Special Education

Special Education Services

Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs) work collaboratively with local school districts, families and educators to impact the lives of Iowa children, birth through age 21. Special education is specially designed instruction, support, and services provided to students with an identified disability requiring an individually designed instructional program to meet their unique learning needs. The purpose of special education is to enable students to successfully develop to their fullest potential.

The AEA has two major responsibilities in special education:

  • identification of children with disabilities (called Child Find), and
  • providing support and related services to those identified children. Services are provided for children birth through the age of 21 and can be accessed through requests made by parents or school personnel.

Iowa’s AEAs (AEA) also are responsible for providing general supervision of special education in accordance with the requirements of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Iowa Administrative Rules of Special Education (IAC Chapter 41) and Iowa Code Chapter 256B. The AEA investigates reports of non-compliance and makes recommendations for correcting non-compliance issues. The AEA also oversees special education complaints and requests for due process hearings.


Child Find

Child Find refers to the Area Education Agencies’ (AEAs) responsibility to ensure that students who are eligible for special education services are identified, located, evaluated and provided with needed services. AEA staff members follow statewide procedures for Child Find. These procedures are documented in the statewide special education procedures which are part of the Iowa IDEA Information website.

If you are a parent and have concerns about your child’s development, see our Getting Started with Special Education page for more information on next steps.


Design, Delivery and Support Services

Each school served by Grant Wood AEA has a team that serves its special educational needs. Team members represent specializations like school psychology, Special Education consulting services, social work services, transition support, speech-language services, occupational therapy, physical therapy and others.

Learn more about Grant Wood AEA's special education support services


Procedures and Forms

Special education involves specially designed instruction tailored to the unique needs of each child and is provided at no cost to parents. Below are links to resources that go into detail of the parameters of special education services in Iowa and guidance on how services are carried out throughout the state. Educators will find information on IEP Deadlines,Commitments, IEP tools and 504 resources and more.

View special education procedures and forms

External Resources