School District 21 offers a full continuum of
services to children with special needs. These services range from modifications
in curriculum and instructional strategies within the regular classroom to consultations from specific experts, resource settings for students to focus on specific knowledge and skills, district-wide self-contained programs, special day schools, and residential
In meeting the requirements of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), we continue to embrace and support inclusive instructional practices. These practices are designed to provide special education services within the context of the general education classroom to the greatest extent possible.
This means that students with special needs will have membership in a general education classroom and will receive appropriate recommended individualized educational services with general educators, parents and special educators working as a collaborative team. If a student's needs cannot be met with support at his/her neighborhood school, the educational team will determine an appropriate, least restrictive service delivery option that best addresses his/her current needs.
A continuum of special education services is available to support the education of children with disabilities. Services are provided for students who qualify under one or more of the following eligibility categories.
On its own and through participation within the Northwest Suburban Special
Education Organization (NSSEO) and the Low Incidence Cooperative Agreement
(LICA), School District 21 offers services for students in the following areas:
• Speech/language impairment
• Specific learning disability
• Other health impairment
• Mental retardation
• Emotional disturbance
• Hearing impairment
• Orthopedic impairment
• Visual impairment
• Traumatic brain injury
• Multiple disabilities
Social work, psychological services, speech/language therapy, occupational and physical therapy, and adaptive physical education are some of related services provided as individual student needs deem appropriate. Supports may include, as necessary, adaptations, modifications, related service interaction, support teacher services, regular teacher instruction, peer modeling and supports, and district support team consultation.
Students with special needs who require support or specialized instruction for less than 50% of their day in order to access the curriculum receive a “resource” level of programming. These services may be provided within the regular education classroom or in a small group or on an individual basis outside of the classroom for short periods of time. Consultation is provided for staff working with the student. Services may be provided by a variety of professionals including related service providers.
Students requiring or needing support for more than 50% of their day in order to access the curriculum receive an “instructional” level of programming. These students attend their home school building and have membership in a regular education classroom while receiving appropriate services by both regular and special educators working as a collaborative team. This collaborative team has opportunities to discuss student needs and supports and work together in the general education classroom environment.
Students who need additional support above and beyond an instructional general education classroom experience may be considered for a more restrictive program or placement which may be referred to as a self-contained program. Students may be educated in a classroom setting that contains exclusively other disabled students. Students in a self-contained program might be provided with opportunities to interact with non-disabled peers during the school day based on individual student needs and team recommendation. Programmatic decisions are based on student goals, objectives, and educational needs.
Students with significant cognitive or medical challenges may be educated in a multi-needs classroom consistent with the components of cross-categorical programming. Students participating in this program might be engaged in a more functional curriculum, communication skill development and pre-vocational skills.