Special Education



    Darien Public Schools District 61 offers a full continuum of special education services in the least restrictive environment (LRE) in accordance with the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The district provides free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for all individuals with identified disabilities. Services within District 61 are provided for children beginning in preschool (3 years of age) through 8th grade who meet federal guidelines for one or more of the following categories:

    •Intellectual Disability
    •Developmental Delay
    •Emotional Disability
    •Hearing Impairment
    •Multiple Disabilities
    •Orthopedic Impairment 
    •Other Health Impairment 
    •Specific Learning Disability
    •Speech and Language Impairment
    •Traumatic Brain Injury
    •Visual Impairment 

    Social work, speech and language therapy, and occupational and physical therapy are some of the related services provided for individual students as appropriate.

    Section 504

    Students who do not qualify for an individualized education plan, as required by the federal Individuals with Disability Act and implementing provisions for this Code, may qualify for services under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if the child (i) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (ii) has a record of physical or mental impairment, or (iii) is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment.

    All inquiries for information regarding the identification, assessment, and placement of students for Section 504 can be obtained by contacting your child’s school:

    • Mark DeLay @ 630-852-0200
    • Lace @ 630-968-2589
    • Eisenhower Junior High @ 630-964-5200.

    (Citation: Public Act 100-1112)

    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 LaGrange Area Department of Special Education (LADSE).  LADSE is a co-operative comprised of elementary and high school districts.  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 is a participating member of SASED that provides services for children with low incidence disabilities.

    Click here for more information about SASED 

    Special Education services include:

      • Transition from Early Intervention
      • Eligibility
      • Implementation of Individual Education Plans (IEP)
      • Maintenance of special education records
      • Monitoring of special education rules and regulations
      • Preschool Screening
      • Private/Parochial ChildFind and Services
      • Related services including speech and language, social work, occupational therapy, etc.
      • Student placement and transition planning
      • Coordination of LaGrange Area Department of Special Education (LADSE). 


    Special education personnel provide instruction and related services that can include but are not limited to social work services, speech and language services, psychological services, occupational therapy and physical therapy.  Click the link at the top of the page to view special education personnel.


    Darien Public Schools District #61 provides a continuum of services available to those students who have been found eligible to receive additional support. The special education teachers work with students with Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) from kindergarten through eighth grade. The learning environment along with instruction, materials and assessments are individualized to meet the needs of the students. 

    Preschool Programs

    Darien Public Schools District #61 in partnership with the LaGrange Area Department of Special Education (LADSE) provides three special education preschool programs specifically designed to meet the needs of children between the ages of three and five who have special needs: Early Childhood, Blended At-Risk, and Bilingual Preschool.  All three programs operates five days a week with children either attending in the morning from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30a.m. or in the afternoon from 12:15p.m. to 2:45pm.

    Early Childhood Preschool Program

        • The Early Childhood Special Education Preschool Program is designed for children, ages 3-5, who are residents of the school district and are not yet eligible to enter kindergarten. 
        • Each class has a maximum of 10 students identified as having special education needs. 
        • Eligibility is based upon either a referral for special education evaluation when it is believed the child may have a disability requiring special education services or as a result of screening completed at the school district indicating at-risk factors
        • The program is offered at Mark DeLay and begins after Labor Day.

    Blended/At-risk Preschool Program

        • District #61 offers a Blended/At-risk Preschool Program for children, ages 3-5, who are residents of the school district and are not yet eligible to enter kindergarten. 
        • Each class has a maximum of 20 students with no more than 6 of the students identified as having special education needs. 
        • This program is funded through the Preschool for All Grant and is available to eligible families.
        • Eligibility is based upon either a referral for special education evaluation when it is believed the child may have a disability requiring special education services or as a result of screening completed at the school district indicating at-risk factors.    
        • The program is offered at Mark DeLay and begins on the first day of classes.


    The Resource Program is designed for students who require special education services less than 50% of their school day. This type of program can include consultation by the resource special education teacher to the regular classroom teacher and/or individual or small group direct instruction. Services are provided either within the grade-level classroom or in an alternative location within the school. Programs are located at all District #61 schools (Grades: K-8). 

    Extended Resource

    The Extended Resource Program is a self-contained class designed to meet the individualized educational needs of students who require special education services for more than 50% of their school day and a modified/functional curriculum in one or more academic areas. Programs are located at all District #61 schools (Grades: K-8)

    Multi-Needs Program

    The multi-needs program provides services for children who have multiple disabilities with a primary or secondary disability of cognitive impairment are available through the LADSE. These programs provide highly specialized services with small student/staff ratios within small class settings that include medical monitoring, music therapy, art therapy, speech/language therapy, and physical and occupational therapy. Classrooms are located in District #61 as well as in surrounding school districts that are members of LADSE (Grades: Preschool-8).

    Communication Development Network (CD)

    LADSE offers a range of options for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).* 

    The CD classrooms provide intensive educational and therapeutic supports within a clinical model for students three to fourteen years of age. A student is enrolled for a portion of the school day in a CD program site where staff focus on the development of communication, social skills, and positive behavior.*

    District Autism Supports

    LADSE offers consultative support to teams working with ASD. The consultant assists in the design and structuring of environments, strategies, and supports that best accommodate the needs of students with autism in the natural setting.

    Level I: Self-Contained Classroom

    The Level I program provides intensive therapeutic and instructional services to students with behavioral challenges preventing success in general education settings.

    Level II: Supported Inclusion

    Level II provides a support network for students in district-based programs in a variety of special and general education classroom settings such as cross-categorical groupings or inclusion models.

    Level III: Prevention

    A proactive, consultative approach is the focus of Level III. The aim is to intervene before problems escalate to the point where a more restrictive educational placement for the student is warranted.*

    Emotional Disability

    The Emotional Disabilities Program provides a continuum of support options for students with social, emotional, and behavior disorders. A positive, strength-based, wraparound team approach provides three levels of support to students.*

    Phonological Program

    The Phonological Program was developed for a specific group of children, ages 3 to 6 years, to remediate severe to profound speech disorders. The children who are eligible for this program has good understanding of language, no significant oral motor delays, and can form sentences, but their speech is very difficult to understand.*

    Extended School Year (ESY/Summer)

    LADSE provides an extended school year program that is offered in a LADSE school district building. LADSE develops the program, recruits and supervises staff, and coordinates transportation services. Recommendation for an extended school year program is made by the Student Support Team at a multi-disciplinary conference and is part of the student’s individualized educational program. Eligibility is based upon the student’s need for continuous programming to prevent significant regression in critical life skills.*

    Private Placements

    For students whose educational needs are so unique that they cannot be adequately addressed in a public school program, the student’s IEP team may consider one of several private special education programs that are available in the surrounding area.

    Home/Hospital Instruction

    Instructional services are provided to any student with a medical condition that will cause an absence from school of more than ten consecutive school days. The medical condition must be verified by written statement from a licensed medical examiner. In conjunction with the medical examiner, school personnel must determine that the student can educationally benefit from such a program.



    District-wide related services are available to students with identified special education needs. They include the following:

    Occupational Therapy (OT)

    OT is services for those identified with needs in the areas of fine motor skills, visual motor skills, motor planning, and/or sensory regulation.  OT services are provided through LaGrange Area Special Education Services (LADSE).

    Physical Therapy (PT)

    PT is services for those identified with needs in the areas of gross motor skills, generally impacting their strength, balance, coordination, mobility, and/or stability in his/her educational environment.  PT services are provided through LaGrange Area Special Education Services (LADSE).

    Social Work Services

    Social Work services consult with classroom teachers and school staff regarding social emotional issues that may be impacting student learning. Social Workers may work with students individually, small groups or whole classrooms.

    Social Workers also works regularly with students requiring special education services. They regularly participate in grade level meetings and may gather information or design interventions.  Social Workers serve as a link between school, home and community. Social Workers are provided through District #61. 

    Speech and Language Services

    A certified speech and language pathologist provides SPL services.  SPL is services for those identified with needs in the area of speech articulation, speech fluency, expressive language skills, receptive language skills, and/or pragmatic language skills.

    SPL services are the ONLY related service that may be provided in isolation.  Speech is considered both a program and a service.

    Speech may occur within or outside the general education classroom.  The service delivery model includes: integrated, direct, individual, group or consultation services. Speech and language services are provided through LADSE.

    School Psychology

    LADSE psychologists working at the elementary level are involved in early literacy, behavioral, social emotional, and other academic issues. They play a role in universal assessment to identify students at risk, collaboration with teams to meet student needs, and assisting in the process of determining eligibility for special education services.

    At the secondary level, psychologists participate in student support teams to assist with intervention and data collection methods.  They may provide individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, or co-facilitate counseling with other building professionals.  They also assist in transition planning, evaluations, and reevaluations for students.*


    Paraprofessionals are non-certified staff and are hired to assist and support a student with special education needs.  Support is available to individual students, small groups of students, or the general classroom setting.  The special education team determines placement and level of service.

    Paraprofessionals are under the direct supervision of a certified special education teacher.  Responsibilities are determined by the special education teacher and are developed to meet the needs of the students.

    Assistive Technology

    The LADSE Assistive Technology Guidance Team works to maximize students' participation in their communities, empower educational teams and families in their roles, and respond to the dynamic nature of assistive technology. The assistive technology process is ongoing and incorporates teaming, problem-solving, training, evaluation, and collaboration.* 


    Grand Prairie provides transportation for students with special needs requiring transportation.  The coordination of transportation services is managed through LADSE.  The contact number for LADSE is 708-482-1192.  The direct number for Grand Prairie is 630-655-8739.

    Private School Placement (Parental Choice)

    The Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), requires a public school district to use a portion (proportionate share) of its federal Part B special education funds to support students with disabilities who attend private schools within the district and the opportunity to participate in special education and services offered by the district.  The following schools are within District #61 boundaries:  Our Lady of Peace, Kingswood Academy and Marquette Manor Baptist Academy.

    Each spring, before May 31st, the administrators and invited parents of the private schools within District #61 boundaries are invited to a meeting at the District Office. Information regarding the budgeted proportionate share, ChildFind services, and allocation of services are discussed. 

    Parents of children attending a private school within the boundaries of District #61 and need further information regarding the services are encouraged to contact the building administrator of your school.


    The following links provide additional information regarding special education.


    The district provides links to other websites as a convenience for persons who visit our website.  Our agency does not guarantee the accuracy or propriety of any information, offered services, or products contained in any website linked directly or indirectly to ours.  Therefore, reasonable efforts should be made to verify information and check out services or product offerings contained in any website. 

    *Information retrieved from LADSE.


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



Special Education Files