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Austin Public Schools

401 3rd Ave NW
Austin, MN  55912

District Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
7:30AM - 4:30PM

Special Services

Austin High School

What is special education?

Special education is specially designed instruction and related services that enable a student with a disability to access and benefit from their program of education. Special education addresses the individual needs of the child that arise from a disability and is provided at no cost to the parents. These services can include specialized personnel, special instructional supplies and materials, modification to curriculum and other special accommodations.

What is specially designed instruction?

Specially designed instruction means adapting the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction (i.e. what we teach and how we teach it) to address the student's unique needs that arise as a result of their disability, and to ensure access to the general education curriculum.

What is a disability?

A disability is a lifelong handicapping condition often associated with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity -- including education.

Who can receive special education services?

Students qualify for special education by meeting specific eligibility criteria, as defined by the MN Department of Education. Students are evaluated by a team of professionals to determine if they qualify in one or more of the following disability areas:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • Developmental Cognitive Delay -- Mild Moderate
  • Developmental Cognitive Delay --Severe-Profound
  • Developmental Delay (Birth to Age 7)
  • Emotional/Behavioral Disorder
  • Other Health Disability
  • Physical Impairment
  • Severe Multiple Impairments
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech/Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment

It is possible to meet the eligibility requirements of a disability and not need special education services. For example, a child with a hearing loss who is succeeding within the general curriculum may not require 'specialized instruction'. In such instances, the district may still be required to make reasonable adjustments or accommodations to enable that student to access general education services under a Section 504 plan.

Section 504

Section 504 is a federal law which protects the rights of persons with qualifying disabilities. 504 requires that recipients of federal funds make their programs and activities accessible to all persons with disabilities that interfere with major life activities such as: caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working. If there is a qualifying disability that your child needs accommodations for, we will review your child's information and develop and implement an accommodation plan.

Section 504 Coordinator
Sheri Willrodt
Executive Director of Special Services
401 3rd Avenue NW
Austin, MN 55912
Phone: 507-460-1916

Additional Information: Minnesota Department of Education Section 504

What are related services?

Related services are a broad array of services that assist a student with a disability to benefit from their program of specialized instruction. Related services can include:

  • Adaptive equipment and/or technology
  • Audiology
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orientation and mobility services
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services
  • School social work services
  • Special transportation
  • Speech/language pathology

Special Presentations

Trafficking and Exploitation Presentation at AHS
Request for ASD Consultation

Sheri Willrodt
Executive Director of Special Services
Section 504 Coordinator

Melissa Larson
Special Services Finance Specialist