The Special Education Department of the Anchorage School District (ASD) employs teachers and other educational professionals with specialized expertise, certification and/or license to design, implement and supervise special education services of the district. The Early Intervention Services Center offers free developmental screenings for children ages 3-5 who, experience developmental delays or other disabilities. The STEP Center provides a variety of services, including resources, newsletters, calendar of events, and consultations with parents and staff regarding special education services. For more information regarding special education services, please contact one of the following
Educational Needs of Children with Disabilities
Special education services provide specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Specially designed instruction means adapting content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique need of the child and to ensure access to the general curriculum. It is important to understand that special education is a service, not a place.
Eligibility for Special Education Services
Two federal laws protect children with disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Children experiencing disabilities are guaranteed a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under IDEA and Alaska State Regulations. Under IDEA, a child can qualify as having a disability under one of the following eligibility categories:
Other Health Impairment
Specific Learning Disability
Early Childhood Developmental Delay
Speech or Language Impairment
Traumatic Brain Injury
Section 504 defines disabled as "any person who has a physical or mental disability which substantially limits a major life activity or has a record of such a disability or is regarded as having such a disability". Please refer to the contacts above for more information about whether your child may qualify for services under IDEA or Section 504.
Rights of Children with Disabilities
IDEA provides for a "Free Appropriate Public Education" to all children experiencing disabilities.
This means an education at no cost that addresses each child's unique needs based on an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) which is provided in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Based on LRE, each child must be educated with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. Any removal from the general education setting must be necessary and justified based on the child's individual needs. IDEA places a responsibility on parents to become actively involved with their child's education. It also establishes rights to which parents are entitled, known as the Procedural Safeguards.
Services Available to Children with Disabilities
The Anchorage School District provides comprehensive educational services to children who experience disabilities and have additional needs beyond those, which can be met by the general education program. Services are designed by an IEP team, including the parent, to be provided in the Least Restrictive Environment. IDEA requires that a continuum of special education placements is available, which includes support in the general education classroom supervised by special education or related services personnel, direct service by special education personnel in the general classroom, pull-out from the general education classroom with service from special educational personnel, self-contained special education classrooms, special schools, home or hospital instruction or instruction in an institution. In addition to special education services, the IEP team may determine a need for related services which may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, specialized nursing services, audiology services and transportation.
ASD maintains the confidentiality of information relating to students with disabilities. The district must obtain written consent before disclosing personally identifiable information to any person other than a school employee who has a legitimate educational interest, employees of the school in which the child is enrolled, or a representative of the United States Department of Education or the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.