Special Education

The Special Education Department delivers specially designed instruction and related services to educate students with disabilities.  The program uses Child Find and other identification activities and provides appropriate services for students with disabilities.  

Special Education provides services to students with certain disabilities that are specified in state and federal laws.  Services are free of charge to the parent.  Anybody may refer a student for an evaluation to determine if the student qualifies for services.  The referral needs to be in writing (unless you are unable to write) and directed to the student’s principal.  If you suspect that your child has a disability and may require special educations services and your child is not currently enrolled in the school district, you may direct the referral to the Special Programs Department.  

Eligibility for special education services requires that we conduct an evaluation.  The results of the evaluation must show that the child has a disability as defined in Chapter 392-172A of the Washington Administrative Code AND that his disability has a negative effect on the child making progress in what is being taught in the general education classroom.  If the child is of preschool age, the disability would need to result in the child significantly falling behind in developmentally appropriate activities in areas like adaptive behavior, communication, motor cognition and behavior.  

Eligible children/students receive services that meet their individual needs. These services are outlined in an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) that school staff and parents jointly develop. 

There are many legal rules and regulations that determine what happens in special education.  They are outlined in WAC 392-171A and are written in legal language.  Further information may be obtained from the Special Programs Department or the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

The Lynden School District has made a firm commitment to help all students get the instruction and help they need to be successful learners.

Child Find

Lynden School District is committed to addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities ages birth through 21 residing within the boundaries of the Lynden School District. This includes children with disabilities enrolled in private and religious schools as well as children who are homeless. Disabilities can be in any one of several areas that ultimately affect a child’s learning, such as the ability to think, to express oneself, to see or hear clearly, to get around, or understand instructions.

If you have a child who you think might have a disability requiring special education instruction or significant accommodations at school, or if you know of such a child, please feel free to call the Lynden School District Special Programs Office, (360) 354.4443 Ext 3425.

You can access this information through OSPI’s website which has extensive resources available to the public about the process districts use to determine eligibility for any child suspected of having a disability.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, Public Law 108-446), defines special education as “specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.” A child with a disability as defined by IDEA means “a child with mental retardation, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; and who by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.”

The term child with a disability for “a child aged 3 through 9 (or any subset of that age range, including ages 3 through 5), may, at the discretion of the State and the local educational agency, include a child experiencing developmental delays, as defined by the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in 1 or more of the following areas: physical development; cognitive development; communication development; social or emotional development; or adaptive development; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.”

The definition of the term ​special education​ is significant to parents for two reasons.  First a child may have a disability but not fit the definition as it is used for ​educational ​purposes; therefore, he or she would not be covered under IDEA.  Second, the definition of ​related services​ is related to the definition of special education. A ​related service ​is a service designed to enable a student to benefit from special education instruction and general education curriculum (e.g., Speech and Language, Nursing Services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Counseling).  Therefore, if a child does not need special educations there can be no related service(s).

Lynden School District Special Education Procedures

The District’s Special Education Procedures can be accessed here:
2161P- Special_Education_Procedures

Notice of Special Education Procedural Safeguards for Students and Their Families

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