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Special Education Process

Intervention - Referral - Eligibility - IEP Development

Baldwin County Special Education promotes opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in educational activities designed to facilitate maximum student achievement.  A full range of services, meeting the needs of all identified students with disabilities  (Pre-K – 12), is offered in all schools in the Baldwin County Public School System. Disabilities recognized by the State of Alabama include Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury and Visual Impairment.


Intervention Strategies in the General Education Class


Problem Solving Team-Local School Level (PST)



The Alabama Administrative Code, Chapter 290-8-9.01(4) Intervention Strategies in the General Education Class, states “Before a child is referred for special education evaluation or concurrently during the evaluation process, intervention strategies must be implemented in the general education program and monitored by the Problem Solving Team (PST) for an appropriate period of time (a minimum of eight weeks) and be determined unsuccessful.  (This rule may be waived for a child who has severe problems that require immediate attention, for three- and four-year olds, for five-year olds who have not been in kindergarten, for children with articulation, voice, or fluency problems only, for children with a medical diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, and for a child who has been referred by his or her parents.)

Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9.01(4)



Individual Intellectual Evaluations

Public agencies must conduct or have conducted individual intellectual evaluations in accordance with the following rules:                                                                                                            
(a) Individual intellectual evaluations may only be conducted by clinical psychologists, school psychologists, school psychometrists, clinical psychiatrists, and counselors qualified to administer such evaluations.  Graduate students currently enrolled in approved training programs leading to being qualified to administer individual intellectual evaluations may administer individual intellectual tests as part of training if the test is part of a reevaluation and written reports are approved and cosigned by a person properly qualified.                                                                                 
(b) The person conducting the individual intellectual evaluation must develop a  comprehensive written report. 
(c) The person conducting the individual intellectual evaluation may not independently determine eligibility for special education services.  Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9-.02(3) (a-c)




Autism means a developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction generally evident before age three (3) that adversely affects educational performance.  This includes other pervasive developmental disorders.  Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or changes in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.  Autism does not apply if a child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disability, as defined in these rules.  A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three (3) could be identified as having autism if the criteria herein are satisfied. 

Deaf-Blindness means concomitant hearing and visual 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.

Developmental Delay -  A child becomes eligible for this area of disability on his/her third birthday if there is a delay that adversely affects daily life and/or educational performance in one or more of the following developmental areas: (1) Adaptive, (2) Cognitive, (3)  Communication, (4)  Social or emotional, and/or (5)  Physical; and results in the need for special education and related services. 

Emotional Disability means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects educational performance:  (1) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; (2) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; (3) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; (4) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or (5) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.  Emotional disibility includes schizophrenia.  The term does not include children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disibility as defined herein. 

Hearing Impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.  This term includes both deaf and hard-of hearing.

Intellectual Disability means significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with significant limitations in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects the child’s educational performance.

Multiple Disabilities means concomitant impairments such as intellectual disability-blindness, or intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment, the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments.  Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness. 

Orthopedic Impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance.  It includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., spina bifida), disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g., amputation, cerebral palsy, fractures or burns that cause contractures).  Having a medical diagnosis alone is not enough to justify being identified in the area of orthopedic impairment.  The impairment must adversely affect educational performance.

Other Health Impairment means 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 or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette Syndrome.  If a medical diagnosis is presented, the medical diagnosis alone is not enough to justify being identified in the area of other health impairment.  The impairment must adversely affect educational performance.

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 disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of intellectual disability, of emotional disability, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. 

Speech or Language Impairment means a communication disorder in the area of articulation, voice, fluency, or language that adversely affects a child's educational performance. 

Traumatic Brain Injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both, that adversely affects 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, psychosocial 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 means a visual impairment that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance.  The term includes both partial sight and blindness.  Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9-.03(1) to 290-8-9-.03(13)

Individualized Education Program  (IEP)


The IEP Team is responsible for reviewing all available assessment data and developing an IEP.  In developing each child's IEP, the IEP Team must consider the strengths of the child; the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child; the results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the child; the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child; and, as appropriate, the results of any general State or district wide assessments.  The IEP Team does not have to repeat information in a component of the IEP that is already included in another component.