Special Factors

Reviewed 6/4/14

In developing a student's IEP, state and federal law require an LEA to consider special factors that might impact the student's success. Document our consideration of those special factors on the Special Factors page of the Special Education Information System (SEIS) page of the IEP.

Each of the five special factors should be a topic for IEP Team discussion, where appropriate. If the team determines that one or more of these factors apply to the student's program, some follow-up action is required. The IEP team chairperson may need to anticipate that one of the special factors is at issue and make sure that the appropriate staff members attend the IEP meeting.

CFR 300.324(a)(2)(i) In the case of a child whose behavior impedes the child's learning or that of others, consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address that behavior;
Some things to consider include:

  • Does the child's behavior prevent him from participating in learning activities? If this child frequently misses instructional time or otherwise removed from activities his classmates participate in, consider the use of classroom management strategies. A consultation with a mentor teacher, behavior specialist or school psychologist might be warranted.
  • Does this child's behavior prevent him from accomplishing IEP goals? When reporting on progress on goals, it may have been noted that the child's behavior prevented or detracted from his success on goals. If this is the case, consider using positive interventions, developing goals related to cooperation and task completing.
  • Does this child's behavior result in the use of school discipline policy consequences? If the student experiences frequent office referrals, detentions or loss of privileges, the IEP team should consider developing a Behavior Support Plan (BSP). The Behavior Support Plan could be developed with the assistance of a school psychologist or behavior specialist at the IEP meeting, or done at a later date and brought back to the IEP team for approval.
  • Does this child's behavior result is suspensions that may approach 10 school days during this school year? The IEP team should consider revising the BSP, or if a BSP has not been developed, conducting a Functional Behavior Analysis from which to develop a BSP.
For more information see Procedures Guide section: Discipline

Limited English Proficiency
CFR 300.324(a)(2)(ii). In the case of a child with limited English proficiency, consider the language needs of the child as those needs relate to the child's IEP.
Some things to consider include:

  • Whether the student's CELDT level has improved over time. If not, are additional ELL services required?
  • For students who are not able to take the CELDT, have alternate means of assessment been used?
  • Does the child have linguistically appropriate goals included in the IEP?
  • Does the ELD specialist have additional recommendations for improving English language skills? These should be included in the ELL report.

Vision Impairment
CFR 300.324(a)(2)(iii). In the case of a child who is blind or visually impaired, provide for instruction in Braille and the use of Braille unless the IEP Team determines, after an evaluation of the child's reading and writing skills, needs, and appropriate reading and writing media (including an evaluation of the child's future needs for instruction in Braille or the use of Braille), that instruction in Braille or the use of Braille is not appropriate for the child.

Some things to consider include:

  • Is the student with a diagnosed Vision Impairment receiving adequate vision services from a specialist in this field?
  • How are the student's reading and writing skills impacted by the vision impairment?
  • What adaptations have been made to accommodate the vision limitation?
  • Does the technology currently in place adequately address the student's needs?
  • Is the student's vision impairment progressive and likely to lead to blindness in the future? Would instruction in Braille at this point be advisable?

Hearing Impairment
CFR 300.324(a)(2)(iv). Consider the communication needs of the child, and in the case of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, consider the child's language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communications with peers, and professional personnel in the child's language and communication mode, academic level, and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child's language and communication mode.

Some things to consider include:

  • Are the student's language and communication needs being addressed in an alternate communication mode?
  • Does the child have direct opportunities for communication with peers and professionals in this language mode?
  • Is the child's academic progress impacted by the communication mode used for instruction?
  • Are there opportunities for direct instruction in the child's language and communication mode?

Assistive Technology
CRF 300.324(a)(2)(v). Consider whether the child needs assistive technology devices and services.

Some things to consider include:

  • Is this student currently able to access the core curriculum using adaptations already in place?
  • How is the student's disability limiting access to curriculum?
  • What is the next thing that the student needs to learn?
  • What level of assistive technology is required in order for the student to learn the next things?
  • Does the student currently have that level of technology available?
  • What needs to be done in order to make that level of technology available to the student?

If the IEP team determines that assistive technology options currently in use may be inappropriate or insufficient for this student, the team should begin the process of determining which specific types of equipment might be appropriate for the student, by seeking additional information. This process begins by completing the AAC/AT Consideration Packet. In completing the questionnaire in this packet, the IEP team will determine whether sufficient expertise on assistive technology is available within their own district, or whether a referral to the Multi-Agency AAC/AT Expert Panel, or the Contra Costa Special Education Program District Specified Services office is appropriate.

For more information see Procedures Guide section: Assistive Technology

Click here to download and print "Procedures Guide-Special Factors"