Special Services
Child Find

Homeless Students
Parent Resources

Special Services Staff

Sue Watson
Director of Special Services

Roberta Bemis
Administrative Assistant

Shirley Kirkpatrick
Social Worker, Day Treatment

Judith Sternal
Speech Pathologist

Kate Taylor
Occupational Therapy


Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three that adversely affects 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 child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional disability.

Deaf-blindness means concomitant visual and hearing 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 children with deafness or children with blindness.

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

Emotional Disturbance
Emotional Disturbance means a condition, which exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period time, and to a marked degree that adversely affects the child's educational performance:
  • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
  • Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances;
  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression;
  • 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 disability.

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

Intellectual Disability
Intellectual Disability means significantly sub average general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behaviors and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affect the child's educational performance.

Multiple Disabilities
Multiple Disabilities means concomitant impairments the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that the child cannot be accommodated in special educational programs solely for one of the impairments.  The term does not include children who have deaf-blindness.

Orthopedic Impairment
Orthopedic Impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance.  The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis) and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).

Other Health Impairment
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, such as asthma, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, or sickle cell anemia, Tourette Syndrome and adversely affects the child's educational performance.

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

Specific Learning Disability
Specific Learning Disability 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 an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.  Specific learning disabilities does not include problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of intellectual disability, of emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural or economical disadvantage.

The IEP team may determine that a student has a specific learning disability if the team finds a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological process AND the student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both.  The pattern cannot primarily be the result of visual, hearing or motor handicaps; intellectual disability; emotional disturbance; or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability or psycho-social impairment or both that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term 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, psycho-social behavior, physical functions, information processing and speech.  The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

Visual Impairment including Blindness
Visual Impairment including Blindness means impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects the child's educational performance.  The term includes both partial sight and blindness.