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Mabalacat City College

Rizal St. Dolores,

Mabalacat City

Educational Placements for Students with Disabilities

PLACEMENT- refers to the amount of time in each school day that a student spends in the resource or in
a general education classroom. The school district is required to have a range of placements where your
child can be taught, including in the general education classroom.


Regular Education Environment (Itinerant):

Being a part of the regular education classroom is also referred to as inclusion or mainstreaming. Inclusion
means that the student with a disability attends a regular education class with same or similar age peers,
most of whom do not have a disability. The school district must provide appropriate supports and services
in that inclusive environment. A placement will be considered “regular” if at least 50% of the children in the
placement do not have a disability.
Many students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will need accommodations or specific services to be
successful in the regular education environment. For example, the student may need the class to be co-
taught by a special education teacher, may need a personal care assistant or aide to accompany him or
her, or may need modified materials to participate in the class. What the student needs to be successful in
the regular education environment will be determined by the IEP team.
Sometimes, the accommodations and/or modifications necessary to make the student successful in the
regular education classroom are themselves so restrictive or prohibitive that they make the regular
education environment ineffective. For example, if a student needs a 1 on 1 aide to continuously prompt the
student to do work or if the materials need to be modified extensively, the student may actually be more
independent and be better able to make progress on the IEP goals in an environment with fewer students
and more intensive services.

Self-Contained Educational Environment (Full-time):

Education in a self-contained classroom means that the student will be placed with other students with
disabilities for the majority of the school day. These classrooms may be disability specific – for example, an
autism support classroom – or may integrate students with different disabilities. Each state has regulations
concerning how many children can be in a self-contained classroom. For example, in Pennsylvania, an
autism support classroom may not have more than eight children, unless a waiver is obtained. For a
student who is easily distracted, socially anxious, or who simply needs more personalized assistance,
having fewer students in a class is an advantage. These classes are taught by special education teachers
who have gone to school and have specialized training in working with students with disabilities. They may
also have an assistant teacher or aide assigned to help. A school district is not required to maintain a self-
contained classroom in each school within the district. Thus, a student with a disability who requires a self-
contained classroom may need to attend a school other than his or her “neighborhood school,” but which is
within the student’s home district.

Often, students in a self-contained classroom do have some opportunities to interact with students in the
regular education environment. Frequently, students receiving special education will attend specials, such
as music, art, or gym, recess, or lunch with students in regular education. For a student for whom a self-
contained classroom is considered necessary by the IEP team, great care must be taken before choosing
to include the student with a disability in non-academic portions of the day. Many of these specials or non-
academic times are less structured and held in less predictable settings. Because of this, they may be more
difficult for a child with ASD. Thus the IEP team should consider providing additional supports to the
student when he or she is included with students in regular education environments.

Out of District Placement:

Sometimes the appropriate educational placement for a student does not exist within the child’s home
community. The child’s home district may not have the appropriate classroom or staff to meet the child’s
needs. In this case, the IEP team may decide that a public school in a neighboring town or county is most
appropriate. An out of district placement allows the child to attend a public school where children without
disabilities attend, but which has the supports and staff the child needs. However, because the school is
out of district, it may mean a longer bus ride for the student.

Specialized School Placement:
Specialized schools provide comprehensive special education services for students with disabilities. Many
are created around students within certain disability groups, for example, ASD, or with special learning,
behavioral, or emotional needs. For students with ASD, a specialized school may provide a more structured
environment and may offer the opportunity to work on academic, behavioral, and social goals throughout
the day in a coordinated and integrated way that might not be possible in a typical school.
Specialized schools are generally much smaller than public schools and may have a higher ratio of
teachers to students. Teachers and staff, as a whole, may have more experience with students with
disabilities than their counterparts in public school. Additionally, some students, particularly those with self-
esteem issues, may benefit from attending a school where all students have specialized needs. Specialized
schools do not have typical peers, which makes them one of the most restrictive environments.
Specialized schools are expensive to run, and it may cost your district a great deal of money for your child
to attend. However, cost should not be a factor in determining needed services, and all IEP members
should make decisions responsibly. Because specialized schools are expensive, there are fewer of them.
This may mean that your child will have to travel a great distance to attend one, which could mean a long
bus ride twice a day. Some specialized schools are residential, which reduces travel time for the student,
but means that the family is split apart while the student with disabilities is in school.
Some specialized schools are known as “Approved Private Schools” or “APS.” An APS is a private school
that is licensed by the state and which has been given special status by the state to educate children, who,
by the nature of their disabilities, cannot be appropriately served in public school special education
programs. School districts receive state money to help pay for APS placements. Nonetheless, if there is a
specialized school in your area, which is not an APS, you may still be able to have your child placed there if
the placement is deemed appropriate by your IEP team.

Students placed by the IEP team in a specialized school are entitled to all of the same procedural
safeguards that would apply if they attended a public school, including but not limited to the timelines for
reevaluation and revising the IEP, mandatory IEP team membership, and discipline rules.

Makes the Placement Decision
The IEP team makes the placement decision. In some places, the placement decision is made by another
group of people. In either case, under IDEA, the group that makes the placement decision must include the
parent(s) and others who:
 are knowledgeable about the child

Kind of Placements
 a general education class
 a special education class
 a special education school
 at home, or
 in a hospital or other public or private institution.