Special education is governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and is defined as “specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.”
In Maine, the rule chapter that is specific to the education of children with disabilities is Maine Department of Education Regulations, Chapter 101, Maine Unified Special Education Regulation Birth to Age Twenty (MUSER).
Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met.
Section 504 states that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…” [29 U.S.C. §794(a), 34 C.F.R. §104.4(a)].
Multi-tiered systems of support take a proactive approach to identifying students with academic or social-emotional needs. Early assessment and intervention for these students can help them catch up with their peers sooner. The key components of MTSS include:
Universal screening of all students early in the school year
Tiers of interventions that can be amplified in response to levels of need
Ongoing data collection and continual assessment
Schoolwide approach to expectations and supports
Adapted from: “What Is MTSS?: A Multi-Tiered System of Supports.” PBIS Rewards, 5 Mar. 2019, www.pbisrewards.com/blog/what-is-mtss/
English learners are students with a primary or home language other than English. Schools that serve English learners offer a variety of supports to ensure that these students can meet the same challenging academic standards as their peers while also acquiring English.
M.S.A.D. #6 is required to locate, evaluate and identify any child residing in the district who qualifies for Special Education services. Children eligible for special education include those children with disabilities who have autism, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment, or developmental delay and who, because of such impairment, need special education services.
If you suspect your child has a disability and may need special education services, or if you would like additional information, please contact the Office of Special Services at (207) 929-2317.