Special Education

The nation’s special education law is called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. As part of making special education and related services available to children with disabilities in the public schools, IDEA defines the term “child with a disability.” That definition includes specific disability terms, which are also defined by IDEA.

We want our students with disabilities to have every opportunity to be included in the general education curriculum with their classroom peers.  When students need specialized instruction or related services supports we are able to provide a wide spectrum of services to help them make progress in their educational program.  We look at each child as an individual and create a program and goals to meet their personal, social and academic needs.  

Occupational Therapy

According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Schools provide occupational therapy when a child with a disability requires this related service to assist the child to benefit from special education. Occupational therapists use purposeful activity to facilitate a child's active participation in self-maintenance; academic and vocational pursuits; and play or leisure activities that occur in school environments. Using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and environmental modifications, school occupational therapists collaborate with parents, teachers and other educational staff to help implement a child's special education program."

Pulaski Community Schools provides Occupational Therapy to students identified to be in need of these related services. Services are provided throughout the district at all schools.

Learn more about our Occupational Therapy services »

Speech & Language Services

Good communication is essential for success in speaking, thinking, writing, reading and learning. Poor communication skills can interfere with a child’s ability to build relationships and learn at school, home and in the community. Pulaski Community School District Speech/Language Pathologists (Therapists) provide services to children from 3 to 21 years of age who demonstrate Speech or Language Impairments as defined in State of Wisconsin Department of Instruction Criteria.

PCSD Speech/Language Pathologists also provide services to students with other Categorical Disabilities  who have demonstrated specific needs in speech and/or language.

Learn more about our Speech & Language program & services »

Physical Therapy

According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Physical therapy is a related service provided to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education. School physical therapy focuses on a child's ability to move as independently as possible in the school environment. The school physical therapist evaluates the child's ability to move throughout the school and to participate in classroom activities."

Pulaski Community Schools provides Physical Therapy services at each school.

Learn more about our Physical Therapy services »

Wisconsin Disability Categories

Autism Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting a child's social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects learning and educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance, as defined in sub. (7). [Wis. Admin. Code , s. PI 11.36(8)]
Deaf-Blind Deaf-Blind means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness. [34 CFR 300.8(c)(2)]
Emotional Behavioral Disability Emotional behavioral disability, pursuant to s. 115.76(5)(a)5., Stats., means social, emotional or behavioral functioning that so departs from generally accepted, age appropriate ethnic or cultural norms that it adversely affects a child's academic progress, social relationships, personal adjustment, classroom adjustment, self-care or vocational skills. [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(7)]
Hearing Impairment Hearing Impairment, including deafness, means a significant impairment in hearing, with or without amplification, whether permanent or chronically fluctuating, that significantly adversely affects a child's educational performance including academic performance, speech perception and production, or language and communication skills. [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(4)]
Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability means significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects the child's educational performance.  [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(1)]

Specific Learning Disability Specific learning disability, pursuant to s. 115.76(5)(a)10., Stats., means a severe learning problem due to a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in acquiring, organizing or expressing information that manifests itself in school as an impaired ability to listen, reason, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations, despite appropriate instruction in the general education curriculum. Specific learning disability may include conditions such as perceptual disability, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(6)]
Other Health Impairment Other Health Impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems. The term includes but is not limited to a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, or acquired injuries to the brain caused by internal occurrences or degenerative conditions which adversely affects a child's educational performance. [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(10)]
Orthopedic Impairment Orthopedic Impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes, but is not limited to, impairments caused by congenital anomaly, such as clubfoot, or absence of some member; impairments caused by disease, such as poliomyelitis or bone tuberculosis; and impairments from other causes, such as cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures. [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(2)]
Significant Developmental Delay

The permanent rule for Significant Developmental Delay is now in effect.  Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams may now consider identifying SDD as a disability category for children ages 3 through 9, for both initial and reevaluations. Other suspected disability categories still need to be considered before identifying a child's disability category as SDD. If a child's 3 year reevaluation is not due, children who are 6 may continue to receive special education and related services under the category of SDD.  [Wis. Admin. Code, PI 11.36(11)]

Speech or Language Impairment Speech or Language Impairment means an impairment of speech or sound production, voice, fluency, or language that significantly affects educational performance or social, emotional or vocational development. [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(5)]
Traumatic Brain Injury Traumatic Brain Injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; speech and language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; communication; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and executive functions, such as organizing, evaluating and carrying out goal-directed activities. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma. [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(9)]
Visual Impairment Visual Impairment means even after correction a child's visual functioning significantly adversely affects his or her educational performance. [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(3)]
Significant Developmental Delay Significant developmental delay means children, ages 3, 4 and 5 years of age or below compulsory school attendance age, who are experiencing significant delays in the areas of physical, cognition, communication, social-emotional or adaptive development. All other suspected impairments under this section shall be considered before identifying a child's primary impairment as significant developmental delay. [Wis. Admin. Code PI 11.36(11)]

Adaptive/Specially Designed Physical Education

Adapted physical education (APE) is physical education which is adapted, modified or individually designed  to address the individualized needs of children and youth who have gross motor developmental delays.  Adaptive physical education is a related services available to students who have an IEP who are not being successful without the support of adaptive physical education. 

Adapting or modifying the physical education curriculum and/or instruction to address the individualized abilities of each child is the main goal of our adaptive physical education program.   Adaptations are made to ensure that each student will experience success in a safe environment. Placement is outlined in the IEP and may include one or more of the following options:

  • The general physical education setting
  • The general physical education setting with a teaching assistant or peers
  • A separate class setting with peers
  • A separate class setting with assistants
  • A one-to-one setting between students and the instructor