A homeschooled that child is identified by the provisions of the Education of the Handicapped Act as needing special education services (excluding those identified as gifted and/or talented), has additional requirements and challenges for their program. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327 (d).
Please reference the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1401 et seq.
When the affidavit is submitted for an exceptional student, it must be accompanied by a written notification of approval that the specific needs of the exceptional student are addressed by the program.
The parent has a choice of who will assure that the educational program addresses the needs of their child, and may be any of the following:
- A teacher with a valid certificate from the Commonwealth to teach special education
- A licensed clinical psychologist
- A certified school psychologist
The law does not stipulate that the certification must be active, but only that it exists. This is similar to the regulation for evaluators of home education programs and private tutors – neither of which are required to be current in Act 48 credits (professional development). See 24 P.S. § 12-1205.1.
No one has the right to challenge the “written notification” of who the supervisor of the home education program selects as long as they meet the vocational criteria. The parent may select someone to approve the program with whose diagnosis the parent feels comfortable, have that person review the program to ensure it meets their child’s needs and write the approval letter.
School District Support
If you believe your child is disabled and in need of special education services, but has not been evaluated, the school district in which you reside is required to evaluate the child, without charge, when you make such a request in writing. The district must explain the results of the evaluation to you. If the district does not provide this service when requested to do so, the supervisor may contact the special education hotline at 1-800-879-2301.
If you desire special education support services, the provision of services must be agreed to by both the supervisor and the school district or intermediate unit. All services shall be provided in the public schools or in a private school licensed to provide such programs and services; these services will not be provided in your home. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327 (d).
School districts are not required to provide support, but may at their discretion.
Terminating an IEP
If a parent terminates the Individualized Education Program (IEP) of their homeschooled child, the requirement for pre-approval of the educational plan no longer applies and the school district will not provide services.
Parents do not need Special Skills
A parent has no legal requirement for any particular skill or certification to homeschool a child with special needs. The only limitation is that their affidavit must address the specific needs of the child and be approved. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327 (d).