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Every year, under the federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), millions of children with disabilities receive special services designed to meet their unique needs. For school-aged children and youth (aged 3 through 21), special education and related services are provided through the school system. These services can be very important in helping children and youth with disabilities develop, learn, and succeed in school and other settings.

Who is Eligible for Services?

Under the IDEA, states are responsible for meeting the special needs of eligible children with disabilities. To find out if a child is eligible for services, he or she must first receive a full and individual initial evaluation. This evaluation is free. Two purposes of the evaluation are:

  • to see if the child has a disability, as defined by IDEA, and
  • to learn in more detail what his or her special needs are.

Children and Youth Aged 3 Through 21

The IDEA lists 13 different disability categories under which 3- through 21-year-olds may be eligible for services. For a child to be eligible for services, the disability must affect the child’s educational performance. The disability categories listed in IDEA are:

  • autism,
  • deaf-blindness,
  • emotional disturbance,
  • hearing impairment (including deafness),
  • mental retardation,
  • multiple disabilities,
  • orthopedic impairment,
  • other health impairment,
  • preschool moderate delay, severe delay, and speech and language
  • specific learning disability,
  • speech or language impairment,
  • traumatic brain injury, or
  • visual impairment (including blindness).

Under IDEA, a child may not be identified as a “child with a disability” just because he or she speaks a language other than English and does not speak or understand English well. A child may not be identified as having a disability just because he or she has not had enough instruction in math or reading.

For definitions of these disabilities and other information, go to

What Happens Next?

If you believe your student is a child with a disability and requires specialized instruction, or for more information about special education services at Center for Academic Success please contact our office at (520) 458-4200.

The Special Education Policies and Procedures can be viewed here.

Information regarding parent and student rights can be found on the Arizona Department of Education website at Procedural Rights and Safeguards (English) or Procedural Rights and Safeguards (Spanish).

Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, each charter is responsible for locating, identifying, and evaluating children with disabilities. Within 45 calendar days of initial enrollment all students will be screened. We will notify parents within 10 calendar days if an area of concern is indicated by a classroom teacher.

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