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Placement: What is it? What determines it?

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) per IDEA - To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled. Special classes, separate schooling, or removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

📣How should the IEP team (parents and general education teachers remember you are part of the IEP team) consider placement:

1. Supports student's progress and growth academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.


2. Provides students with access to the general education curriculum.


3. Provides students with access to the general education curriculum.


4. Eliminates barriers and provides access to the learning environment through supplementary aids and services.


5. Provides meaningful opportunities for peers not receiving special education services.


6. Provides opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities (soccer, cheerleading, photography club) and other nonacademic activities (school fundraisers, school dances).


📣What are the Continuum of Educational Placements, and what can they look like?






  • General Education Class is the starting point and the least restrictive environment. The goal is to make this environment work with supplementary services and support before moving to a more restrictive environment.

  • General Education with Accommodations and Modifications: This is when the child is in the general education class setting but their curriculum is modified. It is important that a credentialed special education teacher is there to make sure the modifications and accommodations are successful and being followed.

  • Co-Taught Classrooms This is when a special education teacher and a general education teacher work together in the same classroom for the full day.

  • Resource Pull Out/Push In (Service option, not a placement): Pull Out services are when a student is pulled out to work in a small group setting with a credentialed special education teacher exclusively on their IEP goals. Push-in services are when the special education teacher (resource teacher) provides IEP goal support within the general education classroom setting.

  • Mild/Moderate Special Day Class (SDC): Smaller, more restrictive classes, including an intervention-based curriculum that is taught by a credentialed special education teacher and focuses on grade-level curriculum at a slower pace. *Name may differ this is the specific name for classes in California

  • Moderate/Severe Special Day Class (SDC): More restrictive, smaller, and has a modified curriculum that focuses on "Life Skills" or "Functional Skills," and if a student remains in this setting until high school, they are more likely on track to receive a Certificate of Completion and not a diploma.*Name may differ this is the specific name for classes in California

  • Autism SDC Class: Many districts are starting to have Autism specific classrooms with a certified special education teacher to support students with Autism. However, it is not legal to say only students with Autism can be included in the class.

  • Emotionally Disturbance (ED) Classes or Emotionally Impaired (EI): Many districts have programs that specifically focus on support behavior, social-emotional well-being and development, and ready access to a therapist while still using the general education curriculum. ED classes are specific to students with an IEP for emotional disturbance. While EI classes are specific to students with social-emotional developmental delay, as well as, ED category.

  • Non-Public School: Separate schools were created specifically for students with various disabilities, so no general education classes are provided at this school. District funding or private pay can fund the student's education.

  • Home/Hospital Instruction: Home-based service providers collaborate with the necessary service providers to develop a plan and offer flexible options that positively support the students whose disabilities impact their ability to attend any school setting.

  • Residential Placement: The most restrictive environment where a student resides in a residential facility and receives their schooling from and in the same facility.

📣How do you find out about your child's placement?

Ask! Ask the special education teacher what is your child's level of placement. Look in your child's IEP, which also identifies their placement. Have questions about this, message me or email me!

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