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Special Education

Eligibility Definitions

over 3 years ago

Eligibility Definitions

According to the Arizona Department of Education, the following is a definition of categories of disabilities:

Autistic (A)
Autism refers to a child with a developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, that is generally evident before the age of three and that adversely affects educational performance. (ARS)§150762 (1). 

Autism is characterized by severe communication disturbances, marked impairments of social relatedness, and gross distortions of the capacity to appropriately relate to people and the environment. It includes gross distortions of non-verbal communication, language, cognition, and speech and gross distortions of developmental rates and sequences.

Emotional Disability (ED)
According to Arizona Revised Statutes, (ARS) §15-761(5), an emotional disability means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, which adversely affects educational performance:

  • An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

  • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

    The term includes children who are schizophrenic but does not include children who are socially maladjusted unless it is determined that they are seriously emotionally disturbed.

    Developmental Delay (DD)
    Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) § 15-766 a child with developmental delay must meet be between the ages of 3 and 10 and meet the following criteria:

    Demonstrate performance on a norm-referenced test that measures at least 1.5 but not more than 3.0 standard deviations below the mean for children of the same age in the following areas:

    • Cognitive development

    • Social emotional development

    • Physical development

    • Adaptive development

    • Communication

      Hearing Impairment (HI)
      “Deaf” means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, which adversely affects educational performance.

      Other Health Impairments (OHI)
      Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) §15-761(9) states: “Other health impairments means limited strength, vitality or alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems which adversely affect a pupil’s educational performance.” 

      If a child with a health problem is not eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, he/she may still qualify under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. 

      If the child is not eligible under either circumstance he/she may be eligible under the district’s chronic illness policy.

      Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
      A Specific Learning Disability is a disorder in one of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. 

      The term includes such conditions as:

  • Perceptual handicaps

  • Brain injury

  • Minimal brain dysfunction

  • Dyslexia

  • Developmental aphasia

    The term does not include children who have learning problems as the result of visual, hearing or motor handicaps, intellectual disability, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

    Intellectual Disability (MIID, MOID, SID)
    Mild Intellectual Disability (MIID) means performance on standard measures of intellectual and adaptive behavior between two and three standard deviations below the mean for children the same age. 

    Moderate Intellectual Disability (MOID) means a performance on standard measures of intellectual and adaptive behavior between three and four standard deviations below the mean for children of the same age.

    Severe Intellectual Disability (SID) means performance on standard measures of intellectual and adaptive behavior measures at least four standard deviations below the mean for children of the same age. (ARS)§15-761(12).

    Multiple Disabilities (MD)
    Multiple Disabilities means learning and development problems resulting from multiple disabilities as determined by evaluation pursuant to (ARS)§ 15-766) that cannot be provided for adequately in a program designed to meet the needs of children with less complex disabilities.

    Multiple disabilities include any of the following conditions that require provision of special education and related services:

  • Two or more of the following conditions: Hearing Impairment, Orthopedic Impairment, Moderate Intellectual Disability, and Visual Impairment

  • A child with a disability listed in subdivision (a) of this paragraph existing concurrently with a condition of mild intellectual disability, emotional disability or specific learning disability.

    In addition, the Arizona Revised Statues Article 4, Section 15-761 states that multiple disabilities with severe sensory impairment means multiple disabilities that include at least on of the following:

  • Severe visual impairment or severe hearing impairment in combination with another severe disability.

  • Severe visual impairment and severe hearing impairment.

    Orthopedic Impairment (OI)
    An Orthopedic Impairment includes those impairments that are caused by congenital anomaly, disease, and other causes, such as amputation or cerebral palsy, and that adversely affects a child's performance in the educational environment.

    Preschool Moderate Delay (PMD)
    Performance by a preschool child on a norm-referenced test that measures at least one and one-half but not more than three standard deviations below the mean for children of the same chronological age in two or more of the following areas:

  • Cognitive development

  • Physical development

  • Communication development

  • Social or emotional development

  • Adaptive development

    The results of the tests must be supported by information from a comprehensive developmental assessment and from parental input.

    Preschool Severe Delay (PSD)
    Performance by a preschool child on a norm-referenced test that measures more than three standard deviations below the mean for children of the same chronological age in one or more of the following:

  • Cognitive development

  • Physical development

  • Communication development

  • Social or emotional development

  • Adaptive development

    Preschool Language/ Speech Delay (PLS)
    Performance by a preschool child on a norm-referenced language test that measures at least one and one half standard deviations below the mean for children of the same chronological age or whose speech, out of context, is unintelligible to a listener who is familiar with the child. 

    Eligibility under this category is only appropriate when a child meets evaluation criteria and is not eligible for services under other preschool categories.

    Speech/Language Impairment (SLI, PLS)
    Speech/ Language Impairment means a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment or voice impairment which adversely affect a child’s educations performance.

    Arizona Revised Statutes §15-761(33) considers a child to have a speech/language impairment when the child’s language is affected “to the extent that it calls attention to itself, it interferes with communication or causes the child to be maladjusted."

    Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
    Traumatic Brain Injury means an acquired injury to the brain that is caused by an external physical force and that results in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects the educational performance. 

    The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in mild, moderate or severe impairments in one or more areas including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, problem solving, sensory, perceptual, physical functions, information processing and speech. 

    The term does not include brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative or brain injuries induced by birth trauma. (ARS)§15-761(36).

    Visual Impairment (VI)
    The educational definition of visual impairment is contained in Arizona Revised Statutes §150761(37), which states: “Visual impairment means a visual impairment that interferes with the child’s performance in the educational environment".

Destruction of Records Scheduled November 1, 2020
Destruction of Records Scheduled November 1, 2020

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

over 3 years ago

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Individual Education Plan (IEP)

What is an IEP?
If your child qualifies for Special Education Services, you and a team of school staff will help to write an Individualized Education Plan or IEP for your child. Your child may also participate in writing the plan. 

The IEP explains and describes:

  • Your child’s current education performance
  • Your child's level of performance
  • Services to be received
  • Amount of time receiving services
  • Goals and objectives for the upcoming year 

 Preparing for the IEP Meeting 

  • Talk to your child about school
  • Visit your child’s classroom
  • List your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and/or areas of concern  
  • Bring any medical or developmental history data
  • List questions for the school staff
  • Know your rights

 During the IEP Meeting 

  • Ask questions
  • Clarify the educational program proposed
  • Work with the team to explore options
  • Ask for another meeting if you need more clarification
  • Request a copy of the IEP document 

 After the IEP Meeting

  • Keep a copy of the IEP and monitor your child’s progress
  • Learn about special education and your child’s disability
  • Express your concerns in writing if you need clarification or help 

                                  IEP Review

Each year, the process of writing and reviewing the Individualized Education Plan(IEP) is repeated.  Progress made on the last IEP will be reviewed, and new goals and objectives will be set for the coming year.  

Parents receive meeting notices before an IEP is going to take place and a prior written notice after the meeting to record any new changes that the IEP team has suggested.  Parental input is always welcome and encouraged in implementing a child’s IEP.


over 3 years ago

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PreSchool students playing in the sand

Bobcat Citizen Preschool

For more information about our preschool please call Rusty Taylor at 520-720-6733.

Child Find

3 days ago

Helping All Children Succeed

Do you have concerns about your child’s development or progress in school?

What Is Child Find?

Child find is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA ’04) that requires states to locate, identify, and evaluate all children with disabilities, ages birth through 21 years, who are in need of early intervention or special education services. This includes children who are highly mobile, such as migrant or homeless children, children suspected of having a disability even though they are advancing from grade to grade, private school students, and homeschool students.

The Arizona initiative for child find is referred to as AZ FIND.

Developmental and Educational Services for Children Ages Birth through 21 Years 
Special programs are provided to students identified as having disabilities in any of the following areas:

  • Autism
  • Emotional Disability  
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Other Health Impairments
  • Specific Learning Disability  
  • Mild, Moderate or SevereIntellectual Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Multiple Disabilities with Severe Sensory Impairment
  • Orthopedic Impairment  
  • Preschool Moderate Delay
  • Preschool Severe Delay
  • Preschool Speech/Language Delay
  • Speech/Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment

Definitions to the above click here

A referral for early intervention or special education services can come from a parent, guardian, foster parent, family member, teacher, counselor, or the student who finds learning difficult. The earlier you express your concerns, the sooner your child’s needs will be identified and the sooner he or she will receive the help needed to succeed.

Help for Infants and Toddlers 
Children ages birth to 2 years 10 1/2 months are screened through the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) to determine if early intervention services are needed. Early intervention brings professionals, working in partnership with parents and families of children with special needs, together to support infants’ or toddlers’ growth, development, and learning. If you have questions about your child’s development, an AzEIP specialist will talk with you about your concerns and observe your child. If your child is found eligible, a plan will be designed to include strategies, activities, and supports to achieve desired outcomes related to your child’s needs. Make an online referral at For more information, call 1-888-439-5609 or (602) 532-9960.

Help for Preschool and School-Aged Children 
Your local school district, or the charter school your child attends (for school-aged children), screens children ages 2 years 10 1/2 months through 21 years. Public schools use an informal screening process to check your child’s development and academic progress. 
​• Screening must be completed within 45 calendar days of the date you notify the school of your concerns. 
​• When a concern is identified through screening procedures, you must be notified within 10 school days and informed of procedures to follow up on your child’s needs. For example:  Your child may be referred to the school’s child study team for pre-intervention services; or, If screening results indicate your child may have a disability, a comprehensive evaluation will be necessary to your child’s determine eligibility for special education and related services. A team, of which you will be a member, will meet to begin the process.

Screening and evaluation are free. All information contained in the screening or evaluation is confidential.

Be Involved! 
Family engagement has a positive influence on your child’s academic success and emotional development. 
​• Set high expectations and establish goals. 
​• Communicate frequently with teachers to monitor your child’s achievements. 
​• Ask for ideas and materials to help your child learn at home. 
​• Reward progress and celebrate accomplishments. 
​• Volunteer for classroom and schoolwide activities. 
​• Attend community events and workshops that promote learning and social growth.

AZ FIND, 1-800-352-4558 or 928-637-1871,,

Benson Unified School District will hold Child Find screenings throughout the 2020-2021 school year. Please contact Lisa Mendoza at (520) 720-6734 for more information.

Parental Rights

over 3 years ago

Rights & Responsibilities 

The following is a summary of your parental rights. For a complete copy, please contact the Special Education Office at (520) 720-6730 or contact your child’s school. You may also download the Procedural Safeguards Notice (English)  Procedural Safeguards Notice (Spanish)

    Summary of Rights

    • Right to informed consent on evaluations and placement
    • Right to be involved in all decision making
    • Right to have copies or examine records
    • Right to obtain an independent evaluation
    • Right to prior written notice
    • Right to due process
    • Right to appeal decisions
    • Right to ‘Stay Put’ in child’s current placement
    • Right to information on discipline procedures
    • Right to voluntary mediation
    • Right to notification of assigned surrogate parent
    • Right to information on transfer of rights at age 18
    • Responsibility to notify school of private placement