Special Education FAQs

Answering your questions regarding Special Education

  • 1. What is special education?
    Special education is specially designed instruction including related and supplementary aids and services as appropriate that address the unique needs of students with disabilities. Related services such as special transportation, Occupational Therapy, or Physical Therapy enable a child to benefit from his or her special education program. Supplementary aids and services are additional accommodations and supports such as behavior management plans and assistive technology that enable the child to access the general education curriculum.

    2. What disabilities are served under special education?
    Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Other Health Impairment, Orthopedic Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Visual Impairment

    3. I think my child has a disability. How do I request services?
    Contact your child’s teacher or Special Education at 205-342-0513.


    4. We are moving to Tuscaloosa City Schools, and our child has an IEP. How do we obtain Special Education services?
    Contact Special Education at 205-342-0513.


    5. How is Special Education availability determined?
    Child Identification as outlined by the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC), includes CHILD FIND, Pre-referral Intervention Strategies in the General Education Class, Referral, Evaluations and Eligibility. Local Education Agency’s (LEA’s) serving children with disabilities must develop and implement procedures that ensure that all children within their jurisdiction, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who need special education and related services are identified, located, and evaluated. Child Find also applies to children with disabilities who attend private schools, including children attending religious schools, within the LEA’s jurisdiction, highly mobile children with disabilities (e.g., migrant children), homeless children, or children who are wards of the State and children who are suspected of having a disability and are in need of special education, even though they have not failed, been retained in a course or grade or are advancing from grade to grade.


    6. My child has been found eligible for Special Education. Now what?
    Written consent for services must be obtained following the determination of eligibility for special education. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed by a team that includes parents, a general educator, special educator, and a representative of the local education agency (LEA representative). Other professionals may also be included as part of the team as appropriate to the child's needs.


    The team works together to develop goals that address the child's unique educational needs and allow him to access the general education curriculum.

    7. Who do I contact for Special Education records?
    Please contact Ms. Patty Sprayberry by calling 205-342-0510, via fax at 205-759-3551, or by emailing pspraybe@tusc.k12.al.us


    8. My child attends private school. Are special education services available?
    Related services such as Speech Language services are available.


    9. My doctor has provided a prescription for school-based services. What is my next step?
    Please share this information with your child's teacher and/or school administrator. Prescriptions alone do not dictate school-based services. They may be considered as part of the evaluation process. All students must meet Alabama Administrative Code criteria for school-based special education services.

    10. My child was recently evaluated outside of the school system and was diagnosed with a disability. Will the school system accept these results?
    Please provide this information to your child's teacher and/or administrator. A meeting will be scheduled to review all information and consider results of an independent evaluation. Diagnostic criteria are not the same as eligibility for special education services (as determined by the Alabama Administrative Code). Therefore, even if pieces of the private evaluation are accepted, additional information may still be needed to meet State eligibility requirements.


    11. My child is homeschooled and I suspect he/she has a disability. How do I request an evaluation?
    Please contact Special Education at 205-342-0513.


    12. What are Extended School Year (ESY) services?
    Extended School Year services are services provided beyond the traditional school year calendar at no cost to the parent. Students must show a documented regression of critical skills over breaks (i.e., Spring Break, summer, Christmas) that they cannot recoup within a reasonable period of re-teaching (6 - 8 weeks). The purpose of extended school year services is to maintain critical skills, not to promote new learning. If you think your child qualifies for extended school year services, please contact your child's teacher.