Special Education

Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology?

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Definition

The term assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.

The term assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. Such term includes...

(A) the evaluation of the needs of such child, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment;

(B) purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by such child;

(C) selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;

(D) coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;

(E) training or technical assistance for such child, or, where appropriate, the family of such child; and

(F) training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education and rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of such child.

AT Categories

There are many categories of assistive technology. When considering assistive technology for a student, it is important to look at each of these categories.

  • Aids for Daily Living
  • Communication
  • Computer Access
  • Hearing
  • Mathematics
  • Organization
  • Positioning, Seating, Mobility
  • Reading
  • Recreation/Leisure
  • Vision
  • Writing

Assistive Technology Considerations

Per IDEA 2004, assistive technology needs to be considered for every student with an IEP, regardless of their disability. It is the responsibility of every IEP team to consider the student's need for assistive technology. Although consideration can occur at many stages of a student's educational journey, it must always be done as part of a team's discussion of special factors at a student's annual review and three-year reevaluation. Consideration is based on the unique IEP goals, IEP benchmarks or objectives, and curricular goals of a student. In addition, a range of assistive technology should be considered, including low/light, mid, and high tech. An IEP team may find that a student requires a system of tools. For example, a student who struggles with the motor aspects of writing may require the following system of tools: adapted pencil for short answers, a word processor for note taking and paragraph writing of one to three paragraphs, and speech recognition software for writing over three paragraphs. Below are some resources that can help guide IEP teams as they work through the consideration process. It is not mandatory to complete this paperwork and attach it to the IEP, but these are recommended resources that team should reference. The IEP team should document the AT Consideration conversation in the Additional Notes page of a student's IEP.

WATI AT Consideration Guide
This guide was developed by the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI) and is highly recommended for IEP teams as they work through the consideration process.

QIAT AT Consideration Guide
This guide was developed by the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) Leadership Team. It is another recommended resource for IEP teams as they work through the assistive technology consideration process.

Child Find/Evaluation/Eligibility

Child Find Obligation, Referral, Case Study Evaluation, and Eligibility

Community Consolidated School District 181 actively seeks out and attempts to identify all students in the district who have disabilities that significantly impact academic achievement and functional performance. When a concern is expressed either by school staff, student, or a parent, the student’s academic and social/emotional status is reviewed through a problem-solving process. Teachers and support staff, along with the student and parents, may develop and implement interventions and strategies to address needs. When interventions/strategies adequately meet the needs of a student, no further action is necessary.

When strategies and intervention plans are not successful in appropriately supporting a student, an individual assessment, referred to as a case study evaluation, is initiated to determine eligibility for Special Education services.

A case study evaluation is conducted with written parent/guardian consent and includes a series of assessments and data collection procedures that provide information about the student and the nature of the difficulties that affect educational success. The educational team, including the parents, decides what assessments and data are needed in order to complete a comprehensive review. Assessments may include, but not be limited to, psychological, achievement, adaptive behavior, speech and language, occupational/physical therapy, vision and hearing screenings, health history and a social developmental study. The assessment must be completed within 60 school days from the date of written parental consent. When the case study evaluation is completed, results are shared and eligibility for Special Education services is determined by the educational team.

Any private evaluations, provided by parents, are considered by the educational team and are compared to the district’s special education evaluative results. Within 14 days of receiving a private evaluation or other request for assessment, the educational team determines whether additional assessment or other steps are warranted.

To receive special education services, students must be determined to have one of the following exceptionalities as defined by the Illinois State Board of Education (http://www.isbe.net/spec-ed/html/categories.htm):

  • Autism (includes, but is not limited to, any Autism Spectrum Disorder)
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Deafness
  • Emotional disability
  • Hearing impairment
  • Intellectual disability
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impairment
  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment

If the student is determined to be eligible for special education support, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed and reviewed annually. Eligibility for special education services is reevaluated every three years.

Notice of Procedural Safeguards for Parents/Guardians of Students with Disabilities must be shared with parents if a case study evaluation is initiated and thereafter provided annually to families if their child receives special education services.


Parent Guide to Special Education
Student Records Keeper

Continuum of Services

Academic Strategies

This instructional model only exists at the middle school level and is for students who need assistance in both navigating their general education curriculum and making progress toward meeting their IEP goals and objectives. A special education teacher provides instruction according to the IEP, using the general education curriculum as much as possible. Direct instruction for some students in academic strategies includes implementation of a specific executive functioning curriculum in order to address a students’ executive functioning needs or supplemental skill building in the areas of language arts and mathematics.

Co-Taught Classroom

A co-taught classroom is one in which both general and special education students are taught by a combination of a general and a special education teacher. The lessons are delivered by both teachers and the skill set of the staff allow for differentiation of instruction for all students.

Early Childhood Classroom

There are currently six sections of half day instruction for special education students between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Five of the sections are blended; they consist of a combination of general and special education students. Typically, the enrollment for a section is fifteen students, eleven of which do not have an identified disability and four that do have an identified disability. In one of the sections, all of the students have an identified disability. This particular section is designed for those students who have a need for a more intensive instructional delivery method and a smaller student-teacher ratio.

Specialized Classroom

District 181 has two specialized classrooms that serve the needs of students that have significant learning and behavioral challenges. The students’ cognitive levels require a focus on functional skill acquisition and often utilize assistive technology for communication. Several students require a one-to-one instructional assistant for self-care, medical, or behavioral needs. Students do have the opportunity to interact and participate with their non-disabled peers, as appropriate. Currently, the specialized classrooms are located at Oak School and Hinsdale Middle School and have between five and 8 students, respectively.

Supplanted Instruction

District 181 offers supplanted instruction to special education students in every school. Supplanted instruction takes the place of instruction in the general education environment and occurs in a separate location/classroom. Supplanted instruction is appropriate when the student’s instructional level, even with modifications, requires an alternate curriculum that is often several grade levels below the student’s chronological age. Supplanted instruction is taught by a special education teacher and classroom enrollment is typically between 1 and 7 students.

Supported Classroom

District 181 has two supported classrooms that serve the needs of learners who have cognitive and emotional/behavioral needs. One classroom is designed for students who are academically capable but may need emotional support throughout the day. Another classroom is focused on communication and its role in maintaining appropriate behavior. The classrooms are located at HMS and Walker School.

Developmental Screening

District 181 provides an at-risk screening for children, birth through five years old. The purpose of this screening is to determine if a child may be at-risk for future educational difficulty. Preschool screenings for students who are three years of age or older are also provided on selected dates throughout the school year. Only children residing in or attending a parochial school in District 181 will be screened.

Children's development in the areas of speech, language, motor abilities, concept formation, and preschool readiness skills are screened. Results of these screenings are used to identify students who might be at risk of developing difficulties with school and to identify students for further evaluation if a disability is suspected.

Screenings are conducted at Oak School and can be scheduled by calling (630) 861-4302.

Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)

Parents have the right to request an independent education evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with the evaluative results obtained by District 181. A parent is entitled, pursuant to federal law, only one independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the District conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.

Requests for an independent educational evaluation must be in writing and submitted to the Pupil Services Administrator (PSA). All requests will receive a written response that either grants or denies the request. If granted, a list of possible evaluators that the parent can choose from will be provided. If denied due to not meeting the IEE rule requirements (as outlined in the preceding paragraph) the reason for the denial will be outlined and a copy of the Procedural Safeguards will be enclosed. If the denial is due to the District’s position that the current evaluation is appropriate, the District will notify the parent that it is required by federal law to file a due process hearing request. Such request will be filed with the Illinois State Board of Education.

After the independent educational evaluation is complete, the IEP team will reconvene to consider the results and make any necessary changes to the IEP.

Mediation and Due Process

Parents who have unresolved concerns regarding the appropriateness of the special education and related services provided to their child have the right to request mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process in which the parents and District 181 personnel meet to resolve disputes with the assistance of an Illinois State Board of Education trained mediator. In mediation, the parties are brought together to discuss and consider alternative solutions to the issues. Mediation is designed to resolve issues without going to a formal due process hearing. This service is provided by the Illinois State Board of Education at no cost to either the parents or District 181. If the parties do not reach resolution through mediation, a due process hearing may be necessary.

A due process hearing is an administrative hearing held to settle disagreements between the parents and District 181. The hearing is a formal procedure in which a hearing officer is sent from the Illinois State Board of Education. Both the parents and District may choose to be represented by legal counsel during the course of these proceedings. Requests for a hearing must be submitted in writing to the superintendent. A hearing can be requested at any time for any reason and cannot be denied by District 181.

Parent Information Guides

Private School Students

A student who attends a private, parochial or is home schooled within the boundaries of Community Consolidated School District 181 is eligible for consideration for a special education evaluation and services in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). IDEA 2004-Section 612 requires each public school district to utilize a portion of its Federal Part B special education funds in order to provide students with disabilities, who attend private schools within the boundaries of the district, the opportunity to equitably participate in special education and services offered by the district. When there is reason to believe that a student may have a disability requiring special education and related services, the student can be referred for a special education evaluation. Referral may be made by any concerned person, including school personnel, the parent/guardian of the student, an employee of a community service agency, professional having knowledge of a students' challenges, a student, or an employee of the Illinois State Board of Education. Students who attend private schools receive an Individual Service Plan if they are found eligible for special education services.

Timely and Meaningful Consultation

Each year, the principals of the private schools in Community Consolidated School District 181 are invited to a meeting at the District Office in which information about plans for working with students with disabilities in the upcoming school year are discussed. This meeting is called the Timely and Meaningful Consultation (TMC). At the TMC, information is shared pertaining to how students who are suspected of having one or more disabilities may access the District programs to address the nature and scope of the disabilities.

Parents of students attending a private or parochial school or students who are home-schooled and need further information regarding services for their child should contact the Assistant Superintendent of Learning, Pupil Services.

Special Education Resources

Community Resources

Parent Training Centers in Illinois: This link provides information on parent training centers in Illinois, which serve to assist parents which explains special education services as well as effective collaboration with the school.

Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers: This site is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Special Education (OSEP) to provide information for parents on parent training sessions in their area.

New Panel

Screening Dates

  • February 23, 2018
  • March 23, 2018
  • April 27, 2018
  • May 4, 2018

Procedural Manual

Special Education Procedural Manual

A Special Education Procedural Manual is intended to serve as a representation of procedures that staff are required to follow when addressing the needs of special education students, and it can assist parents in navigating the processes and procedures that may be implemented when addressing their child’s needs relative to special education. The Board approved the manual for adoption at its December 2017 Business meeting.