Montville Township Public Schools
Special Services Department
(973) 331-7100 ext. 2225
(973) 331-7100 ext. 2237
Secretary to the Director
(973) 331-7100 ext. 2225
Special Education Today
Today more than ever, our education system is striving to ensure that all children receive an education that is appropriate for their abilities. Children ages 3-21 found eligible with delayed skills or skills well below their age level are eligible for special services that can provide individualized instruction and programs in public schools, free of charge to your family. If you understand how to access these services, you will be a better advocate for what your child needs.
Following the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 97, IDEA 2004), parents of children with special needs have become even more important members of their child's education team, working with educators to develop a plan that will help their child succeed in school. This individualized education plan (IEP) describes the goals the team has set for the child for the school year, as well as any special supports that are needed to help achieve those goals.
Who Needs Special Services and an IEP?
A child who has difficulty learning and functioning in a regular classroom with his peers, who after regular education interventions (I&RS team) have failed, is an appropriate candidate for a referral to Special Services. After a referral a child must be evaluated to determine eligibility and programming (IEP). Children who are struggling in school may qualify for support services for a variety of reasons. Some have learning disabilities that make it difficult to read or process information. Others have disabilities - such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, emotional disorders, mental retardation, autism, hearing impairment, visual impairment, a speech or language impairment, or developmental delay - that require that they be taught in a special way. These disabilities must have an impact on the child's educational functioning.
In most cases, the services and goals outlined in an IEP can be provided in a standard school environment. This can be done in the regular classroom (for example, a special education teacher helping a small group of children who need extra assistance while the other children in the class work on reading with the regular teacher) or in a special resource center in the regular school. The resource center can serve a group of children with similar needs who are brought together for help.
However, children who need intense intervention may be taught in a special school environment. They may spend most of their day in a special classroom and join the regular classes for non-academic activities (music and gym) or one or two academic activities in which they do not require extra help. These classes have fewer students per teacher, allowing for more individualized attention. In addition, the teacher has specific training in helping children with special educational needs. Because it is the goal of IDEA 97 & IDEA 2004, 2006 to make sure that each child is educated in the least restrictive environment, every effort is made to help children remain in a regular classroom. When the child's needs are best met in a special class, then he/she may be placed in this setting.