Design, Delivery & Support Services

Grant Wood Area Education Agency's Special Education team is committed to partnering with local school districts to raise the achievement and improve life outcomes of students with disabilities. The Grant Wood AEA Special Education team carries out child find and evaluation activities, and provides support and related services to eligible individuals as determined by Individual Education Plan (IEP) teams.

Learn more about the various special education services Grant Wood AEA provides to support students, families and schools:

504 Guidance

Section 504 refers to a federal civil rights law that protects the rights of people with qualifying disabilities. The Iowa Department of Education has a landing page on Section 504 for parents. GWAEA provides resources for educators related to Section 504 that also may be helpful for parents as well.

Adapted Physical Education

Grant Wood AEA’s adapted physical education program provides support for area physical educators providing physical education services to students with disabilities.

Alternate Assessment

All students are expected to participate in district-wide assessments. Students with disabilities may participate without accommodations, with accommodations or through the state alternate assessment.

Students who meet the eligibility criteria for Iowa's Alternate Assessment in K-11th grades may utilize K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment and 3-11 Dynamic Learning Maps Supports. Guidelines are provided within this website as a resource for educators.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Augmentative and Alternative Communication includes various communication methods that enhance or replace verbal speech or writing for individuals with communication disabilities. Contact us to request AAC collaboration or look through our AAC Information and tools. .

Assistive Technology (AT)

Assistive Technology enables children and youth with disabilities to participate more fully in all aspects of life and helps them to access their right to a "free, appropriate public education" (FAPE) in the "least restrictive environment" (LRE). Check out our AT information and tools,

Autism Services

Grant Wood AEA's resource team of educators and AEA support staff provides consultation, information and coordination of plans for persons with autism and related disorders and for their families.Check our autism web page for research-based resources for educators.

Challenging Behavior

GWAEA has specialized teams trained to assist school districts and teachers with challenging student behavior Learn more about how our staff support social emotional behavior health needs.

Childcare Alliance Response Team (CART)

The Childcare Alliance Response Team (CART) provides intensive behavioral support for children ages 0-5 who are not identified as having special education needs. Learn more about the CART program.

Early ACCESS and Early Childhood Supports

Early ACCESS is the system implemented by the state of Iowa to serve children from birth to age three, who have either a developmental delay, or have a condition that has a high probability of later delays if early intervention services are not provided.

Early childhood consultants support children ages 3-5 by helping teachers and support service providers identify developmental needs, deliver and coordinate quality early childhood special education programs.

Learn more about how Grant Wood AEA can help children from birth to age five. .

Family and Educator Partnership

The Grant Wood AEA Family & Educator Partnership (FEP) links families and educators for better understanding and communication.

As part of a statewide network, the program provides a lending library of printed information, books and videos; workshops and consultation on communication and family issues; a speakers' bureau; and ongoing networking with support groups and parent-teacher organizations. Learn more about FEP. .

Hearing Services

GWAEA staff can identify hearing service needs through testing, medical referrals and educational planning for students who are deaf or have hearing impairments. Services, recommendations and materials are provided by trained audiometrists, audiologists and itinerant hearing teachers. Learn more about Grant Wood AEA's hearing services.

Occupational Therapy

AEA occupational therapists provide services to infants (0-3 years old), who have or are at risk for developmental delays, and to school age students (3-21 years old) who have motor or sensorimotor challenges that impact their participation in educational activities. They utilize strategies for mental and physical health and well-being by promoting occupation within daily routines through direct intervention, integrated activities, coaching and consultation with school staff and families. 

Occupational Therapists also provide expertise to teams and students, to improve student performance in learning environments throughout the school (e.g., playgrounds, classrooms, lunchrooms, bathrooms); to help develop participation skills for secondary transition; and optimize student performance throughout the school day through specific adaptations and accommodations. Contact us to learn more about occupational therapy support services.

Physical Therapy

Working within the routines of the typical day, AEA physical therapists provide services to infants (0-3 years old), who have or are at risk for developmental delays, and to school age students (3-21 years old) who have motor challenges that impact access to and/or participation in their educational programming.  Physical Therapists address concerns in the motor and adaptive behavior domains, including gross motor, mobility, positioning and play/leisure skills in the home and community for those children 0-3 years old (Early ACCESS) and within the educational environment (classroom, lunch, recess, hallways, restroom, work sites, etc) for those students 3-21 years old.  Physical Therapists also work with children and students and collaborate with and coach parents, school personnel, and team members to provide embedded intervention strategies. Working as a member of an IFSP or IEP team, a physical therapist may suggest equipment to address a child’s or student’s access and/or participation concerns. Contact us to learn more about physical therapy support services.

School Psychology

AEA school psychologists help children succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate and consult with teachers, administrators, parents, and other professionals to find effective solutions to learning and behavior problems. They assess academic skills, aptitude for learning, and social-emotional-behavioral issues, and evaluate eligibility for special services. Evidence-based research is used to develop and/or recommend effective interventions. Counseling, crisis management, teacher training, and helping parents to access community services are just some of the additional services provided.Contact us to learn more about school psychology support services..

Significant Disabilities

Area Education Agency (AEA) and Urban Education Network (UEN) Significant Disabilities Coordinators provide technical assistance and support in implementation of the Iowa Core Essential Elements and Iowa’s Alternate Assessments. The Alternate Assessment is a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Every student is to be tested, even those who receive homebound services or attend a shortened school day. In the Grant Wood AEA service area, contact Tina Hoffman,

Speech-Language Therapy

GWAEA staff can provide screening, evaluation, consultation, and therapy for educationally significant problems that children have with language, voice, articulation, and stuttering. You can find the SLP that supports your district here..

Transition Support

All GWAEA special education consultants are trained to provide transition support services for students, parents, teachers and school districts as they plan for students’ transitions for living, learning, and working. Access some transition resources here.