the Upper Arlington City School District.

The Determination Process

A multi-factored evaluation team (MFE) makes the final disability determination. If a student is identified as a student with a disability, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is written by the IEP team. The team consists of parents, teachers, administrators, and other service providers.

The IEP documents the student's needs and goals that address those needs. The IEP also documents where the goals will be taught and who will work on the specific goal(s). The IEP team is required to educate children in an environment that is as similar as possible to the environment where other children are educated; this is called the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) and could involve a variety of placements.

Students with Disabilities

The federal government, through legislation entitled Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), states that a child with a disability means a school-age child who has been evaluated and determined to have one of the following disabilities that adversely affects the child's educational performance and who therefore needs special education and related services.

The disabilities include: a cognitive disability (intellectual disability), a hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment (including blindness), an emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, a traumatic brain injury, another health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities.

The law also requires public schools to provide services to preschool age students (ages three to five) with disabilities if they are at least three years of age and not age six, have a disability demonstrated by a documented deficit in one or more areas of development, which has an adverse effect upon normal development and functioning.

Placement Options

Continuum of Alternative Placements for Students with Disabilities
There is great variability in the way that special education looks across our district. We do not subscribe to a “one size fits all” approach, where students with a particular type of disability all receive highly similar services. Instead, we pride ourselves on designing innovative and individualized placement opportunities for our students with disabilities. We are committed to ensuring that students with disabilities are educated in an environment that is as similar as possible to the environment of students who do not have disabilities.

Below you will find some of the placement options that are available in each of our schools. Please note that we offer more placement variations than what is listed below; our list is simply meant to provide an introductory overview of our wide breadth of services.  

Types of Placement
  1. Regular Education Classes with Collaboration / Consultation Services -  Students with disabilities continue to participate in regular education classes. Special educators and general educators work together to best meet the needs of exceptional children.
  2. Individual / Small Group - This program services students who are enrolled in the regular classroom in one or more academic areas to help increase their benefit from regular class placement. This is supplemental instruction (no grade is given) that focuses on helping students become independent in the process of learning through the use of compensatory strategies, intervention support, and study / organizational techniques.
  3. Learning Center - The Learning Center serves children whose disability requires a special education program on a part-time or full-time basis. Participation in the child's regular education activities is encouraged. The Learning Center provides a modified regular education curriculum that is not offered in regular education classrooms.  In some cases the students are provided a functional, alternate curriculum to meet their individual needs. 
  4. Separate Facility - A separate facility is a school that is designed specifically for students with disabilities. Sometimes these facilities do not include students who are typically developing.
  5. Home Instruction - Home instruction is available to some students with disabilities. Through this program, a certified instructor travels to the home of the student to provide specific instruction on the student’s IEP. 
  6. Institutions and Hospitals - Some children with disabilities are so ill that they are confined to hospitals or institutions for long periods of time. In these cases, instruction is provided to those individuals in that setting.

Related Services

What are Related Services
Related Services are support services needed to help children with disabilities benefit from special education. Related services are identified by the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Team when the IEP is written.

Related services do not stand alone. In other words, a student who only requires a related service is not considered a student with a disability.

The following are all related services:
  • Attendant services
  • Audiology
  • Counseling
  • Guide services
  • Interpreter services
  • Medical services (i.e. services provided by a licensed physician to determine a child's medically-related disability)
  • Occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant services: Occupational therapy guide (PDF) or  Occupational therapy guide (.rtf)
  • Orientation and mobility services
  • Parent counseling and training
  • Physical therapy and physical therapy assistant services
  • Reader services
  • Recreation
  • Rehabilitation counseling services
  • School health services
  • School nursing services
  • School psychological services
  • Social work services in schools
  • Speech-language pathology services
  • Transportation

Resources for Parents

Our department prioritizes partnerships with parents. We strive to provide all parents with timely and accurate information. Below you will find a few helpful resources for parents:

Ohio Department of Education
The Ohio Department of Education provides many resources to parents through their website. At this website you can find Ohio Revised Code information as well as all rules and regulations that govern the identification and delivery of service to students with disabilities.

In Ohio,  A Parent's Guide to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) serves as the procedural safeguards notice in accordance with and as required by 34 Code of Federal Regulations Part 300.504.
A Guide to Parent Rights in Special Education

Differentiation Model
Differentiation is a teacher's response to learners' needs, guided by mindset and general principles of differentiation: respectful tasks, quality curriculum, teaching up, flexible grouping, continual assessment, and building community. Teachers can differentiate through content, process, product, affect and learning environment according to students' readiness, interest and learning profile - using instructional strategies such as: RAFTS, graphic organizers, scaffolded reading, cubing, think-tac-toe, learning contracts, tiering, learning/interest centers, independent studies, intelligence preferences, orbitals, complex instruction, 4MAT, web quests and web inquiry, etc.
Below you will find the visual representation of this model — which we use to differentiate social and academic instruction throughout our schools. 

State Support Team
The Educational Service Center offers free parent trainings and community engagement opportunities for parents. Learn more on the State Support Team 11 website.

Central Ohio Branch of the International Dyslexia Association
The Central Ohio Branch of the International Dyslexia Association offers a variety of parent education opportunities. Visit the Central Ohio Branch's website to learn of upcoming events. 

Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence
The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence is an internationally renowned information clearing house dedicated to providing evidence-based training to those impacted by autism.
Visit the OCALI website to learn more about online and in-person learning opportunities.

Auditory Discrimination
These free auditory discrimination tools are applicable to students with a range of developmental disabilities.

Common Core Standards
"The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English and math were adopted in 2010. These standards define what students need to learn at each grade level. They provide a chance to improve access to quality content standards for students with disabilities." 
Common Core Resources for Special Education

Additional Resources

View text-based website