Public invited to comment on proposed changes to state special education manual

Members of the public are invited to comment on the Idaho Department of Education’s proposed changes to the state’s special education manual. 

The manual is being updated after a federal review found it was out of compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. 

Idaho students were denied services for years because of the state’s overly stringent criteria for evaluating students with specific learning disabilities, a broad category that includes conditions such as dyslexia and brain injury. Students were also misplaced in another category, called other health impairment, which includes limitations from health problems such as asthma, diabetes, attention deficit disorder, epilepsy, and others. 

Among Idaho students who are recognized as having a disability, 23% have what’s vaguely referred to as a “health impairment,” which could mean a number of disabilities, including asthma, ADD or ADHD, or Tourette syndrome. Another 19% have specific learning disability, a category that includes dyslexia or a brain injury. About 15% have a speech impairment, and nearly 11.4% have autism.

The state’s noncompliance potentially affected thousands of students, and put Idaho’s $71 million of special education federal funding at risk, EdNews previously reported.

Public comments will be accepted until July 23. More information is in the box below.

How to review the proposed changes and comment

Read the changes: The proposed changes begin on page 52 of this document.

Submit a written comment online: Fill out this form. Comments are accepted until July 23, 2023.

Comment at a hearing (in-person or on Zoom): The hearings will be held on:

  • July 22: 6-7 p.m. MST
  • July 23: 9-10 a.m. MST
  • Physical location: Idaho Department of Education, 650 W. State Street, Boise, ID. 83702, Second Floor
  • Zoom link; Meeting ID: 242 516 6819

Find out more: Visit the Idaho Department of Education’s special education webpage at 

Carly Flandro

Carly Flandro

Carly Flandro reports from her hometown of Pocatello. Prior to joining EdNews, she taught English at Century High and was a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She has won state and regional journalism awards, and her work has appeared in newspapers throughout the West. Flandro has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and Spanish from the University of Montana, and a master’s degree in English from Idaho State University. You can email her at [email protected] or call or text her at (208) 317-4287.

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