District Special Education and Related Services


Special Education and Related Services may be provided to a child with an identified disability between the ages of 3 and 21 to address the adverse effect of the disability on his/her education.

Definition of Special Education:

Educational programs or practices specially designed to meet the needs of a student with an identified disability. This includes the use of researched-based teaching approaches and specialized equipment or care within or outside the general education environment.

Definition of Related Services:

Related services are support services that may be provided to assist a student in accessing his/her academic program.  Related services include, but are not limited to, the following: occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological services, social work services, and speech and language services. 

Eligibility for Services

Referral Process:

A student is referred for a special education evaluation when there is reason to believe he/she may have a disability requiring special education and related services. Referrals may be made by School District 53 personnel, the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the student, an employee of a community service agency, or other qualified persons as deemed appropriate by Federal and State Law.

After determining the appropriateness of the referral, the school district must notify the parent(s)/ guardian(s) and referring party in writing of their decision to initiate the evaluation process.

Identification of Needs Assessment / Domain Review:

After determining that an evaluation is warranted, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, which includes relevant school staff and parents, must review and evaluate existing information about the child. This includes current performance data, classroom observations, specialized evaluations such as those performed by individual evaluators, and information provided by the parent.

This review may be conducted without a meeting. Upon reviewing the information, the IEP Team members shall determine whether additional evaluation data are needed, and which qualified members of the IEP team will conduct the evaluations. The following areas may be assessed:  academic/developmental skills; functional skills; cognitive functioning; hearing/vision; health; motor abilities; communication status; and social emotional status.

Written parental consent must be obtained prior to conducting the evaluation. The identified needs assessment must be shared with parent(s)/guardian(s).

Evaluation Review

Within 60 school days of obtaining written parental consent to conduct an evaluation, an IEP meeting must be convened to consider the evaluation information and determine if the student is eligible for special education and related services.

An IEP Team must include, but is not limited to, the following individuals:

  • Parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • General education teacher (if the child is or may participate in the general education environment)
  • Special education teacher
  • LEA representative who is knowledgeable about the school district’s resources and has the authority to make commitments for the provision of resources
  • Individual(s) qualified to interpret the results of the evaluation

With parent(s)/guardian(s) consent, individuals may be excused from the meeting if results are interpreted and shared with parents prior to the meeting. 

Determination of Eligibility

A student may be found eligible for special education and related services if the IEP Team determines the following:

  • The student has an identified, disabling condition
  • The student has been resistant to interventions  presented in the general education setting
  • The student’s present levels of performance are discrepant from that of his/her peers
  • The student’s disability has an adverse effect on his/her educational performance
  • A student may not be found eligible to receive special education services if a student’s delay is based on one of the following factors:
  • Lack of instruction in reading
  • Lack of instruction in math
  • Limited English proficiency
  • Environmental/cultural factors,  economic disadvantage


The school district posts on its Internet website and incorporates into its student handbook or newsletter notice that students with disabilities who do not qualify for an individualized education program, as required by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and implementing provisions of the School Code, may qualify for services under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if the child (i) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (ii) has a record of a physical or mental impairment, or (iii) is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

If a student is found eligible to receive special education services, an IEP must be developed within 30 calendar days of determining eligibility. In developing an IEP, the IEP Team must consider the following factors:

  • Student strengths
  • Parent(s)/guardian(s) concerns
  • Identified needs based on recent evaluations/assessment/classroom information
  • Other factors related to the student’s specific needs

An IEP must include the following components:

  • Statement of student’s present levels of performance
  • Statement of measurable annual goals that reflects the State Goals for Learning and the Illinois Learning Standards, as well as benchmarks/short term objectives
  • Description of the specific special education and related services needed
  • Description of the  supplementary aides, services,  and program modifications needed
  • Explanation of the extent, if any, the student will be removed from the general education environment
  • Statement of student’s ability to participate in state and district wide assessment
  • Determination of the appropriate placement for the student
  • Other components as required by Federal and State rules/regulations

A review of the student’s progress and the above components must take place at least one time per year by the IEP team.

A review of eligibility for special education and related services must take place at least every three years by the IEP team.

At any point in the school year, an IEP meeting can be convened by any members of the team to discuss a student’s progress and educational programming.

Programs and Services

Butler School District 53 provides a continuum of special education programs and related services within and outside the general education setting to meet the unique learning needs of our students.

Instruction outside the general education classroom is considered only when the services needed by the student to meet his/her goals cannot be adequately addressed through the general curriculum.

If a student requires more specialized instruction and programming not available within the school district, Butler School District 53 is committed to seeking other appropriate placement options outside of the school district. This includes both public and private facilities.

Special Education Program Options within Butler School District 53

General Education Classes with Special Education

A general education class is one that is taught by a general education teacher and is not designed to be a general remedial classroom. Based on the student’s IEP, the general education instruction may be modified through:

  • Supported services or specialized instruction from certified and noncertified special education personnel
  • Consultation to and with special education personnel
  • Provision of special equipment, materials, and/or accommodations
  • Modifications to the instructional program or grades
  • Modifications to the curricular content and/or methodology
  • Other supplementary services, such as itinerant or resource services

Special Education Class / Resource Services

In some instances, a student’s instructional needs may be best met outside the general education classroom setting. Some students benefit from highly specialized instruction in such subjects such as Reading or Math, while others may benefit from instruction provided to them in a smaller setting. Resource services are provided by a certified special education teacher to support a student’s individual learning needs. Specified subjects and amount of time outside the general education classroom are determined through the IEP Process. If instruction is occurring outside the general education classroom, it is considered a special education class.

The general purpose of a special education class is to strengthen a student’s knowledge/acquisition of the general education curriculum through the use of researched-based interventions. Organization and study skills are other areas commonly addressed by special education staff. Class size and teacher: student ratios are kept small in this type of setting, in order to provide more individualized instruction.

District-Wide Related Services

District-wide related services that are available to students with identified special education needs include the following:

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) services are provided by a licensed occupational therapist contracted from the LaGrange Area Department of Special Education.

Students found eligible for OT services are those with identified needs in the areas of fine motor skills, visual motor skills, motor planning, and/or sensory regulation.

OT services may only be provided to students to support their educational program.

Service delivery models for OT services include: direct/individual services; integrated services; and/or consultation services to the IEP Team. Services may occur within or outside the general education classroom.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy (PT) services are provided by a licensed physical therapist contracted from the LaGrange Area Department of Special Education.

Students found eligible for PT services are those with identified needs in the areas of gross motor skills, generally impacting their strength, balance, coordination, mobility, and/or stability in his/her educational environment.

PT services may only be provided to students to support their educational program.

Service delivery models for PT services include: direct/individual services; integrated services; and/or consultation services to the IEP Team.  Services may occur within or outside the general education classroom.

Social Work Services

As a member of the educational team, social workers consult with classroom teachers and school staff regarding social emotional issues that may impact student learning. This includes being actively involved in the social and emotional learning and development of all students. The social worker may work with students individually, in a small group or whole classrooms. Topics may include: improving interpersonal relationships, self-esteem and self-discipline, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills.

The social worker also works regularly with students requiring special education services. He/she regularly participates in Student Support Team meetings and may gather information and/or design interventions for students identified as needing short-term or long-term social work services.

School social workers serve as a link between home, school, and community.

This may entail:

  • Being a liaison to community resources and organizations offering mental health and counseling services to children and families
  • Maintaining communication with service providers as needed or requested by parents
  • Providing help to parents so they become more effective participants in their children's education
  • Helping parents to understand their child’s developmental and educational needs and to strengthen their parenting skills or relationship with children
  • Facilitate needed supports during a crisis involving any student in the building as needed or requested by the administration.

Speech and Language Services

Speech and language services (SL) are provided by a certified speech and language pathologist.

Students found eligible for SL services are those with identified needs in the areas of speech articulation, speech fluency, expressive language skills, receptive language skills, and/or pragmatic language skills.

SL services are the ONLY related service that may be provided in isolation. Unlike the other services described in this section, speech is considered both a program and a related service.

The service delivery model used for speech includes: direct/individual services; integrated services; and/or consultation services. Services may occur within or outside the general education classroom.

Transition Meetings

Your child is approaching his/her third birthday and special education services, if necessary, will be provided by the local school district. To insure a smooth transition from Birth-to-Three services to Butler District 53, an evaluation will need to be completed. An Early Childhood team will complete the evaluation(s).  Components of the evaluation will be agreed on with the parents and the educational team. The team will review the reports and progress notes from Early Intervention. After the evaluation is completed, an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) meeting will be scheduled to review the evaluation results, consider any private reports or information presented by the parents and determine if the child meets special education eligibility according to state criteria. The IEP team includes the parents, individuals who completed the evaluation (e.g. school nurse, social worker, speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist) a special education teacher, and an administrator who is responsible for committing special education services. Parents may bring other individuals to this meeting such as family members or current service providers who are working with their child.

Following the evaluation, the child’s eligibility for special education services is considered using special education criteria established by Federal and State regulations. If a child is determined eligible for special education services an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is written. The IEP includes annual goals and short-term objectives to address the educational needs. The team does not have to write objectives for the student that are already in the Early Childhood curriculum, but must develop educational goals that are “reasonably calculated” for one year’s growth.  The IEP team determines special education services, placement, and the need for extended year programming beyond the regular school calendar.  Parents are active participants in this process. School staff implements the IEP and services are delivered. Preschool Speech only services are delivered at Brook Forest School. A continuum of educational options will be discussed at the meeting. Below are some of the educational options available.

Early Childhood Self Contained - A smaller class designed for children with identified significant developmental delays.

EC Blended - An Inclusion Program designed for children for whom it has been determined appropriate to provide support and services within the classroom. This program is at the Oak Brook Park District.

Speech and Language Only - Speech and language services are provided at Brook Forest School.

If you have any questions about the Early Childhood Process (Child Find) or the Special Education Program, please get in touch with Dr. LaTonya Wilks at 630-368-4555. Additionally, the Student Services Department welcomes your feedback. We've added a Suggestion Box to gather feedback, suggestions, thoughts, and ideas from all stakeholders to better meet the needs of the students and community interests. Parents, students, staff, and community members are welcome to submit suggestions.

Instructional Aides

Instructional aides may be used to assist and support a student with special education needs. An instructional aide may be assigned to support an individual student, small group of students, or the general classroom setting as deemed appropriate by an IEP Team.

Instructional aides assist in the implementation of the daily program under the direction and supervision of a certified teacher. Responsibilities of an instructional aide include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Support of a student’s self-care/daily living needs
  • Implementation of a modified curriculum
  • Implementation of supplementary supports and accommodations

Instructional aides are considered non-certified staff and work under the direct supervision of a certified teacher. Therefore, they are not responsible for determining curricular modifications or specialized assessment.