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Special Education

Special Services Overview

Darien School District #61 offers a full continuum of special education services in the least restrictive environment in accordance with the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-2004). District 61 provides a free and appropriate public education for all students with disabilities who are eligible and are three years of age and older. District 61 provides programs and appropriate related services for students who have been identified as needing such services in order to have access to and gain benefit from the general education curricula. 

Special Education Program and Related Services 

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is designed for students with a disability(s) who require specialized instruction provided by a special education teacher and meets one of the following disabilities listing in the IDEA-2004:

  • Autism (includes, but is not limited to, any Autism Spectrum Disorder)

  • Deaf-blindness

  • Deafness

  • Emotional disability

  • Hearing impairment

  • Intellectual disability

  • Multiple disabilities

  • Orthopedic impairment

  • Other health impairment

  • Specific learning disability

  • Speech or language impairment

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Visual impairment

Adaptations, modifications and accommodations of general education curriculum may occur according to the individual needs of the students as determined at an IEP meeting. A continuum of educational settings  is available depending on the needs of the students. 

Related services may be required to assist the student to benefit from special education. Social work, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy are some of the related services provided for individual students as appropriate. 

If your student receives related services from the District through their IEP, you may request copies of related service logs. These related service logs include the date and duration of service administered to your child.

Child Find, Referral, Case Study Evaluation, and Eligibility

D61 actively seeks out and attempts to identify all students in the district who have disabilities that significantly impact academic achievement and functional performance. When a concern is expressed either by school staff, student, or a parent, the student’s academic and social/emotional status is reviewed through a problem-solving process. Teachers and support staff, along with the student and parents, may develop and implement interventions and strategies to address needs. When interventions/strategies adequately meet the needs of a student, no further action is necessary.

When strategies and intervention plans are not successful in appropriately supporting a student, an individual assessment, referred to as a case study evaluation, is initiated to determine eligibility for Special Education services.

Any private evaluations, provided by parents, are considered by the educational team and are compared to the district’s special education evaluative results. Within 14 school days of receiving a private evaluation or other request for assessment, the educational team determines whether additional assessment or other steps are warranted.

If the student is determined to be eligible for special education support, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed and reviewed annually. Eligibility for special education services is reevaluated every three years.

Child Find/Identifying Students under Section 504

Students who are currently enrolled in grades preK-8 and attending a District 61 school may be referred for an evaluation by their parents or the school team. To refer a child for a 504 evaluation, a letter or email should be submitted to the school’s 504 coordinator and list the areas of concern. 

A student may qualify for 504 services if it is determined that they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities and that they require accommodations or modifications to access FAPE. 

Private School Students 

A student who attends a private, parochial or is home schooled within the boundaries of Darien District 61 is eligible for consideration for a special education evaluation and services in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). IDEA 2004-Section 612 requires each public school district to utilize a portion of its Federal Part B special education funds in order to provide students with disabilities, who attend private schools within the boundaries of the district. 

When there is reason to believe that a student may have a disability requiring special education and related services, the student can be referred for a special education evaluation. Students who attend private schools receive an Individual Service Plan if they are found eligible for special education services.

LaGrange Area Department of Special Education (LADSE)

To meet the diverse educational needs of the students, Darien Public Schools District #61 is a member of the LADSE special education cooperative. Member districts combine resources to provide appropriate services for students who meet eligibility and reside within the cooperative. Click here for more information about LADSE.

The School Association for Special Education (SASED)

Darien Public Schools District #61 may utilize the SASED cooperative to provide services for children with low incidence disabilities. Click here for more information about SASED 

For additional information regarding Special Education in Darien Schools District 61, please contact Dr. Kateri Quinonez, Director of Special Services, at or 630-968-7505. 

Dr. Kateri Quinonez also serves as Darien School District 61 PUNS Coordinator per Public Act 103-504.

Special Education Staff

Darien School District 61 Special Education Staff Listing

Special Education Files