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What is Special Education


What is Special Education?

Special education is education that is individually tailored to meet the unique needs of a student that result from his or her disability. Special education is provided free of charge by public schools under Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).


Special Education May Be:

  • An individulized education curriculum that is different from same age peers who do not have disabilities 
  • The same curriculum but includes accommodations and modifications
  • A combination of both


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act's (IDEA) definition of Special Education:

Special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including—

(i) Instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and

(ii) Instruction in physical education.


Minnesota has 13 categorical disabilities including:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • Blind-Visually Impaired (BVI)
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH)
  • Deaf-Blind (DB)
  • Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD)
  • Developmental Delay (DD)
  • Emotional or Behavioral Disorders (EBD)
  • Other Health Disabilities (OHD)
  • Physically Impaired (PI)
  • Severely Multiply Impaired (SMI)
  • Specific Learning Disabilties (SLD)
  • Speech or Language Impairments (SLI)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)