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Section 1

ak dept education

special ed handbook


There are two phases involved in establishing that a child has a disability and requires special education. The first phase is identification. The second phase is evaluation.

Identification requires appropriately identifying children who need to be evaluated. Evaluation must be as extensive as necessary to determine whether a child is eligible for special education and to develop a comprehensive special education program. This part of the handbook addresses the components of the Identification Process; Part III covers the Evaluation and Eligibility process.

Each District must establish and implement an ongoing system to identify and locate children, birth through 21 years of age, suspected of having a disability who reside within the District, regardless of the severity of the disability. The system must include highly mobile children (migrant or homeless), children who have been suspended or expelled, children suspected of having a disability even though they are advancing from grade to grade as well as children who are enrolled in public schools (including charter and correspondence programs), private and parochial schools, are educated in their homes by a parent or legal guardian, or in educational programs in correctional or youth detention facilities in the District.

The Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) conducts Child Find activities for children from birth through 3 years of age. Districts are strongly encouraged to coordinate and collaborate with their local infant learning program (ILP) in Child Find activities and to establish interagency agreements outlining each agency's responsibilities in relation to Child Find.The components and procedures of the system must be detailed in a written Child Find Plan.The basic components to be addressed in the plan are:
  1. Identification of Child Find Coordinator
  2. Coordination of Child Find activities
  3. Annual public notice
  4. Referrals
  5. Screening
Each of these components is discussed in more detail in the following section(s).

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