The Department of Education provides special education and related services to children, age 3 to 20, who meet the eligibility requirements due to a disability that affects their educational success. Special Education is specially designed instruction to meet the unique learning needs of students who require Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
Related services are transportation and developmental, corrective and supportive services that are required to assist a child with a disability in benefiting from special education. These related services include, but are not limited to speech-language therapy, audiology, psychological services, interpreting services, physical and occupational therapy, counseling services, orientation and mobility services, recreation and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. Related services also include school health services and school nurse services, social wrk services in the schools, and parent counseling and training.
Services are at no cost to the parent and may be provided in a variety of settings based on the student’s needs and are provided in keeping with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in Hawaii’s local implementing law relating to special education–Chapter 60.
Within the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support, two important offices provide supports to students with disabilities. The Special Education Section in the Curriculum and Instruction Branch ensures that the rights of students with disabilities and their parents are protected. This section also monitors, enforces and reports on the delivery of special education requirements under IDEA and Chapter 60. Their responsibilities include: 1) Developing procedures, standards and rules for special education; 2) Providing technical assistance and training to complex areas, districts, schools, agencies and parents to address IDEA and Chapter 60; and 3) Monitoriing the activities of schools and complex areas to ensure that they follow program standards and legal requirements.
Another key office is the Comprehensive Student Support Section. This section provides supports that enhance a student’s academic achievement by strengthening social, emotional and physical well-being of the student and their family. Responsibilities include: providing program direction and guidance for parent and family support services, early childhood intervention services, secondary school intervention services, school based behavioral health (SBBH) services, positive behavior support services and student health services; and working with complexes and schools to make sure that an array of supports are available.