About Exceptionalities


Click an Exceptionality in the menu below to see more information.

AutismBlind and Low VisionDeafblindnessDeafness
Developmental DelayEmotional/Behavior DisorderGiftedHard of Hearing
Mental ImpairmentOrthopedic ImpairmentOther Health ImpairmentSpecific Learing Disabilities
Speech and Language ImpairmentTraumatic Brain Injury

 

Autism

Eligibility Criteria for Autism

 

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as astudent with autism when all of the following criteria are met:

1. Documentation will assure that the student meets a total of six (or more) items from a., b.,and c., with at least two from a, and one each from b and c:

a. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of thefollowing:

1) Marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such aseye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, bodypostures, and gestures to regulatesocial interaction;

2) Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level;

3) A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, orachievements with other people (e.g., by a lack  of showing, bringing, orpointing out objects of interest);

4) Lack of social or emotional reciprocity.

b. Qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of thefollowing:

1) Delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (notaccompanied by an attempt to compensate  through alternative modes ofcommunication such as gesture or mime);

2) In individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability toinitiate or sustain a conversation with  others;

3) Stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language;

4) Lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative playappropriate to developmental level.

c. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, andactivities, as manifested by at least one of  the following:

1) Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restrictedpatterns of interest that is abnormal  either in intensity or focus;

2) Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines orrituals;

3) Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or fingerflapping or twisting, or complex whole-bodymovements);

4) Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.

2. The student is diagnosed as having autism by a psychiatrist, physician, licensedpsychologist or school psychologist.

3. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance.

4. The student needs special education.

5. The student’s educational performance is not adversely affected primarily

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B. Blindness and Low Vision

Definition: Blindness and low vision refers to an impairment in vision that, even with correction,

adversely affects a student’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness

and includes students ages three through twenty-one.

 

Eligibility Criteria for Blindness and Low Vision

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a

student with blindness and low vision when all of the following criteria are met:

1. The student has a documented visual impairment, not primarily perceptual in nature, as determined by an optometrist, ophthalmologist or neurologist:

a. Measured acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye with correction at distance or near;

b. Visual field restriction of twenty degrees or less in the better eye;

c. A deteriorating eye condition which will result in loss of visual efficiency (e.g., glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, or macular degeneration); or

d. A visual loss caused by a disturbance of the posterior visual pathway and/or cortex.

2. The student’s physical eye condition, even with correction, adversely affects educational

performance.

3. The student needs special education.

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C. Deafblindness

Definition: Deafblindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs designed solely for students with deafness or blindness or students who are hard of hearing or partially sighted. This category includes students ages three through twenty-one.

 

Eligibility Criteria for Deafblindness

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student with deafblindness when all of the following criteria are met:

1. The student exhibits characteristics consistent with the definition.

2. The student is diagnosed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist for vision loss and by anotologist, otolaryngologist, or audiologist for hearing loss.

3. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance.

4. The student needs special education.

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D. Deafness

Definition: Deafness is a hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, which adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

Eligibility Criteria for Deafness

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student who is deaf when all of the following criteria are met:

1. The student exhibits characteristics consistent with the definition and relies primarily on vision to access spoken communication.

2. The student has been diagnosed by an otologist, otolaryngologist, or audiologist as having a hearing loss.

3. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance.

4. The student needs special education.

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E. Developmental Delay

Cognition; Physical development including gross motor and/or fine motor skills; Communication; Social/emotional/affective development; and/or Self-help skills.

 Eligibility Criteria for Developmental Delay

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student with developmental delay when all of the following criteria are met:

1. The student exhibits characteristics consistent with the definition.

2. The student needs special education.

Special Considerations

1. Special education and related services for the eligible student with a developmental delay will be provided as of the student's third birthday when eligibility is determined prior to the third birthday.

2. Each district will participate in transition planning conferences arranged by the designated lead agency for Part C.

3. For a student transitioning from a Part C early intervention program, an interagency transition plan must be developed to assure that by the time a student turns three years of age either an IEP or Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) which meets the requirements of Chapter 5, Section 2. IEP Development of these regulations has been developed and implemented by the district.

4. For a student who turns three years old in the spring/summer, the district is responsible for implementation of the IEP or IFSP services for students as of the third birthday, regardless of which agency provides the services.

5. If appropriate, a student who turns three years old in the fall may begin Part B services under the local educational agency at the beginning of the school year preceding the third birthday.

6. If the developmental delay is the result of a vision and/or hearing loss, eligibility shall be determined under that exceptionality if the student meets the eligibility for that exceptionality.

7. When a student reaches age six, he or she no longer meets the eligibility criteria for developmental delay; therefore, the IEP Team must follow procedures for reevaluation and reconvene the eligibility committee prior to the student’s 6th birthday to determine eligibility under another exceptionality.

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F. Emotional/Behavioral Disorder

Definition: An emotional/behavioral disorder means a condition in which a student exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a student’s educational performance:

  1. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
  2. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
  3. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
  4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
  5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems; or
  6. Schizophrenia. The term does not include students who are socially maladjusted unless it is determined they have an emotional/behavioral disorder.

Eligibility Criteria for Emotional/Behavioral Disorder

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student with an emotional/behavioral disorder when all of the following criteria are met:

1. The student continues to exhibit an emotional/behavioral disorder consistent with the definition after Targeted and Intensive interventions have been implemented within the Support for Personalized Learning framework (e.g., as documented in the WVEIS on the Web Interventions Tab.

2. The student has been observed exhibiting one or more of the characteristics listed in the definition of emotional/behavioral disorder and the characteristics have been observed and documented:

a. For a long period of time; and

b. By more than one knowledgeable observer trained in data gathering; and

c. In more than one setting; and

d. At a level of frequency, duration, and/or intensity that is significantly different from the student’s peers in the same or similar circumstances.

3. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance in the area of academics, peer and/or teacher interaction, and/or participation in class/school activities.

4. The student exhibits behavior(s) that is not primarily the result of physical, sensory or intellectual deficits.

5. The student needs special education.

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G. Gifted

Definition: Giftedness is exceptional intellectual abilities and potential for achievement that requires specially designed instruction and/or services beyond those normally provided in the general classroom instruction.

Eligibility Criteria for Gifted, Grades One through Eight:

  1. General intellectual ability score at the 97th percentile rank or higher on a comprehensive test of intellectual ability in consideration of 1.0 standard error of measurement (see approved test list for the identification of gifted students in Appendix A);
  2. At least one of the four core curriculum areas of academic achievement at the 90th percentile rank or higher as measured by an individual standardized achievement test, or at least one of the four core curriculum areas of classroom performance demonstrating exceptional functioning as determined during the multidisciplinary evaluation; and
  3. The need for specially designed, differentiated instruction and/or services beyond those normally provided in the general classroom. Differentiated instruction for gifted students may include enrichment of the content emphasizing the development of higher-level thinking, including critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem solving skills and/or acceleration of content while the student remains in the chronologically appropriate grade. Related services may include, for example, guidance and counseling, independent study and distance learning. This is not an all-inclusive list.

Special Considerations:

1. Intellectual Ability. If the student’s general intellectual ability score is unduly affected by performance in one or more composite scores, the evaluator may use, for purposes of eligibility, an alternate general ability index or an individual composite measure as permitted in the test manual or other technical reports. The evaluator must include a statement in the report indicating which score is the better indicator of the student’s intellectual abilities and the supporting reasons for this determination.

2. Historically Under-represented Gifted Population. Historically Under-represented Gifted Population are those students whose giftedness may not be apparent due to low socioeconomic status, a disability in accordance with this policy, or a background that is linguistically or culturally different. If it is determined that the eligibility criteria and/or assessment instruments discriminate against a student because the student belongs to a historically under-represented gifted population, eligibility for gifted services shall be based upon criteria that complement the definition and eligibility for gifted as described in this policy. To determine whether a student demonstrates the potential for intellectual giftedness when the student does not meet the eligibility criteria as described in this policy, the eligibility committee must consider all data gathered by the multidisciplinary evaluation team. These data include, but are not limited to, individual achievement, group achievement, classroom performance, teacher input, inventories, scales, checklists, student product(s) and parent information. The following lists different procedures that the eligibility committee may use in determining eligibility of a student who belongs to a historically under-represented population. This is not an exhaustive list.

a. Using an alternative assessment to identify giftedness in minority students.

b. Using a matrix to get a total picture.

c. Using parent, student, and teacher rating scales to give added information.

Eligibility Criteria for Exceptional Gifted, Grades Nine through Twelve

Before the end of the eighth grade year, the IEP Team will:

1. Conduct a reevaluation determination to review existing evaluation data which includes the following:

a. Evaluations and information provided by the parents of the student;

b. Current classroom-based assessments and observations; and

c. Observations by teachers and related service providers; and

2. On the basis of that review, identify what additional data, if any, are needed to determine that a student is eligible for special education services as an exceptional gifted student in grades nine through twelve using one or more of the following criteria:

a. The eligibility criteria for one or more of the disabilities as defined in this section; and/or

b. The definition for economically disadvantaged; and/or

c. The definition for underachievement, which takes into consideration the student's ability level, educational performance and achievement levels; and/or

d. The definition for psychological adjustment disorder as documented by a comprehensive psychological evaluation.

3. If the student is eligible as exceptional gifted, the district must develop an IEP. If the student is not eligible as exceptional gifted, the IEP Team must write a four-year plan that appropriately addresses the student’s educational needs. The four-year education plan replaces the Individualized Student Transition Plan (ISTP) and, includes honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes that must be provided for the student in grades 9-12. The implementation and annual review of this plan are required of the district. The review team must include the student, parent and school representative.

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H. Hard of Hearing

Definition: Hard of hearing is an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.

Eligibility Criteria for Hard of Hearing

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student who is hard of hearing when all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The student exhibits characteristics consistent with the definition and relies primarily on hearing to access spoken communication.
  2. The student has been diagnosed by an otologist, otolaryngologist, or audiologist as having a hearing loss.
  3. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance.
  4. The student needs special education.

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I. Intellectual Disability

Definition: Intellectual disability is defined as significantly subaverage intellectual functioning that exists concurrently with deficits in adaptive skill areas. These deficits are manifested during the developmental period and adversely affect the student’s educational performance.

Eligibility Criteria for Intellectual Disability

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student with an intellectual disability when all of the following criteria are met:

1. General intellectual functioning:

a. The student with mild to moderate intellectual disability has general intellectual functioning ranging from two to three standard deviations below the mean, in consideration of 1.0 standard error of measurement as determined by a qualified psychologist, using an individually administered intelligence test; or

b. The student with moderate to severe intellectual disability has general intellectual functioning more than three standard deviations below the mean, in consideration of 1.0 standard error of measurement as determined by a qualified psychologist, using an individually administered intelligence test; and

2. The student exhibits concurrent deficits in adaptive functioning expected for his or her age in at least two of the following areas: communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, or safety; and

3. The age of onset is eighteen or below; and

4. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance; and

5. The student needs special education. Caution is advised when assessing students with cultural and language issues to prevent inappropriate identification of these students as having a cognitive impairment. When determining eligibility, tests measuring intellectual ability must be used with care; that is, only those tests designed and normed for the population being tested may be used. Tests measuring intellectual ability that are translated into another language by the examiner or an interpreter yield invalid test results and must not be used as the basis of the eligibility determination. Evaluation teams must consider using nonverbal tests of intellectual ability when the student is culturally or linguistically diverse.

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J. Orthopedic Impairment

Definition: Orthopedic impairment means a severe physical limitation that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., spina bifida, congenital amputation, osteogenesis imperfecta), an impairment caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), or an impairment from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, fractures or burns that cause contracture).

Eligibility Criteria for Orthopedic Impairment

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student with an orthopedic impairment when documentation of all of the following criteria exists:

  1. The student exhibits characteristics consistent with the definition.
  2. The student has an orthopedic impairment diagnosed and described by a licensed physician.
  3. The existence of educational needs as a result of the orthopedic impairment.
  4. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance.
  5. The student needs special education.

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K. Other Health Impairment

Definition:  Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment that is due to chronic or acute health problems. These health problems may include, but are not limited to, asthma, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, Tourette syndrome and stroke to such a degree that it adversely affects the student’s educational performance.

Eligibility Criteria for Other Health Impairment

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student with an other health impairment when documentation of all of the following criteria exists:

  1. The student exhibits characteristics consistent with the definition;
  2. The student has a chronic or acute medical or health condition as diagnosed and described by a licensed physician; and
  3. The existence of educational needs as a result of the medical or health condition.
  4. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance.
  5. The student needs special education.

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L. Specific Learning Disability

Definition: Specific learning disability (SLD) means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculation, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

Disorders/Conditions Not Included:

Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, intellectual disability, emotional/behavioral disorder or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

A student must not be determined to have a specific learning disability if the determinant factor is any of the following:

  1. Lack of appropriate instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction as defined in the No Child Left Behind Act (i.e., phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension);
  2. Lack of appropriate instruction in math; or
  3. Limited English proficiency.

Eligibility Committee (EC) Membership for SLD Determination:

Districts shall use a process based on the student’s response to scientific, research-based intervention in accordance with the timelines listed below:

Elementary Schools - Reading July 1, 2009

Elementary Schools - Mathematics July 1, 2010

Middle Schools July 1, 2011

High Schools July 1, 2012

Eligibility Committees using either a student’s response to scientific, research-based intervention decision process, or the severe discrepancy formula while it remains authorized, must draw upon information from a variety of assessment tools and strategies and may not rely on any single procedure for determining eligibility for special education and related services. Examples of sources include formative and summative assessments, ongoing progress monitoring, aptitude and achievement tests, cognitive assessments, parent input, and teacher recommendations as well as information about the student’s physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior. The EC must also ensure that information obtained from all of these sources is documented and carefully considered.

ELIGBILITY DETERMINATION: SUPPORT FOR PERSONALIZED LEARNING

Definition. Support for Personalized Learning (SPL) is a framework of multiple supports for all students and includes the process referred to as response to intervention (RTI). SPL includes: 1) Providing highquality instruction matched to student needs; 2) screening all students for academic and behavior concerns; 3) continuous monitoring of student performance; and 4) using learning rate over time and level of performance to make important educational decisions. It is a systematic multi-level approach for supporting the diverse needs of students in both academic and behavioral domains through differentiated instruction and targeted and intensive interventions based on ongoing assessments of student performance. This process is characterized by procedures aligned with the steps of problem solving and documents a student’s response or non-response to general education instruction and the student’s academic performance in comparison to grade-level standards.

Components of Multi-Level Instruction and Intervention

Research based practices that support the SPL approach include scientifically based curricula and instruction, multi-level instruction models, progress monitoring, formative assessment, systematic analysis of academic and behavioral needs by problem solving teams and matching instruction to specific skill deficits and strengths as evidenced by formative assessment. A multi-level framework of service delivery features increasing intensities of instruction in direct proportion to student needs. Embedded in each level are research based instructional practices customized to increase student achievement of targeted skills. Ongoing assessment of student mastery of Stateapproved grade-level skills is fundamental, and frequent progress monitoring data are used to identify and adjust appropriate target areas for instructional support.

Parent Notice Requirements

If a student participates in the SPL process, the district must notify the student’s parents, and maintain documentation that the student’s parents were notified, about the following:

  1. The state’s policies regarding the amount and nature of student performance data that would be collected and the general education services that would be provided;
  2. Strategies for increasing the student’s rate of learning; and
  3. The parent’s right to request an evaluation at any time throughout the SPL process. When a student has been provided an opportunity to learn with the additional targeted and intensive supports provided within the multi-level instructional framework described below, and the student’s documented instructional response indicates a need for long-term specially designed instruction, a request for parental consent for initial evaluation for special education and related services may be made. If consent is given, the student must be evaluated, and eligibility must be determined within 80 days of receipt of parental consent, unless the evaluation timeline is extended by mutual written agreement of the student’s parents and the Eligibility Committee.

Core Instruction

Core Instruction includes universal screening of all students to determine levels of proficiency or mastery of grade-level content, skills and knowledge. All students are screened at the beginning of the school year to determine which students are at risk for not meeting grade-level standards. Those identified students at risk or not making progress also are screened at the middle and end of the year. Instruction in Core is aimed at general education classroom instructional objectives that enhance learning within the core academic program. Classrooms are characterized by differentiated and scaffolded instruction, use of scientific, research based instructional methods, and ongoing monitoring of student progress. Students who do not achieve mastery on essential State-approved grade-level standards, as substantiated by assessment results, are identified for additional supports at the Targeted Level by a problem-solving team.

Targeted Instruction

The primary goal of Targeted Instruction is to provide short-term strategic instruction to support all students who are performing below State-approved grade-level standards.. Targeted Instruction is in addition to Core Instruction and is provided to small groups of students with similar instructional needs. Instructional supports may be developed through a problem-solving approach use of academic or behavioral assessments to craft individualized plans or a standard treatment protocol (use of a specific evidence-based practice). Targeted Instruction begins after students have been identified as achieving below State-approved grade-level standards and have demonstrated a lack of response to Core Instruction. Students supported by Targeted Instruction receive small group instruction in addition to the time provided to all students in the core instructional block. Explicit instruction to address specific needs is used. Targeted Instruction should be implemented for a minimum of one nine week period, with progress monitoring occurring every two to three weeks to adjust instruction and ensure mastery. Targeted Instruction continues only until the specific concept or behavior is in place (usually short-term). Targeted Instruction may be longer depending on student progress toward benchmarks. Three to five 15 to 30 minute sessions per week are suggested. Subject area, programmatic level and time frame defined by the instructional materials are pertinent variables.

Intensive Instruction

The third level, Intensive Instruction, is designed to provide explicit instruction to students who do not make sufficient progress even when provided focused small group supports. Targeted Instruction must be documented prior to moving a student to Intensive. Intensive Instruction is provided in a small group setting or, as warranted, individual settings. Intensive Instruction should be implemented for a minimum of one nine week period, but could be longer depending on student progress toward benchmark. Progress monitoring occurs every one to two weeks, and formative assessments are used confirm the student’s response to instruction. Three to five 30 to 60 minute sessions per week are suggested. When evidence suggests instructional supports at Intensive Level will be needed long-term, a request for a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility for special education and related services should be considered.

Components of a Systematic Problem Solving Process

Systematic problem solving refers to a set of procedures used by an instructional team to examine and analyze the nature and severity of a student’s academic or behavioral need. Parent participation is a key component in the process, which includes the following components:

Identify and Define Needs

The student’s academic or behavioral need is explained in objective, measurable terms. Both the student and the learning environments are analyzed through data collection (e.g., screening, classroom walkthroughs, observations). The match or mismatch between the learner and his or her learning environment is described.

Analyze the Problem

The goal of problem analysis is to determine why this problem or need is occurring. Additional data are collected on the specific academic and/or behavioral need noted in the problem description. Data must be collected over a period of time and must be representative of the student’s typical academic performance and/or behavior in the learning environment. Data collection procedures must be reliable, designed for individual student assessment and allow for repeated measurement of the same skills or behavior over time. Use the data to analyze the problem and explore specific evidence-based instruction to address the need.

Develop a Plan

Design an individual student instructional plan by using the data collected over time. Establish the instructional goal(s) for the plan, and describe the instruction to be provided. Include a progress monitoring plan, persons responsible for implementation and projected timelines.

Implement and Monitor the Plan

The plan is monitored for the integrity of implementation. Progress monitoring refers to a systematic, frequent collection of individual performance data. The measures are repeated over time and charted for documentation purposes.

Evaluate and Adjust the Plan

Evaluate the effectiveness of the instruction provided by comparing the student’s initial level of performance to performance results achieved as a result of implementing the instructional plan. If the instruction is not producing the desired results, adjust the instructional plan based on the data.

Eligibility Standards

Using the SPL process and comprehensive assessment the EC determines eligibility for specific learning disability based on the following standards for comparison. Each standard must be discussed at the EC meeting and corresponding documentation must be on file for each student.

Standard 1- Level of Learning

The first element in identifying a student with a specific learning disability is whether the student does not achieve adequately for his/her age or does not meet State-approved grade level standards in one or more of the following areas, when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the student’s age or State-approved grade-level standards:

  1. Oral expression;
  2. Listening comprehension;
  3. Written expression;
  4. Basic reading skill;
  5. Reading fluency skills;
  6. Reading comprehension;
  7. Mathematics calculation; or Mathematics problem solving. The performance measure used to verify this standard must be both representative of the student’s curriculum and useful for instructional planning. The student’s response to customized instruction must be documented.

Documentation: Results of formative assessments administered pre- and post-instruction Cumulative record reviews; Student class work samples; and Anecdotal teacher records.

Standard 2- Rate of Learning

The second element in identifying a student with a specific learning disability is whether the student has made sufficient progress to meet age or state-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the areas identified in Standard 1 in response to carefully planned and explicitly delivered instruction. The data used to determine if this standard has been met are developed through ongoing progress monitoring of the student’s performance during an intervention period. This standard is met when the student’s learning rate or growth toward target skills is substantially below grade-level peers and, based on progress monitoring data (i.e., charting), a reasonable rate of progress cannot be projected even when the student is provided supplemental intervention instruction of reasonable intensity and duration.

Documentation:

Progress monitoring data collected before, during and after the provision of at least one nine weeks of Targeted instruction and one nine weeks of Intensive instruction; and Records indicating specific instruction provided, including frequency and duration (e.g., instructional plan, WVEIS on the Web Interventions Tab, daily lesson plan).

Standard 3- Exclusion Factors

The final standard by which the EC may determine SLD eligibility is the assurance that the student’s underachievement is not primarily the result of any of the following:

  1. A visual, hearing, or motor disability;
  2. Intellectual disability;
  3. Behavior/emotional disorder;
  4. Cultural factors;
  5. Environmental or economic disadvantage; or
  6. Limited English proficiency.

Documentation:

Formal educational, cognitive and/or medical evaluation reports; Formative assessments and progress monitoring data; and Functional academic and/or behavioral assessments. Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses Subsequent to ( in addition to) verification of the Level of Learning, Rate of Learning and Exclusion Factors, the EC may confirm the presence of a learning disability through assessment of intra-individual differences in performance and intellectual development, including areas such as working and long term memory, processing speed, executive functioning and non-verbal problem solving. In addition to not achieving adequately on age or State-approved grade level achievement standards, a specific learning disability may be confirmed if the student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, State-approved grade-level standards, or intellectual development, that is determined by the EC to be relevant to the identification of a specific learning disability, using appropriate assessments.

Formal educational, cognitive and/or medical evaluation reports; Formative assessments and progress monitoring data; and Functional academic and/or behavioral assessments Validating Underachievement As in determining all other areas of disability, the EC must ensure that the underachievement of a student suspected of having a specific learning disability is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading/English language arts, written expression or mathematics, and the team must consider, as part of the evaluation described in Chapter 3, Section 4, the following factors:

  1. Data that demonstrate that prior to or as part of the referral process, the student was provided appropriate instruction in general education settings; and
  2. Data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student progress during instruction (i.e., formative and progress monitoring data), which was provided to the student’s parents.

Observation Requirement

The student suspected of having a specific learning disability must be observed in the learning environment, including the general classroom setting, to document the student’s academic performance and behavior in the areas of difficulty. The EC must decide to:

  1. Use information from an observation in routine classroom instruction and monitoring of the student’s performance that was done before the student was referred for evaluation; or
  2. Have at least one member of the evaluation team conduct an observation of the student’s academic performance in the general classroom after the student has been referred for an evaluation and parental consent is obtained. In the case of a student of less than school age or out of school, a group member must observe the student in an environment appropriate for a student of that age. The purpose of the observation is to document how the academic concern impacts the student’s academic performance. The observation must also document the name and title of the observer and the site, date and duration of the observation.

Documentation of Student Response to Multi-Level Instruction

A thorough review of the following types of documentation will assist the EC in its eligibility determination. Most of this information is gathered and recorded throughout the natural course of a student’s instruction, and intervention and does not necessarily constitute additional paperwork requirements.

A chronology of the student’s educational history (i.e., preschool participation, grade retention, special education services, cumulative attendance)

Formative/classroom and progress monitoring data (e.g., Acuity probes, DIBELS graphs)

Specific documentation of the nature and intensity of general classroom instruction that evidences high quality instruction in reading/English language arts and mathematics (e.g., lesson plans)

Comprehensive documentation of the nature (i.e., group size), frequency and duration of customized instruction results (e.g., instruction plans).

Additional achievement/performance data (e.g., results of informal classroom assessments, teacher observations, grades, behavior data)

Formal evaluation reports (e.g., standardized psychological and academic assessments)

Written Report Requirements: SLD Team Report

The SLD Team Report must contain a statement of:

1. Whether the student has a specific learning disability;

2. The basis for making the determination, including an assurance that the determination has been made in accordance with required evaluation procedures specified in Chapter 3, Section 4;

3. The relevant behavior, if any, noted during the observation of the student and the relationship of that behavior to the student’s academic functioning; and

4. The educationally relevant medical findings, if any;

5. Whether:

a. The student does not achieve adequately for the student’s age or to meet state approved grade-level standards; and

b. The student does not make sufficient progress to meet age or state-approved grade-level standards; or

c. The student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, state-approved grade-level standards or intellectual development.

6. The determination of the group concerning the effects of a visual, hearing, or motor disability; intellectual disability; emotional/behavioral disorder; cultural factors, environmental or economic disadvantage; or limited English proficiency on the student’s achievement level.

7. If the student has participated in the Support for Personalized Learning process (scientific, research-based instruction):

a. The instructional strategies used and the student-centered data collected; and

b. The documentation that the student’s parents were notified about:

1. The state’s policies regarding the amount and nature of student performance data that would be collected and the general education services that would be provided;

2. Strategies for increasing the student’s rate of learning; and

3. The parent’s right to request an evaluation at any time throughout the SPL process.

Dissenting Opinions:

This report must be dated and evaluation team members must certify in writing whether the report reflects each team member’s conclusions. If the report does not reflect an individual team member’s conclusions, that team member must submit a separate statement presenting the member’s conclusions.

Parent Notice Requirements

If a student has participated in an SPL process, the district must document that the student’s parents were notified about the following:

  1. The state’s policies regarding the amount and nature of student performance data that would be collected and the general education services that would be provided;
  2. Strategies for increasing the student’s rate of learning; and
  3. The parents’ right to request an evaluation at any time throughout the SPL process.

ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION: SEVERE DISCREPANCY MODEL

Districts may use the severe discrepancy model at the high school level until June 30, 2012. Using a severe discrepancy formula, the EC may determine SLD based on the following documentation: General intellectual functioning at or above one standard deviation below the mean, in consideration of 1.0 standard error of measurement; and A severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in one of more of the following areas:

a. Oral expression;

b. Listening comprehension;

c. Written expression;

d. Basic reading skill;

e. Reading fluency skills;

f. Reading comprehension;

g. Mathematics calculation; or

h. Mathematics problem solving.

The discrepancy is determined by a comparison of age-based standard scores of ability and achievement. A regression formula is used to determine the severity of the discrepancy. A severe discrepancy is defined as a minimum of 1.75 standard deviations difference, taking regression and 1.0 standard error measurement into account. A method utilizing the standard error of the difference scores shall be used only if the technical data (i.e., test correlations) necessary to account for the effect of regression are not available.

The EC may determine SLD eligibility only with the assurance that the student’s underachievement is not primarily the result of any of the following:

  1. A visual, hearing or motor disability;
  2. intellectual disability;
  3. Emotional/behavioral disorder;
  4. Cultural factors;
  5. Environmental or economic disadvantage; or
  6. Limited English proficiency.

Additional requirements for SLD eligibility, including validating underachievement, observation requirement and SLD Team Report must be completed as stated under Eligibility Determination: Supports for Personalized Learning.

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M. Speech/Language Impairment

Definition: A speech/language impairment means a speech/language impairment such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment or a voice impairment that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. See Appendix B for Documentation of Adverse Effects on Educational Performance for Students with Speech/language Disorders.

Language Impairment: A language impairment is a disorder or delay in the development of comprehension and/or the uses of spoken or written language and/or other symbol systems. The impairment may involve any one or a combination of the following:

  • Form (morphological and syntactic systems);
  • Content (semantic systems); and/or
  • Function (pragmatic systems).

Eligibility Criteria for Language Impairment

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education and/or related services as a student who has a language impairment when all of the following criteria are met:

  1. Two or more procedures, at least one of which yields a standard score, are used to assess receptive language and/or expressive language.
  2. Language - A student with a language impairment exhibits:
  3. Language abilities significantly below expected language performance for the students' chronological age and cognitive stage of development; and
  4. A language quotient (LQ) of at least 1.5 standard deviations (SD) below the mean; or
  5. A severe deficit in receptive, expressive or pragmatic language which prevents functional communication in school and/or social situations as measured by formal and/or informal diagnostic procedures.
  6. The student’s disability adversely affects educational performance. See Appendix B for Documentation of Adverse Effects on Educational Performance for Students with Speech/Language Disorders.
  7. The student needs special education. (Speech/language therapy can be special education or a related service.)

Speech Impairment: Speech Impairments include articulation/phonology disorders, voice disorders, or fluency disorders. The following eligibility criteria and minimum assessment procedures have been established for all three types of speech impairments.

Definition for Articulation/Phonology Disorder:

  • Articulation disorders are incorrect productions of speech sounds including omissions, distortions, substitutions, and/or additions that may:

1) Interfere with communication;

2) Draw unfavorable attention to the speaker;

3) Adversely affect the speaker or listener; or

4) Are inappropriate to the age of the speaker.

  • Phonology disorders are errors involving phonemes, sound patterns and the rules governing their combinations that may:

1) Interfere with communication;

2) Draw unfavorable attention to the speaker;

3) Adversely affect the speaker or listener; or

4) Are inappropriate to the age of the speaker.

Eligibility Criteria for Articulation/Phonology Disorder

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education and related services as a student who has an articulation/phonology disorder (speech impairment) when all of the following criteria are met:

  1. At least two procedures are used to assess the student, one of which is a standardized measure.
  2. Application of developmental norms from diagnostic tests verifies that speech sounds may not develop without intervention.
  3. The student’s disability adversely affects educational performance.
  4. The student needs special education. (Speech/language therapy can be special education or a related service.)

Fluency Disorder: A fluency disorder consists of stoppages in the flow of speech that are abnormally frequent and/or abnormally long. The stoppages usually take the form of repetitions of sounds, syllables, or single syllable words; prolongations of sounds; or blockages of airflow and/or voicing in speech.

  1. A fluency disorder exists when an abnormal rate of speaking, speech, interruptions, repetitions, prolongations, blockages of airflow and/or voicing interferes with effective communication.
  2. A fluency disorder does not exist when developmental dysfluencies are part of normal speech development and do not interfere with educational or developmental performance.

Eligibility Criteria for Fluency Disorder: An eligibility committee will determine that an individual is eligible for special education and/or related services as a student who has a fluency disorder (speech impairment) when all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The student has a fluency rating of moderate or severe on the Fluency Communication Rating Scale for students age three through twenty-one years. See Appendix C for Fluency Communication Rating Scale.
  2. The student’s disability adversely affects educational performance.
  3. The student needs special education. (Speech/language therapy can be special education or a related service.)

Voice Disorder: Voice disorders are the absence or abnormal production of voice quality, pitch, intensity, or resonance. Voice disorders may be the result of a functional or an organic condition.

Definition for Articulation/Phonology Disorder:

  • Articulation disorders are incorrect productions of speech sounds including omissions, distortions, substitutions, and/or additions that may:

1) Interfere with communication;

2) Draw unfavorable attention to the speaker;

3) Adversely affect the speaker or listener; or

4) Are inappropriate to the age of the speaker.

  • Phonology disorders are errors involving phonemes, sound patterns and the rules governing their combinations that may:

1) Interfere with communication;

2) Draw unfavorable attention to the speaker;

3) Adversely affect the speaker or listener; or

4) Are inappropriate to the age of the speaker.

A voice disorder exists when the vocal characteristics of quality, pitch, intensity, or resonance:

  • Interfere with communication;
  • Draw unfavorable attention to the speaker;
  • Adversely affect the speaker or listener; or
  • Are inappropriate to the age and gender of the speaker.

A voice disorder does not exist when the vocal characteristics of quality, pitch, intensity, or resonance:

  • Are the result of temporary physical factors such as allergies, colds, or abnormal tonsils or adenoids;
  • Are the result of regional dialectic or cultural differences or economic disadvantage; or
  • Do not interfere with educational or developmental performance.

Eligibility Criteria for Voice Disorder: An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education and/or related services as a student who has a voice disorder (speech impairment) when all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The student has a voice production rating of moderate or severe on the Voice Rating Scale for students ages three through twenty-one years. See Appendix D for Voice Rating Scale.
  2. The existence or absence of a structural or functional pathology is verified by an otolaryngologist.
  3. The student’s disability adversely affects educational performance.
  4. The student needs special education. (Speech/language therapy can be special education or a related service.)

Special Considerations:

  1. Lack of discrepancy between cognitive level (i.e., mental age) and communication performance (i.e., language age) shall not be the sole factor to determine a severely speech and language disordered student's eligibility for services. Other factors that must be considered are informal evaluation results, physical ability, educational and therapy history.
  2. A student’s eligibility for speech and language services cannot be determined on the basis of having a primary language other than English or a language difference. Appropriate evaluation must verify the presence of an impairment in the primary and/or all languages spoken.
  3. When verbal communication is not an effective means of communication for the student, the student must be evaluated to determine the need for an alternative means of communication, such as an augmentative communication device.

N. Traumatic Brain Injury

Definition: Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not apply to congenital or degenerative brain injuries or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

Eligibility Criteria for Traumatic Brain Injury

An eligibility committee will determine that a student is eligible for special education services as a student who has a traumatic brain injury when all of the following criteria are met:

  1. 1. The student has an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in a total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both as diagnosed by a licensed physician.
  2. The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance.
  3. The student needs special education.

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