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Student Services FAQs

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What is the difference between Special Education/IEP and a 504 Plan?

An IEP refers to an " individualized education program" as defined in 34 CFR 300.22 and is a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with §§300.320 through 300.324.(NH Rules pg. 15) An IEP includes:

  • A statement of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance
  • A statement of the child's eligibility/disability category
  • A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals
  • A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child
  • A statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to the child
  • A statement of any individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary for the child on State and district wide assessments
  • The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications including the frequency, location and duration of those services and modifications
  • By no later than the child's 16 birthday an Individual Transition Plan outlining measurable postsecondary goals, independent living skills goals and the transition services needed to accomplish those goals
    By no later than one year prior to the Child reaching the age of majority a statement that the child has been informed of their rights upon reaching the age of majority.

What is the difference between accommodation & modification/how does it affect the student diploma?

Accommodations refer to any change in instruction or evaluation determined necessary by the IEP team that does NOT impact the rigor and/or validity of the subject matter being taught or assessed. (NH Rules pg 2) Accommodations simply "level the playing field" and are intended to mitigate the effects of a student's disability. Accommodations do not alter the learning standards or expectations. Examples include additional test time, a quiet place for test taking, books on tape, using large print or Braille, graphic organizers etc. Modifications on the other hand, change the level of instruction provided or tested and create a different standard for the student receiving them. Examples include giving easier assignments, making student responsible for more general concepts, fewer test problems etc. (Howard County Autism Society)

What is a developmental disability?

A "Child with a developmental delay'' means a child wit h a developmental delay as defined in RSA-186-C is:

A child at least 3 years of age or older, but less than 10 years of age, who, because of impairments in development, needs special education or special education and related services, and may be identified as having a developmental delay provided that such a child meets the criteria established by the state Board of Education:

  1. Is experiencing developmental de lays in one or more ofthe following areas:

    a. Physical development;
    b. Cognitive development;
    c. Communication development;
    d. Social or emotional development; or
    e. Adaptive development; and

  2. By reason there of, needs special education and related services, as measured by appropr iate diagnostic instruments and procedures consistent with Ed 1107 and identified in compliance with 34 CFR 300.111(b). However, pursuant to 34 CFR 300.111(b)(2), these rules:

    a. Shall not require that an LEA adopt and use the term "developmental delay'' for any children; and
    b. Shall not relieve the LEA of any duty to provide a free appropriate public education to children who qualify for special education based on another eligibility category.

What constitutes a least restrictive environment (LRE)?

Ed 1111.01(a) Placement in the Least Restrictive Environment:

The law requires that "to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs ONLY if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily". (NH Rules page 12; 300.114 LRE requirements). While the law favors educating students in a general education setting, it recognizes that for some students a more restrictive or segregated setting may be necessary to provide an appropriate education. (

What is the Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)?

Functional Behavioral Assessments have been used to try to determine why individuals exhibit specific behaviors and how the environment interacts with the individual and those behaviors. This method of analyzing behavior can be used with any individual exhibiting problem behavior and ultimately lead to effective interventions and a positive behavior plan to help the student learn more appropriate behavior. (

What are the core academic subjects?

"Core academic subjects" as defined in 34 CFR 300.10, include:

(1) English;
(2) Reading or language arts;
(3) Mathematics;
(4) Science;
(5) Foreign languages;
(6) Civics and government;
(7) Economics;
(8) Arts;
(9) History; and
(10) Geography.

(NH Rules page 8)

What is specialized instruction/specialty designed instruction?

Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child under this part, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction:

  • To address the unique needs of the child that result from the child's disability; and
  • To ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.

What are transition services?

"Transition services" as defined in 34 CFR 300.43:

A) Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a chiId with a disability that:

1) Is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;

2) Is based on the individual child's needs, taking into account the child's strengths, preferences, and interests; and includes:
  1. Instruction;
  2. Related services;
  3. Community experiences;
  4. The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and
  5. lf appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation.

B) Transition services for children with disabilities may be special education, if provided as specially designed instruction, or a related service, if required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education. (NH Rules page 32) 

What is the sequence of steps in the Special Education process?

Ed 1104.01 Sequence of Special Education Process -

The sequence of the special education process shall be:
  1. Referral;
  2. Evaluation;
  3. Determination of eligibility;
  4. Development and approval of the IEP;
  5. Placement;
  6. Ongoing monitoring of the IEP; and
  7. Annual review of the IEP

(NH Rules page 36)

What is the difference between inclusion and mainstream?

Inclusion is a term which expresses commitment to educate each child, to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school and classroom he or she would otherwise attend. It involves bringing the support services to the child (rather than moving the child to the services) and requires only that the chiId will benefit from being in the class (rather than having to keep up with the other students). Proponents of inclusion generally favor newer forms of education service delivery. In an inclusive setting, a severely disabled student may only need to know the name of his own state and of the country. He also may receive one-on-one instruction by a paraprofessional in order to accomplish this assessment goal. The curriculum is often significantly modified for the included student so that he will have the capability to pass the assessments and gain confidence in his skills, even if he is not performing anywhere near the level of his peers.

Those who support the idea of mainstreaming believe that a chiId with disabilities first belongs in the special education environment and that the child must earn his/her way into the regular education environment.

In contrast, those who support inclusion believe that the child always should begin in the regular environment and be removed only when appropriate services cannot be provided in the regular classroom. (

What is FAPE?

FAPE stands for "Free Appropriate Public Education" and refers to special education and related services that:

  1. Are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
  2. Meet the standards of t he SEA, including t he requirements ofthis part;
  3. Include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the state involved;
  4. Are provided in conformity with an individualized education program (IEP) that meets the requirements of §§300.320 through 300.324.

§300.114 LRE requirements:

1) State must have in effect policies and procedures to ensure that public agencies meet the LRE requirements ofthis section and
§§300.115 through 300.120.

2) Each public agency must ensure that: To the maximum extent appropriate, children wit h disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are non disabled.

Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

b) Additional requirement-State funding mechanism.

A state must not use a funding mechanism by which the state distributes funds on the basis oft he type of setting in which a child is served that will result in the failure to provide a child with a disability FAPE according to the unique needs of the child, as described in the child's IEP. (NH Rules page 11)

Where can I find the New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities?

Click here for the New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities.