Special Education Information
The Special Education Department at Southland strives to understand students as individual learners with special needs and learning styles. Through that understanding and sensitivity for special needs students, the faculty and staff work to guide the students toward academic success and self-advocacy. Special Education faculty and staff focus on teaching appropriate strategies based on individual needs of special education students. In partnership with students, family, staff, and the community, Southland's Special Education Department promotes the educational achievement of all students.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides for a free appropriate public education for all individuals with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 22. In order to be responsive to the diverse educational needs of all students, the Special Education Department of Southland provides a continuum of services to be considered when determining the appropriate educational program for each student. These services are determined by the level of need of the student.
We are proud to have experienced professionals on staff that specialize in the following areas:
- Speech & Language Pathologists
- Occupational Therapists
- Physical Therapists
- Social Workers
Please contact the Special Education Department anytime for assistance or to answer any questions that you may have. Members of the Special Education Department can be reached at 708-748-8105.
Special Education Referral Process
A “referral” in the context of special education services is a process asking the school district to evaluate a student to decide if the student qualifies to receive special education services. A referral can be made either by the school district (through a teacher or other school personnel involved in the student’s education) or by a parent or guardian. The referral is a required first step before an evaluation can take place.
The “date of referral” is the date of written parental consent for an evaluation. Screening procedures shall not be considered an evaluation.
Within 14 school days after receiving the written request, the district will decide whether to evaluate the child or not. If the district determines an evaluation is warranted, then the district must provide the parents with the paperwork to provide formal written consent.
If the district determines that the evaluation is not necessary, it must notify the parent in writing of the decision not to evaluate and the reasons for the decision.
Please see this document for more information from the Illinois State Board of Education regarding the Special Education Referral Process.
Special Education Parent Rights
Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois
This a document, developed by the Illinois State Board of Education for parents and others, aims to educate parents and others about the educational rights of children who have disabilities and receive special education services.
Section 504 Americans With Disabilities Act
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Section 504 establishes a student’s right to full access and participation to education and all school-related activities and require schools provide appropriate services to meet the individual needs of qualified students.
A student is considered “qualified” under Section 504 if the student is between the ages of 3 and 22 years of age and has a disability, which is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include caring for one’s self, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, performing manual tasks, and learning. Some examples of impairments that may substantially limit major life activities, even with the help of medication, aids or devices are: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthma, allergies, blindness or visual impairment, deafness or hearing impairment, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, and mental illness.
With the passage of the ADA Amendments Act in 2008, Congress expanded the scope of "major life activities” and clarified that a disability determination under the ADA and Section 504 should not demand extensive analysis, which is why the ameliorating effects of mitigating measures (other than ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses) are no longer considered when making a determination