AllentownSchool District

Special Education FAQ

Q: What is IDEA? 
A: IDEA stands for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. IDEA provides Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) possible for each student. To the maximum extent appropriate, as provided in the IEP, the student with a disability is educated with non-disabled peers. 

Q: What does FAPE mean? 
A: Free Appropriate Public Education is defined as an individualized educational program that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and from which the child receives educational benefit, and prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living.

Q: What are considered School Age Disabilities? 
A: Autism, Deaf-blindness, Deafness, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disability, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Visual Impairment including Blindness

Q: What Special Education programs or support does the Allentown School District provide for a student with School Age Disabilities
A: Autistic Support, Emotional Support, Hearing Impaired Support, Learning Support, Life Skills Support, Multiple Disabilities Support, Speech/Language Support, Vision Support. Related services include speech/language, occupational therapy, physical therapy and nursing services according to a doctor's prescription. 

Q: What does this mean for my child in ASD? 
A: IEP teams will consider the full range of services, starting with regular education and including the modification of the curriculum content, before contemplating a more restrictive setting. School-age programs are available for students ages 5 to 21. Full day school-age programs focus on academic development and access to the general education curriculum. 
Given written consent, a child begins the recommended school-age program and IEP is implemented at the start of the school year. The IEP must be updated at least annually, or sooner if a team member (including parent/guardian) recommends a revision. 

Q: What are the levels of support my child can receive in ASD? 
A: Levels or the continuum of support include: 
  • Itinerant - students are included with typical peers for at least 80% of the school day
  • Supplemental - Students are included with typical peers for 20-79% of the school day
  • Full-Time - Students are included with typical peers 0-19% of the school day


Q: My child is about to register for Kindergarten. How will ASD determine if my child needs Special Education Services? 
A: Once a child is enrolled in the district, ASD staff will review to determine eligibility. Your child can be recommended for a seamless transition, evaluation or reevaluation. 
  • Seamless Transition
    • No further data is needed to determine school age eligibility
    • An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is recommended, offering equitable services
    • A Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) is presented for consent
  • Evaluation
    • A Permission to Evaluate (PTE) will be sent home for written consent
    • An evaluation is completed within 60 calendar days of received consent
    • An educational program is recommended based on eligibility (Note: some students may not be eligible for school-age services)
  • Reevaluation - no additional data is needed
    • Determines if your child has a school-age disability and if your child is in need of specially designed instruction
    • A Reevaluation Report (RR) is completed using existing data, including a review of records, teacher input, parent input, and observation
    • If a student is eligible for services, an IEP must be created and recommended within 30 calendar days
  • Reevaluation – Additional Data is needed
    • A Permission to Reevaluate (PTRE) will be sent home for written consent
    • A Reevaluation is completed within 60 calendar days of received consent
    • An educational program is recommended based on eligibility (Note: some students may not be eligible for school age services)



Autism Speaks

Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21

Cerebral Palsy

COMPASS (Health and Human Services in PA)

Gaskin Settlement Agreement (Least Restrictive Environment)


PaTTan (Pennsylvania Training and & Technical Assistance Network)

Pennsylvania Department of Education