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Special Education Frequently Asked Questions
Josie Miller

My name is Josie Miller and I am married to Chad Miller. We have three boys. Derek who will be 22 next month, Matthew is 11 and attends Show Low Jr. High School, and our youngest Adam is 10 and attends Whipple Ranch Elementary School. We moved here to the White Mountain area three weeks ago. I have been a teacher down in the valley for 18 years. I am excited about being here and am looking forward to the snow, going fishing, and hiking.

The mission of the special education department is to provide purposeful and accurate guidance, support, and procedures so that staff and parents develop positive professional team relationships in order to produce improved student achievement in a quality, caring, and appropriate educational setting.

We understand that as a parent, you have many questions regarding special education. We've compiled a list of  the most frequently asked questions that our staff receive about our program. You will find the answers listed below. If you do not find the answer to your quest, pleas contact one of our staff members listed above.

What is special education?

Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 15 describes Special Education as: Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of individuals with exceptional needs whose educational needs cannot be met with modification of the regular instructional program. It includes related services at no cost to the parent that may be needed to assist such individuals to benefit from specially designed instruction.

Special education ensures students receive a Free, Appropriate Public Education, commonly referred to as FAPE. FAPE is a description of the services and supports that are required for a child with disability to gain educational benefit. The offer of FAPE is outlines in a Student's Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Special education further ensures all students receive instruction in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). LRE is defined as the education of students with disabilities with non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible. Once a student qualifies for Special Education services, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed by the IEP Team, which consists of qualified professionals, the student and the parents.

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Who is eligible to receive special education services?

Children are eligible to receive special education and related services when the IEP team determines that the child meets the state and federal eligibility criteria and requires special education services. Not all children with special needs require special education services. There are fourteen categories of eligibility for special education:

  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Development Delay
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Emotional Disability
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Autism
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Mild/Moderate/Severe Intellectual Disability Programs
  • Preschool Severe Delay (ages 3-5 only)

Most students are served through district programs, including resource specialist programs, self-contained programs, emotional disability programs, and related services. Some students whose needs cannot be met in the district program are served in either county or non-public school programs.

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Does the district provide parent and staff training?

The Snowflake Special Education Department provides multiple training opportunities to parents and staff.

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What is Child Find?

Child Find is an ongoing process through which the Snowflake Unified School District finds children living within our district that may need special education services.

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Who can participate in Snowflake Unified School District Child Find?

Any 3-21 year old child living within our district boundaries is eligible for special education screening. Your child can also be screened if they are homeschooled or in a private school.

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How do I know my child may need special education services?

Some of the symptoms your child may present include:

  • Academic problems such as difficulty learning reading, writing, and math; and extreme difficulty with organizing self.
  • Communication problems such as not pronouncing words correctly, using one or two words to communicate, or using a whole sentence when one word would be sufficient.
  • Hearing problems such as unable to hear sounds others hear, not responding to loud noises, and repeatedly hitting self on the side of the head.
  • Physical development problems such as difficulty holding a pencil, walking, running, skipping, or hopping.
  • Social emotional problems such as an inability to develop positive relationships with children and adults, and aggressive behavior.
  • Visual problems such as holding printed material too close to one's face, rubbing eyes, and frequent headaches.

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What should I do if I feel my child should be screened for special education services?

Contact Snowflake Unified School District at (928) 536-4156, ext. 7726, to schedule a screening for your child.

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Preschool Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact regarding a Speech and Language Evaluation for my child?

The Snowflake Unified School District has an assessment team that specializes in evaluation of preschool aged children. the team is composed of several professionals, including but not limited to, school psychologist, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and special education teacher. To contact the preschool assessment team, please call (928) 536-4156 ext. 7726.

I would like to enroll my son/daughter in a preschool program. What is offered through the school district?

The Snowflake Unified School District operates a state preschool. For more information regarding these programs, please call (928) 536-4156 ext. 7226. For children who qualify for special education services and require the support of a specialized preschool program, the district offers a preschool program at Taylor Elementary School. Placement in these specialized programs is determined by the IEP team. As a parent, you are a member of the IEP team that makes decisions regarding placement and services for your child.

Who do I contact if I would like my child assessed for special education services?

Please call (928) 536-4156 ext. 7726

What are the days and hours of the preschool classes?

Tues/Wed/Thurs Session 1 Session 2
Taylor Elementary 7:55 - 10:00 a.m. 12:15 - 2:20 p.m.

We are just moving to the district and my child already has an IEP. Who do I need to contact regarding services and placement?

Please contact the student services office at (928) 536-4156.

At what age can a child receive special education services through the district?

The Snowflake Unified School District begins providing services to children at the age of three (3). If a child is receiving early intervention services through Northland Therapy, the process of transitioning services to the school district usually begins when the child is 2 years, 6 months of age.

My child is not yet three years old. Who can I contact regarding assessments and specialized services?

Parents are encouraged to contact Highland Therapy at (928) 532-1532. If your child is at least 2 years, 9 months of age, you may contact Snowflake Unified School District.

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