Special Education » Special Education

Special Education

Special education is a program designed to meet the unique educational needs of children with disabilities who meet eligibility criteria under the law. Special education services can begin at birth and continue until the age of twenty-two (22). Children may receive special education services under one of the following eligibility categories:
  • autism or autistic-like behaviors
  • deaf-blindness
  • deafness
  • emotional disturbance
  • hearing impairment
  • intellectual disability
  • multiple disabilities
  • orthopedic impairment
  • other health impairment
  • specific learning disabilities
  • speech or language impairment
  • traumatic brain injury
  • visual impairment including blindness

Preschool children, ages 3 to 5 years old, may qualify for special education services if they have one of the the previously listed eligible disabilities or an "established medical disability." An "established medical disability" is a disabling medical condition or congenital syndrome very likely to require special education services.

In California, children with disabilities younger than three (3) years of age may also qualify for early intervention which helps enhance their development. Children who qualify for early intervention services will receive services from the District if they have solely a visual, hearing, or severe orthopedic impairment. All other children in this age range, who exhibit developmental delays or have established risk conditions with harmful developmental consequences, will receive early intervention services from their local Regional Center.

If your child is eligible to receive special education services, you have the right to be informed about all available public and non-public schools or programs. The law requires that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities be educated with children without disabilities. This placement is called "the least restrictive environment."

The special education office mission is to provide support to special education students so that they can realize their academic and human potential through meeting the District's standards.

Our goal is to improve special education service delivery and student support in Albany while promoting student independence. The department continually assesses strengths and areas that need to be strengthened. Following assessment, plans are implemented to address areas in need of improvement.