• My child is eligible for special education services under the category of Multiple Disabilities. What does this mean?

    According to the Operating Standards for Ohio Educational Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities (2008), “Multiple Disabilities” means concomitant impairments such as intellectual disabilities/blindness or intellectual disabilities/orthopedic impairment, the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. “Multiple Disabilities” does not include deaf-blindness.

    Because the eligibility team at your child’s school agreed that he/she meets the criteria of the Ohio Operating Standards, your child will have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that will address his/her unique needs and allow him/her to access the grade-level curriculum to the greatest extent possible. For those students who are unable to access the grade-level curriculum even with accommodations and supports, they will be taught a modified curriculum based on Ohio’s Extended Standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

    What specialized instruction will my child receive?

    Goals for children with multiple disabilities vary and depend on the unique needs of the child, but typically address these areas:

    o   Social interaction – social awareness and relationship skills

    o   Behavior – self-awareness, self-management, sensory needs

    o   Communication – verbal, nonverbal, technology-aided

    o   Functional academics – reading, written expression, mathematics

    o   Daily living – following routines, self-care

    Partnerships are formed between parents and teaching teams to monitor and foster the progress of students with multiple disabilities. Instruction has a focus on functional academics as they relate to everyday life situations and independent living skills. This instruction is delivered through the student’s consistent involvement in instruction based in the community, school, and home. For example: math, reading and social skills are taught in the grocery store as money recognition, label matching and requesting assistance; in the school by purchasing from the book store, attending school assemblies, and working in the school office; and at home by accompanying their family on shopping trips, making purchases with family members and attending family outings.

    Can a child with multiple disabilities attend any CMSD school?

    Every school in CMSD is staffed with at least one Intervention Specialist to support students in all disability categories with access to the general education curriculum along with specially designed instruction in academic areas. All schools also have access to related services (speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy) and postsecondary transition services. 

    As students with multiple disabilities often have intensive needs, there are specialized single classrooms in every Cleveland neighborhood to provide the individualized instruction they require. Low incidence classrooms focus on a functional curriculum based on Ohio Extended Standards. Each classroom is staffed with a teaching team of a certified teacher and at least one paraprofessional.  Additional services and support for each student may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, transportation training, school-to-work transition, vocational training and placement, and any other necessary service as determined by a multi-factored evaluation and the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

    Additional Resources

    Center for Parent Information and Resources – Multiple Disabilities

    Ohio Coalition for Autism and Low Incidence