Ukiah Unified School District

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Special Education » Special Education

Special Education


What is Special Education? 


As defined by the California Education code (section 56031), special education is:


Specifically designed instruction to meet the unique needs of individuals with exceptional needs, whose educational needs cannot be met with modification of the general instruction program; and Related Services that help individuals with special needs to benefit from specially designed instruction. Special Education is an integral part of the total public education system. Other features of Special Education are:

  • Services are provided in a way that promotes maximum interaction between students with and without disabilities in a manner which is appropriate to the needs of both. 
  • Services are provided at no cost to parents
  • Services include a full range of program options to meet the educational and service requirements of individuals with exceptional needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The LRE is generally the setting that is most similar to those attended by general education students. 


Who is Eligible for Special Education Services?


Special Education is specialized instruction provided for children from birth to age 22 who qualify according to the laws and regulations outlined by the state and federal government. A student may qualify for special education services as an individual with special needs in one of thirteen areas identified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). These are:

  1. Autism
  2. Deaf-blindness
  3. Deafness
  4. Hearing impairment (hard of hearing)
  5. Intellectual disability
  6. Multiple disabilities
  7. Orthopedic impairment
  8. Other health impairment
  9. Severe emotional disturbance
  10. Specific learning disability
  11. Speech or language impairment
  12. Traumatic brain injury
  13. Visual impairment

For more information, please contact:


Lydia Colvig, Director of Special Education

[email protected]


Lori Schiele, Secretary

707- 472-5057

[email protected]


Mendocino County SELPA Local Plan

The California Department of Education (CDE) requires that each Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) obtain approval for its Local Plan, Annual Budget, and Service Plans following a public hearing by its governing board. 


Click here to view the Mendocino County SELPA Plan


Ukiah Unified School District is part of the Mendocino County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), a collaborative of 12 school districts and public agencies in Mendocino County. Through the District and SELPA, we offer a continuum of services for students with disabilities. Learn more here.