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(1.2) What is the definition of special education?

(1.2) What is the definition of special education?

Special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique needs of a child with disabilities. This instruction can include classroom instruction, home instruction, instruction in hospitals and institutions, instruction in other settings, and instruction in physical education. Special education also includes speech-language pathology or any other related service if the service is considered special education under state standard, travel training, and vocational education. California law adds to the federal definition of special education by requiring that special education be provided to those students with disabilities whose educational needs cannot be met with modification of the regular instructional program. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1401(29); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.39; Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56031.]

Federal regulations specifically define several key terms included in this definition:

At no cost means “that all specially-designed instruction is provided without charge, but does not preclude incidental fees that are normally charged to all students regardless of a disability or their parents as a part of the regular education program.” [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.39(b)(1).]

Physical education means “the development of physical and motor fitness; fundamental motor skills and pattern; and skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports).” The term also “includes special physical education, adapted physical education, movement education, and motor development.” [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.39(b)(2).]

Specially-designed instruction means “adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child…the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability and to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.” [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.39(b)(3).]

Travel training means “providing instruction, as appropriate, to children with significant cognitive disabilities, and any other children with disabilities who require this instruction, to enable them to develop an awareness of the environment in which they live and learn the skills necessary to move effectively and safely from place to place within that environment (e.g., in school, in the home, at work, and in the community).” [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.39(b)(4).]

Vocational training means “organized educational programs that are directly related to the preparation of individuals for paid or unpaid employment, or for additional preparation for a career not  requiring a baccalaureate or advanced degree.” [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.39(b)(5).]