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Special Education

In partnership with students, families, staff and the community, the Indianapolis Public Schools Department of Special Education promotes the educational achievement of all students in a unified system.

The Special Education Department works in collaboration with teachers, parents and administrators to ensure that students with disabilities receive the appropriate instruction and support they need to achieve.

Special education and related services are offered throughout the district to students ages three to twenty-one.

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Referrals for special education services can be obtained by licensed personnel or the parents/guardians. When a referral is initiated, it is presented to the multidisciplinary team at the school where the student attends to review all academic and behavioral data, interview staff, ask questions of parents and seek information that will assist the team in making a decision as to whether to proceed with an evaluation or not.

If the multidisciplinary team determines the referral is appropriate to proceed for an evaluation for special education services, then consent from the parent or guardian will be obtained. Specific evaluation procedures are adhered to as determined by state law and district guidelines.

If the team decides not to evaluate the student, then an appropriate response is made to the referring source. This response will state the reason and if any additional follow-up that will be necessary.

Child Find is the process of locating, identifying and evaluating all students 3 years of age, but less than 22 years of age, who are in need of special education and related services, regardless of the severity of their disabilities. IPS provides a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to any child who qualifies as having a disability, in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Indiana’s Article 7.

Indianapolis Public Schools is responsible for locating all children ages 3, but less than 22 years of age with a suspected disability who reside within the Indianapolis Public School district.

After receiving a referral for a suspected disability from a parent or school personnel, a team of qualified professionals reviews all available information, including input from the parents and interventions implemented, to determine if a child who is having academic, behavioral, communication or health problems is suspected of having a disability. Within 10 school days of a parent request, the school must provide the parent written notice responding to the request. If the school agrees to evaluate the student, the parent must provide written consent before the evaluation may begin. Once consent is received by school personnel, the school will evaluate the child within 50 school days, at no cost to the parent.

Children who are identified as having a disability are eligible to receive special education and related services, at no cost to the parent.

 In the 2022-2023 school year, IPS utilized SPIRE, Sounds Sensible, Heggerty, Mindplay and the Orton-Gillingham Approach to support students who were at risk for dyslexia. 2, 664 students were flagged with characteristics of dyslexia using MAP Reading Fluency Screener as the universal screener.  If you have questions about the law, testing, or interventions please contact Director of Literacy and Humanities Coordinator, Jannine Campbell at