Special Education

Tennessee Department of Education
Division of Special Education
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes the Child Find mandate. Child Find requires all school districts to identify, locate and evaluate all children with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities. This obligation to identify all children who may need special education services exists even if the school is not providing special education services to the child.

The IDEA requires all states to develop and implement a practical method of determining which children with disabilities are receiving special education and related services and which children are not.

(20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3); Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, pages 72, 206-207).

Who is Covered by Child Find?
Schools are required to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities from birth through age 21. The Child Find mandate applies to all children who reside within a State, including children who attend private schools and public schools, highly mobile children, migrant children, homeless children, and children who are wards of the state.

This includes all children who are suspected of having a disability, including children who receive passing grades and are “advancing from grade to grade.” The law does not require children to be “labeled” or classified by their disability.

Note: You will find the Child Find requirements in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, pages 72, 206-207

Section 504
Rutherford County Schools also provides services to eligible students under Section 504. A Section 504 student is defined as an individual who has, has had, or is regarded as having a disability which may impact one or more major life activities including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, or performing manual tasks.

Gifted Students
Spectrum-Intellectually Gifted
Intellectually Gifted students are those whose intellectual abilities and potential for achievement are so outstanding that special provisions are required to meet their needs. The Spectrum Office is part of the Rutherford County Board of Education and can be reached at 615-893-5812, extension 22037.