SPECIAL EDUCATION and GIFTED/TALENTED
In keeping with the district's mission, students with diverse learning needs are supported as they participate in the Wilkinsburg School District school experience. Students with a variety of special needs including learning difficulties, physical challenges, emotional difficulties, and giftedness are served through special education services located in both district school buildings. Services are provided by special education teachers, classroom teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, school nurses, counselors, paraprofessional staff, and others with specialized training and expertise. Wilkinsburg School District strives to provide every child a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. Students are provided as many opportunities as possible to be integrated in the regular classroom with their peers. The administration and staff are dedicated to individualizing each child's educational program to best meet their needs, allowing them to reach their greatest learning potential.
To qualify for special education services, the child must be of school age, in need of specially-designed instruction, and meet eligibility criteria for one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities, as set forth in Pennsylvania State Regulations: Specific Learning Disability, Emotionally Disturbed, Autism/Pervasive Development Disorder, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Deaf-blindness, Deafness, Hearing Impairment, Mental Retardation, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Neurological Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Visual Impairment including Blindness, and Speech or Language Impairment. Information regarding the appropriate developmental milestone descriptors for infants and toddlers may be found at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov or The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) website at nichcy.org.
The definition of giftedness comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Special Education Rules and Regulations, Chapter 16, which states that a student who is mentally gifted demonstrates outstanding intellectual and creative ability, the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program. This includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher or when multiple criteria, as set forth in Chapter 16 and in Department Guidelines, indicate gifted ability. Determination of gifted ability will not be based on IQ score alone. Deficits in memory or processing speed, as indicated by testing, cannot be the sole basis upon which a student is determined to be ineligible for gifted special education. A person with an IQ score lower than 130 may be admitted to gifted programs when other educational criteria in the profile of the person strongly indicate gifted ability.