Special Education Department
We serve students, families, and schools to empower students to achieve world-class outcomes by providing specialized instruction & services
Empowering all students to achieve world-class outcomes
Universal and targeted services at all school sites
Director of Personalized Learning
Special Education - East Highlands Ranch Region & West Highlands Ranch Region
Director of Personalized Learning
Special Education - Castle Rock Region & Parker Region
Assistant to Directors of Personalized Learning
Special Education Reocrds
The Douglas County School District Special Education Department provides instructional and programming support and professional development to 85 school sites. Services are provided to 6,400 students district-wide by approximately 1,225 special educators, related service providers, and educational assistants. Additionally, the special education department oversees the administration of Section 504 plans which afford approximately 1,000+ students who experience a substantially limiting physical or mental impairment the opportunity to benefit from the educational program and activities of the school.
Universal and targeted special education support and services are delivered at all school sites within the framework of moderate needs support and itinerant services. Itinerant services include mental health, speech-language, behavior support team, autism assessment and training team, occupational therapy, physical therapy, assistive technology, vision, deaf hard of hearing, and audiology.
Consistent with our mission of empowering all students to achieve world-class outcomes by providing specialized instruction & services, the Special Education Department also provides an intensive level of support in center-based programs for students who experience significant support needs, serious emotional disabilities, deaf and hard of hearing, and autism. Center-based programming is designed to enable students to build the skills required to access and make progress in the general curriculum/environment to the fullest extent possible. To this end, the Special Education Department currently offers 64 significant support needs programs, 11 serious emotional disability programs, 4 deaf and hard of hearing programs, and 2 autism center-based programs district-wide.
Special Education Programs
The Douglas County School District is committed to providing support services to our students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. We provide a continuum of services to best meet the needs of all our unique learners.
The Douglas County School District Special Education Department provides instructional support and programming to 85 school sites.
Pull-out/Direct Support– Students travel to a designated room to get more direct instruction from Special Education staff. This may often include behavioral support and/or significant modifications to the curriculum in the Regular Education classroom setting. Students in this setting receive support based on their Individual Education Plans (IEPs) in order to progress in the state education requirements and grade level expectations.
Related services are determined by evaluation data and the IEP committee, and are provided to help students access the general curriculum. Individual service providers are itinerant and serve a variety of campuses in Douglas County.
Speech Services – Students can receive speech services for articulation, voice, fluency and/or language development. This can be provided in a variety of settings including direct services, in-class support or through a pull-out delivery model.
Douglas County Assistive Technology Team (SWAAAC) – The Douglas County School District Assistive Technology Team (DCSD AT) primarily addresses Assistive Technology (AT) needs in the area of communication and academics for students on an IEP or Section 504 plan. DCSD AT team provides differentiated levels of support based on students' individualized needs. Assistive Technology (AT) is a consultative resource for students.
Orientation & Mobility (O&M) - Students who are blind or visually impaired may qualify for O&M services. O&M skills provide freedom of movement and independence, which promotes high self-esteem and offers increased opportunities for social interactions and employment. A certified orientation and mobility specialist is responsible for teaching a student with a visual impairment to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their environments in school, home, and community using a long cane or other mobility tools and devices.
Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy (OT/PT) – Students with significant fine and/or gross motor deficits may qualify for supports to enable them to benefit from their educational environment. This can be provided in a variety of settings including some direct services or through in-class support. Students may receive writing or cutting devices, standers and/or various other fine or gross motor equipment to enable them to access instruction.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Itinerant Services (DHH) - These related services can be provided for students who do not require center-based levels of support. Services can be provided in a variety of settings including in-class support, direct services or through a pull-out model.
Timeline for the Special Education Process
In most cases the process begins at the school level and follows the timeline below. If you believe that your student may require Special Education services, please contact your child's school to start the process.
Initial referral for Special Education and procedural safeguards given to parents.
Consent for assessment given by parents.
School personnel have 60 calendar days to administer formal assessments to assist in determining if students meet eligibility requirements for Special Education. All assessments and reports must be completed by this time.
School personnel have another 30 days to set up an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting. Parents will recieve Notice of IEP meeting to confirm date/time to meet and review/discuss information obtained.
IEP meeting convenes within 30 calendar days of completion of assessments. If student qualifies for Special Education servies, parents must sign a consent form to begin services.
Special Education services begin. Another IEP meeting will reconvene in a year from the date of the meeting to review services.
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability
What is Section 504?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights statute that protects persons with disabilities from discrimination. It states that:
“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall solely by reason of her or his disability be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) contains similar prohibitions against discrimination.
Under Section 504, school districts are required to make their programs and activities (including non-academic and extracurricular programs and activities) accessible to all individuals with disabilities and to provide students with disabilities a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”). A FAPE includes the provision of regular or special education, related aids and services, and other accommodations designed to meet the individual educational needs of the student.
Please note that Section 504 applies to all students with disabilities – including those students eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). The attached information focuses on the process associated with identifying, evaluating, and serving the “Section 504-only student.”
If you have questions regarding Section 504 concerning students or members of the public, contact your school's Section 504 coordinator.
For additional questions call:
Special Education Department
Douglas County School District
Additional information can be obtained from the U.S.Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
Region VIII, Federal Building, Suite 310
1244 Speer Blvd.
Denver, CO 80204-3582
Frequently Asked Questions
- The parents indicate via phone, in person or in writing they are in agreement for the team to meet without them; or
- If the school has made 3 attempts to meet with parents with either no response from parents or no agreement on date/time.
Either way, the school must provide parents with a copy of the IEP after the meeting if the parents are not present. Phone conferences can be an alternative way to have the IEP meeting if the parents cannot be there in person.
Private School Services
Q. If my child is eligible for Special Education services and they attend a private school, how do they receive their services?
Related Service Providers
Q. My child has been identified with a disability and has an IEP. Does the school district provide transportation?
What is DCSEAC?
Douglas County School District Special Education Advisory Committee is comprised of parents of students with disabilities and district staff who share a common interest in quality education for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
1) Collaborate with the school district on matters relating to continuous improvement efforts as they pertain to special education.
2) Promote family involvement in decision making by seeking advice on district practices and policies relating to special education.
3) To act as an advisory board on behalf of students receiving special education services.
4) Create online resources for families and caregivers who support children in special education.
5) Plan a variety of informational speakers, support groups and workshops to help families and caregivers who support children in special education.
Chairperson: Lori Werhane
Vice Chairperson: Tammy Bishop
Secretary: Melina DePasse
Treasurer: Sabrina West
Interested in becoming a DCSEAC Board Member? Please visit our DCSEAC website for upcoming Parent Network meetings to learn more about helpful topics for parents and caregivers supporting children in special education. Confidentiality: All members will maintain confidentiality in relation to students with disabilities.
Our Parent Board is currently not accepting applications. However, we do review applications when openings do become available. Feel free to fill out the survey form and we will be in touch with upcoming availablity. DCSEAC Board Memebr Application Survey.
If you would like to attend a meeting please email us at info[at]dcseac[dot]org so we may add you to our agenda.
Would you like to thank a member of your child's Special Education staff or other staff member for their hard work and dedicated service?
DCSEAC is excited to announce a new program called Shining Star Week. It is an easy way to say thank you to those Special Education STARS who go above and beyond to make your child's day special. Click here for a printable flyer. to present to your STAR
Our community has many resources that support individuals and families with disabilities.
Providing professional, culturally inclusive mental health and substance abuse services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network offers outpatient services such as individual, family, marital and group counseling therapies – plus a full range of group and inpatient programs.
Arc of Colorado
Building better lives for persons with intellectual developmental disabilities and their families by improving connections to schools, work, and the community through influencing public policy, increasing public awareness, supporting local chapters, and collaborating with other organizations sharing the same values.
Autism Society of Colorado
The mission of the Autism Society of Colorado is to improve the lives of all affected by autism. This includes families, providers, educators, and members of the community. At ASC, we say that we advocate, inform, and share the journey with thousands of Coloradoans.
Colorado Department of Education
Through setting a clear vision for increasing student and overall system performance, CDE continually supports the advancement and improvement of the state’s education system to prepare all learners for success in a rapidly changing global workplace. We have clear goals related to student achievement, educator effectiveness, school/district performance and state agency operations – all aimed at preparing students for success after high school.
Developmental Pathways is a Colorado non-profit agency created to serve persons with developmental disabilities and their families. It was established in 1964 as a community-based alternative to institutional care. Since that time, Pathways has developed a broad array of services based on the principle that full inclusion and participation in community life is attainable for every individual with a developmental disability. Developmental Pathways serves citizens of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, and the portion of Adams County within the city of Aurora city limits.
Highlands Ranch Therapeutic Recreation Program
HRCA Therapeutic Recreation Programs are intended to enhance the quality of life of individuals with special needs. Programs are facilitated by Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists and/or qualified staff. We provide a quality and compassionate community-based environment for participants of all ages and abilities. Our goal is to challenge participants and support general independence, choice, self-determination, and self-confidence. We want each participant to enjoy recreation. We work towards social independence in a fun and safe environment, while encouraging a general sense of health, wellness, and improved quality of life.
The mission of PEAK Parent Center is to provide training, information and technical assistance to equip families of children birth through twenty-six including all disability conditions with strategies to advocate successfully for their children. As a result of PEAK's services to families and professionals, children and adults with disabilities will live rich, active lives participating as full members of their schools and communities.
Rocky Mountain Branch of The International Dyslexia Association (IDA- RMB). The International Dyslexia Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals living with dyslexia, language and literacy challenges, their families and the communities that support them. The IDA-RMB provides local workshops and resources to educate and increase public awareness of dyslexia, a learning difference that affects up to 20 percent of the U.S. population.
Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Society
The mission of Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association is to assure inclusion and enhance independence of people with Down syndrome. We will achieve this by providing education, resources and support in partnership with individuals, families, professionals, and the community.
DC Youth Resource Guide
The Douglas County Youth Initiative is a collaborative project between Douglas County government, the Douglas County School District, the City of Lone Tree, the Town of Castle Rock, the Town of Parker, and Douglas County Libraries. It serves to coordinate local youth-serving efforts and assess the needs of the community's kids.
Making Colorado a better place for children and youth with special health care needs.