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Department of Exceptional Students

Clayton County Schools Special Education Department
1058 Fifth Avenue  ▪  Jonesboro, GA 30236
Phone: 770-473-2700
Fax: 678-817-3098

Central Office Staff Directory

Director Dr. Katrina R. King
Administrative Assistant Mychylene Beal
ext. 700201
Coordinator Angela Horrison-Collier
Coordinator LaTonya Young
Ext. 700187
Coordinator Charles Kelley
Special Programs/Transition to Work Experience
Coordinator Evelyn Dixon
Pre-K Coordinating Supervisor Lisa Thomas
Pre-K Diagnostic Center
Office: 770-472-2460
Compliance Specialist Ann Grant
Data Compliance
Ext. 700179
Compliance Specialist Trina Smith
Instructional Support
Due Process Technician Elaine Loveless
Due Process Technician Pamela Gross
Records/Area 1
Office: 678-817-3093
Due Process Technician Sandra Fuller
Records/Area 2
Office: 678-817-3087



Click Here for All DES District Personnel Contact Information


Click Here for the DES Organizational Chart


Click Here for a Sign Language Interpreter Request Form

2015 Fall DES Parent University - Saturday, October 17, 2015

Website Resources for Students with Disabilities

Parent Tips for Effective IEP Meetings

More Parent Tips for Effective IEP Meetings

Special Education Parent Survey

Proportionate Share Information

Annual Medicaid Written Notification

Program Overview
In partnership with general education, the Department of Exceptional Students(DES) seeks to provide services for students with disabilities which facilitate an educational progression. These services support the school system's goals and are delivered through a variety of models. The Individual Education Program (IEP) specifies educational placement and programs for students along a continuum of services. DES collaborates with community service providers to provide optimal opportunities for students in Clayton County.

Clayton County students with disabilities benefit from an array of instructional opportunities. The general education curriculum is followed when possible and modifications to curriculum are made to meet individual needs. Alternative curricula are designed to meet the needs of students who require different options.


Special instruction is provided for students who qualify in one or more of the following areas: 


Emotional Behavioral Disorders
Hearing Impairments
Intellectual Disabilities
Orthopedic Impairments
Other Health Impairments
Significant Developmental Delays
Specific Learning Disabilities
Speech-Language Impairments
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Visual Impairments
Assistive Technology

The Family Liaison Program


Preschool Special Education

Special education students may also receive related services in the areas of transportation, occupational therapy & physical therapy, music therapy, audiology, orientation & mobility, interpreter services, related vocational instruction, adaptive physical education, and assistive technology.

Clayton County special education students benefit from an array of instructional opportunities. Regular curriculum is followed when possible and modifications to curriculum are made to meet individual needs. Alternative curricula are designed to meet the needs of students who require different options.



Autism is a developmental disability, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects the student's educational performance and significantly affects developmental rates and sequences, verbal and nonverbal communication, and social interaction and participation. Other characteristics often associated with autism are unusual responses to sensory experiences, engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, and resistance to environmental change in daily routines. Students with autism vary widely in their abilities and behavior. The term does not apply if a student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional or behavioral disorder. Autism may exist concurrently with other areas of disability.

Autism eligibility for special education services is based upon assessment of the five characteristic areas associated with autism. A student with autism may be served in any educational program as described in the student's IEP. The identification of autism for educational programming does not dictate a specific placement; however it is based on the assessed strengths, weaknesses, and individual goals and objectives of the student.

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Emotional Behavioral Disorders

An Emotional Behavioral Disordered student is a student who, after receiving regular educational assistance, counseling, alternative placement and/or other procedures available to all students, still exhibits one or more of the following characteristics of sufficient duration, frequency, and intensity that it interferes significantly with educational performances to the degree that provision of special education services is necessary:

  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and/or teachers.

  • An inability to learn which cannot be adequately explained by intellectual, sensory, neuropsychological or general health factors.

  • Consistent or chronic inappropriate type of behavior or feelings under normal conditions.

  • Displayed pervasive mood of unhappiness and depression.

  • Displayed tendency to develop physical symptoms, pains or unreasonable fears associated with personal or school problems.

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Hearing Impairments

Students with hearing impairments exhibit a hearing loss that interferes with the acquisition or maintenance of auditory skills necessary for the development of speech, language, and academic achievement. A hearing loss is determined by an audiological evaluation and an otological assessment.

A hard-of-hearing (HI) student exhibits a pure tone average range of 30-65 decibels. A deaf (DF) student exhibits a pure tone average of 65-90 decibels. A student with a unilateral hearing loss may be considered for eligibility provided sufficient evidence exists that indicates academic or communicative deficits are the result of that loss.

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Intellectual Disabilities

A student with intellectual disabilities exhibits significantly sub-average intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior that adversely affect educational performance and is manifested during the developmental period. Significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning is defined as approximately 70 I.Q. or below as measured by a qualified psychological examiner on individually administered, standardized measures of intelligence. Deficits in adaptive behavior are defined as significant limitations in an individual's effectiveness in meeting the standards of maturation, learning, personal independence or social responsibility and especially school performance that is expected of the individual's age level and cultural group as determined by clinical judgment. A student may be classified as having an intellectual disability at one of the following levels:

  • Mild Intellectual Disability - intellectual functioning ranging between an upper limit of approximately 70 to a lower limit of approximately 55.

  • Moderate Intellectual Disability - intellectual functioning ranging from an upper limit of approximately 55 to a lower limit of approximately 40.

  • Severe Intellectual Disability - intellectual functioning ranging from an upper limit of approximately 40 to a lower limit of approximately 25.

  • Profound Intellectual Disability - intellectual functioning is below approximately 25.

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Orthopedic Impairment

Orthopedic Impairment refers to students whose severe orthopedic impairments affect their educational performance. This term may include:

  • impairment caused by congenital anomalies, e.g., deformity or absence of some member,

  • impairment caused by disease, e.g. poliomyelitis or bone tuberculosis

  • impairment from other causes, e.t., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures.

Secondary disabilities may be present, including, but not limited to, visual impairment, hearing impairment, communication impairment and/or intellectual disability (no lower than criteria outlined for mild intellectual disabilities program).

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Other Health Impairments

Other Health Impaired students have chronic or acute health problems resulting in limited strength, vitality or alertness that adversely affect their educational performance. Such students exhibit a medically diagnosed physical condition of a permanent, temporary, or intermittent nature that causes reduced efficiency in school participation and performance. Limitations on the students due to the health impairment may take the form of extended absences, inability to attend a full academic schedule and/or inability to attend to tasks for the same length of time as peers. These students are unable to function physically and/or academically with peers of the same age and grade expectancy level and require the provision of specialized instructional services and modification in order to participate in the school program.

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Significantly Developmentally Delayed

The Special Education Department provides diagnostic services for preschool students who exhibit significant deficits in the areas of cognition, communication, motor and/or social-emotional development. Instructional services are available for 3 and 4 year olds who meet specific eligibility criteria.

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Learning Disabilities

Students with Learning Disabilities demonstrate a disorder in one of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language (spoken or written), which may manifest itself in an impaired ability to listen, think, speak, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor handicaps, mental retardation, emotional disturbance or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage. (Federal Register, Volume 42, No. 250)


The learning disabled student will typically score average or above average on tests of intelligence and, therefore, is predicted to be able to master the requirements of the regular curriculum. The learning disabled student has one or more serious academic deficiencies that are sharply discrepant with measured potential and ability. The nature of the deficit(s) is such that classroom performance is not correctable without clinical/specialized techniques that are fundamentally different from those available in the regular classroom or in basic remedial/tutorial approaches. The student's need for academic support is not alone sufficient for eligibility and does not override the other established requirements for determining eligibility. The impairment must be in one of the following eight areas:

Oral Expression
Listening Comprehension
Written Expression
Basic Reading
Reading Comprehension
Math Calculation
Math Reasoning
Reading Fluency


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Speech-Language Impairments

Students with speech-language impairments exhibit oral communication skills that differ so far in manner or content from that of their peers that the speech calls attention to itself, disrupts communication, or affects emotional, social, intellectual or educational growth. Disorders of articulation (sound production), language (use of symbols to comprehend and express ideas), fluency (rate and rhythm of speech) and voice (volume, pitch and quality) interfere with the acquisition and utilization of effective oral communication skills.

While there are disorders of oral communication, not all oral communication problems are disorders. Such communication problems as dialectal differences, limited English proficiency and maturational articulation and language delays are frequently brought to the attention of the Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), but are unlikely to require remediation by the SLP. To determine when students who have oral communication problems should be referred to SLP, the classroom teacher and speech-language pathologist work as a team to make this decision.

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Visual Impairments

Students with visual impairments exhibit a lost of vision that interferes with academic achievement. Visual impairment is determined on the basis of a current examination by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Partially sighted (PS) students' vision falls within the range of 20/70 to 20/200 in the better eye after correction. Legally blind (BL) students' visual acuity is 20/200 or less in the better eye after correction or have limitations in the field of vision that subtends to angle of 20 degrees. 

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Physical and Occupational Therapy

Physical and Occupational therapies are related support services and as such, may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education. Eligibility for services is determined by assessing the extent to which a student's motor impairment adversely effects achievement of IEP goals and objectives.

Physical therapy may be defined as "the examination, treatment and instructional human beings to detect, assess, prevent, correct, alleviate and limit physical disability; movement dysfunction; bodily malfunction and pain from injury, disease and any other bodily and mental conditions." Physical therapy includes the administration, interpretation and evaluation of tests and measurements of bodily functions and structures, the planning, administration, evaluation and modification of treatment and instruction, including the use of physical measures, activities and devices for preventative and therapeutic purposes; and the provision of consultative, educational and other advisory services for the purpose of reducing the incidence and severity of physical disability, movement dysfunction, bodily malfunction and pain.

Occupational therapy may include intervention activities or assessment through the use of appropriate informal, criterion or norm-referenced test instruments, as well as treatment through the use of selected activities or adaptations, model of practice bases. Occupational therapy may include developing, restoring or improving sensory motor, cognitive and psychosocial components of occupational performance which are impaired or lost through illness, injury or deprivation; improving the ability or adapting the environment to perform tasks for independent self-care, prevocational development, academic performance, play or leisure; and preventing through early and sustained intervention, initial or further loss of function.

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Music Therapy

Music Therapy is the use of the musical medium to achieve non-musical goals. These goals may be cognitive, social, physical or behavioral. Some special education students receive music therapy as a part of their special education program. 


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Adapted Physical Education

Adapted Physical Education is a direct special education service and not a related service. A student must meet eligibility criteria in an area of disability in order to be eligible for adapted physical education.

The following guidelines are used by the IEP/Placement Committee in determining whether a student with a disability requires an adapted physical education program:

  • Performance below the 30th percentile on standardized tests of motor development, motor proficiency, fundamental motor skills and patterns, physical fitness, game/sport skills and/or perceptual-motor functioning

  • Developmental delay of two or more years in any of the above areas 

  • Social/emotional or physical skill levels such that goals set for the regular physical education program are not appropriate.

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Assistive Technology

An Assistive Technology device is any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of students with disabilities.

Assistive Technology services assist students with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

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Georgia Special Needs Scholarship

Special Needs Scholarship Annual Information Letter

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Bus Stop Info

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