FAQs for Families

The staff at GWAEA are experts in their respective fields and are passionate about helping children of all abilities achieve their potential. As an educational partner with school districts, the AEA works with families and providers together to identify and address specific family concerns and priorities to help support children and their overall growth and development.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does Grant Wood AEA do?

Grant Wood Area Education Agency (AEA10) provides support to over 72,000 students and 5,000 teachers in 32 public school districts, 17 state accredited non-public schools, and seven independent accredited nonpublic schools, preschools and daycare centers in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington counties in east central Iowa.

As an educational partner with schools, Grant Wood AEA helps students, school staffs, parents, and communities meet the growing challenges of accountability and student achievement. The agency provides special education support services, media and technology services, a variety of instructional services, professional development, and leadership to promote school improvement. Our staff work alongside school district staff in buildings across our seven county service area.

How do I get my child evaluated?

Call Grant Wood AEA if you have any concerns or questions about your child’s development. We can put you in touch with the right people who can help evaluate such things as your child’s speech, hearing, emotional development, behavior or pre-school readiness. Our internal process is a bit different depending on several factors including the age of your child, if he/she is enrolled in school, and if your child has a known condition, was born prematurely, was exposed to lead or drugs or is in foster care. By calling us directly we can make sure you get in touch with the right person. Our phone numbers are 319-399-6700 or 1-800-332-8488 - or if you prefer, fill out this form and someone will get in touch with you.

What is Child Find?

Child Find is a required part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The term “Child Find” refers to the collection of processes that schools and AEAs use to locate, identify, and evaluate children who might need special education.

Child Find has two purposes:

1. To locate, identify and evaluate individuals with disabilities, and

2. To determine the educational needs of individuals with disabilities

The Child Find booklet and the FEP Universal Tier Resources are available on the Iowa Department of Education website.

How does Grant Wood AEA serve kids in special education?

Congress enacted the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975, and Iowa developed Area Education Agencies (AEAs) to provide support services required by the Act. Though 75 percent of each AEAs budget is tied to special education, the Iowa legislature assigned many other responsibilities to the AEAs to provide support to schools. Grant Wood AEA supports educators, parents, and the communities we serve as we work together toward one ultimate goal—to improve student learning. Iowa’s AEAs work as educational partners with public and accredited, non-public schools to help students, school staff, parents, and communities meet these challenges of students with special needs, and the AEA can provide specialized support to meet student needs.

How can I contact a Grant Wood AEA staff member?

Our staff members are supporting seven counties and more than 72,000 students. If you child is school aged, you can most easily locate staff contact information through our staff directory, which is sorted by district. If your child is birth-age 5 or if you need assistance in identifying the right person to contact, please call us directly and we can quickly point you in the right direction. Our phone numbers are 319-399-6700 or 1-800-332-8488.

What services are available for young, non-school aged children?

There are several resources available for parents and educators of non-school aged children. Please see the Childcare Alliance Response Team, Early ACCESS and Early Childhood services, and the Family & Educator Partnership (FEP).

Does Grant Wood AEA make assistive technology recommendations?

Grant Wood AEA has staff with an expertise in enabling children and youth with disabilities participate more fully in all aspects of life. Many tools are reviewed by our Assistive Technology staff. Parents can contact their school district staff to find out how GWAEA can be of further assistance.

What's the difference: special education, section 504 and the ADA?

There are great resources available to help parents navigate these terms, laws and processes. 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 GWAEA 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. Our Grant Wood AEA special education services are summarized here. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is Congress’s directive to schools receiving any federal funding to eliminate discrimination based on disability from all aspects of school operation. Our Grant Wood AEA educator resources on Section 504 might be very helpful to parents as well. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, a major civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, establishes design requirements for the construction or alteration of facilitiesThe Iowa Department of Education has resources related to accessibility for ADA and Section 504 online.