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Special Education and 504 Information

Special Education and 504 Information

The Pupil Personnel Department of Cook County School District 130 provides children with special needs programs that allow them to obtain benefits from the curriculum and make continuous progress toward District learning expectations and Illinois State Standards.

The overall goal of the Special Education Department is to meet the individual and unique needs of each student and provide for them strategies, accommodations, and educational opportunities to help them become problem solvers, decision-makers, independent productive citizens and lifelong learners.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides for a free and appropriate public education for all individuals with disabilities between the ages of 3 up to the 22nd birthdate. In order to meet the diverse educational needs of all of its students, the Special Education Department provides a continuum of instructional and support services that are considered when a child becomes eligible for special education services.

Students receive supportive instruction by a qualified special education teacher in collaboration with the student’s regular education teacher. Instructional sessions are provided either individually or in small groups in the regular education environment or in the resource room.

Child Find

The State of Illinois makes each school district responsible for actively seeking out and identifying all children from birth up to the 22nd birthdate within the district, including children not enrolled in the public schools, who may be eligible for special education and related services.

Cook County School District 130 is an elementary school district serving children from age 3 through age 15, recognizes this responsibility and provides a screening and evaluation program that assist in the identification of children suspected of having a disability that impacts educational performance.

If a child is suspected of having a disability, the child’s teacher and or/ school district personnel, a parent, an employee of a community service agency, another professional having knowledge of a child’s problem, a child, or an employee of the State Board of Education, may make a referral to the School District for screening or evaluation of the child’s suspected problem.

For School age children grades Kindergarten-8th grade. Contact the building principal or assistant principal to discuss your concerns. The Pupil Personnel Service Team will than discuss with the parent the steps they will take to determine if the child has a disability that impacts educational performance.

Vision and Hearing Screening: Annual Vision Screening is provided for the following groups for suspected vision impairments: special education students, preschool age, kindergarten, second grade, eighth grade, new and transfer students, or referred by school staff for suspected vision impairment. Annual Hearing screening is provided for these groups: preschool age, kindergarten, grades 1, 2, 3, special education students, new and transfer students, or referred by school staff for suspected hearing impairment.

Non-public/ Parochial Schools:

For Children enrolled in non-public/parochial schools.  Cook County School District 130 meets each year to discuss with the administrators of local non-public/parochial schools the district referral procedures for students with suspected disabilities. Please contact the building administrator of the non-public/parochial school your child attends for information on referring your child for screening or evaluation.

If your child attends a non-public/parochial school outside of the boundaries of Cook County School 130 the school district that the non-public/parochial school is located in is responsible for evaluating and providing services for your child if they are eligible for special education services, contact your non-public/parochial school principal for information and procedures.

What is Assistive Technology (AT)?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004, provides a legal definition of AT. The definition at 34 C.F.R. § 300.5 reads as follows:

  • Assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.… (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1401(1))
  • The term [assistive technology] does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1401(1))
  • What are Assistive Technology Services?

IDEA 2004 provides a definition of AT services at 34 C.F.R. § 300.6. Specifically, it states:

Assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, and use of an assistive technology device. The term includes—

(a) The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child’s customary environment;

(b) Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;

(c) Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, retaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;

(d) Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;

(e) Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child’s family; and

(f) Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of that child. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1401(2))

More information about AT in the school setting can be found in the Illinois Assistive Technology Guidance Manual.


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Section 504 establishes a student’s right to full access and participation to education and all school-related activities and require schools provide appropriate services to meet the individual needs of qualified students.

A student is considered “qualified” under Section 504 if the student is between the ages of 3 and 22 years of age and has a disability, which is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include caring for one’s self, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, performing manual tasks, and learning. Some examples of impairments that may substantially limit major life activities, even with the help of medication, aids or devices are: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthma, allergies, blindness or visual impairment, deafness or hearing impairment, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, and mental illness.

With the passage of the ADA Amendments Act in 2008, Congress expanded the scope of "major life activities” and clarified that a disability determination under the ADA and Section 504 should not demand extensive analysis, which is why the ameliorating effects of mitigating measures (other than ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses) are no longer considered when making a determination.

In addition to providing required services and program modifications, school districts are also required to have written procedures regarding their administration of services under Section 504. These procedural safeguards include notice of the law and its applicability, an opportunity for students and their parents or guardians to examine relevant records, an impartial hearing with the student’s parents or guardians and representation by counsel, and a review procedure. The procedural safeguards used to comply with IDEA are one means of meeting this requirement.  If a child does not meet the entitlement criteria for IDEA then a 504 should be considered. 

Additional Information and Updates: