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Onteora Central School District
The Special Education Process and Understanding Special Education

We are required, by regulation and law, to ensure that every effort is made to support students through the resources available within the regular education program prior to consideration for referral for special education. We have instituted the following procedure to ensure compliance with this mandate. 

Step 1: When a student is experiencing difficulty in meeting educational expectations, the first step is a parent/teacher conference. 

Step 2: Teacher refers student to the Building Level Child Study Team to brainstorm/discuss strategies with the team to address concerns. 

Step 3: Parent conference with teacher/principal to plan and produce a written pre-referral strategies plan with agreed upon assessment and evaluation timelines.

If the student continues to experience difficulty and a disability is suspected; 

Initial Referral

Individual Evaluation
Determining Eligibility for Services.
Individualized Education Program
Annual Review/Re-evaluation



Parent meets with Director to complete referral packet, which includes:Referral Letter Test Descriptions Consent for Evaluation Parent Handbook Due Process Rights 


(Committee has 60 days from signed consent to complete all the following steps)including at least:Psychological Evaluation Educational Evaluation Evaluations in all areas relating to suspected disability Classroom Observation Physical Examination Social History 


Parent is notified in advance of date, time, place of meeting.Committee convenes and all evaluation information is reviewed.Committee makes a determination if criteria for eligibility has been met.Committee makes a recommendation for services (if eligible).Committee develops an Individualized Education Plan (if eligible).Recommendation is sent to Board of Education for approval. 


Once consent has been received and the recommendation approved by the Board of Education, services begin (within 60 days from the CSE receipt of consent to evaluate)


CSE meets at least once annually to review the child's progress, Review IEP, make recommendations for the upcoming school year and to develop a new or revised IEP. 


Every three years the CSE convenes to review the child's progress.  Parent must give written consent for evaluation to be conducted for the purpose of determining continued eligibility for special education service. 


Understanding the 13 Disabilities recognized in New York State:  

Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional disturbance. A student who manifests the characteristics of autism after age 3 could be diagnosed as having autism if the criteria in this paragraph are otherwise satisfied.

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

Deaf-blindness 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 solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.

Emotional disturbance means a condition exhibiting 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: (i) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors. (ii) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; (iii) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;  (iv) a generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or (v) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to students who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the child's educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.

Learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which manifests itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, of an intellectual disability, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

Intellectual disability means significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

Multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which cause such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.

Orthopedic impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputation, and fractures or burns which cause contractures).

Other health-impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a 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, including but not limited to a heart 200.1 16 condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or tourette syndrome, which adversely affects a student's educational performance.

Speech or language impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a student's educational performance.

Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or by certain medical conditions such as stroke, encephalitis, aneurysm, anoxia or brain tumors with resulting impairments that adversely affect educational performance. The term includes open or closed head injuries or brain injuries from certain medical conditions resulting in mild, moderate or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgement, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not include injuries that are congenital or caused by birth trauma.

Visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.