Public Schools are required by Federal law to provide a Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE) to all students. Students with special needs are typically served with a 504 or Individualized Education (IEP) Plan. Plans and supports are flexible so that adjustments can be made to accommodate any changes during the school year.
- – A 504 Plan is used for students who may need temporary support due to an accident, illness, or injury or for academic supports such as extra time for tests, extra set of books at home, or extra study period.
- – An IEP Plan is necessary for additional ancillary services such as speech, occupational, or physical therapy or for placement in special classes or out-of-district specialized schools.
There is a special education category in the New Jersey for Traumatic Brain Injury; however, this category is under-utilized as illustrated in the chart below. There is a significant discrepancy in the number of children who are discharged from hospitals with a diagnosis of brain injury and the number of children who are receiving special education services under the traumatic brain injury category.
In one year (2007) the New Jersey Center for Health Statistics recorded 1,231* children ages 0-17 who were hospitalized with a brain injury, and an additional 22,436* seen in emergency departments, while currently only 1,260** students in New Jersey receiving special education are classified as TBI.
*NJ Dept of Health and Senior Services, Center for Health Statistics, 2007