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Welcome to Exceptional Student Education!

Orange County Public Schools serves approximately 37,800 students identified as eligible for Exceptional Student Education (ESE); this includes 13,419 students identified as gifted. Eligible students with disabilities are provided services from birth through age 22. ESE services are available at all public school sites throughout the district. OCPS is committed to providing exceptional students a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in accordance with federal, state, and local mandates. In keeping with this philosophy, the School District:

  • Provides every exceptional student with an appropriate individualized education program (IEP)
  • Offers exceptional students services that are available to every other student
  • Provides placement alternatives that enable students to be educated in the least restrictive environment
  • Encourages the participation of parents in the educational process
  • Ensures the right to due process and equal protection under the law

Our central office ESE department offers support to schools and helps monitors services for Students with Disabilities (SWD) and Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA/504).

In an effort to facilitate a more collaborative, district-wide effort to find solutions for parents more efficiently with increased positive outcomes, we have implemented a Parent Support Ticketing System for parents and members of our community to use when questions or concerns arise.  The district ESE team will research the questions and follow up as needed.  Data collected from this site will be used to drive professional development and technical assistance needs.

It is our vision to ensure every student has a promising and successful future and with the support of our parents and community, we will lead our students to success.

Submit a parent support ticket

Quick Links


ESE Departments


Link to Policies and Procedures Department page   Link to Early Intervention Department page  Link to Supplemental Services Department page  Link to Assistive Technology Department page   Link to Non-Public Services department page  Link to Section 504 department page  Link to Special Schools department page  Link to Speech and Language department page  Link to Student Health Services department page  Link to Transition Services department page

Student in a wheelchair sitting in a classroom.

ESE Programs


Autism Spectrum Disorder

The autism spectrum encompasses a broad range of learners with specialized needs. Orange County Public Schools has an array of educational services to ensure that students on the ASD spectrum receive their education with their peers without disabilities, in the educational placement most appropriate for their individualized needs.

Click here for additional information about Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Cognitive Disabilities

Orange County Public Schools provides students, ages 3-22, with a significant disability a wide array of specialized services. These services are individualized based upon student needs and include instruction in the Florida Standards Access Points for English Language Arts and Mathematics and the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Science and Social Studies.

Click here for additional information about Cognitive Disabilities.

Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing

Orange County provides educational services to over 350 students identified as deaf or hard-of-hearing. The Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Program offers a full continuum of services to meet both academic and communication needs identified on a student's individual education plan (IEP).

Click here for additional information about Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing services.

Developmentally Delayed Pre-K

ESE Prekindergarten provides classroom opportunities and services to our youngest students. ESE Prekindergarten classes are located throughout the district. Our vision is to move these services to children’s natural environment for optimal learning opportunities and peer engagement.

Click here for additional information about Developmentally Delayed Pre-K.

Emotional Behavioral Disability

Behavioral services and supports are provided to eligible students in settings that range from the general education classroom to a special day school. Some of the behavioral services may include direct instruction for the development of social skills, an individual behavior management system based on a functional behavioral assessment, an altered bell schedule, or a daily home note.

Click here for additional information about Emotional Behavioral Disabilities.

Gifted

The purpose of gifted education is to provide programs and services that meet the unique cognitive, social, and emotional needs of gifted students, preparing them to succeed in a global society.

Click here for additional information about Gifted services.

Specific Learning Disabilities

The Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) program serves students who generally have average or above average intelligence. Learning disabilities is a general term that describes specific kinds of learning problems. Specific Learning Disabilities may affect the way a student receives, processes, or expresses information.

Click here for additional information about Specific Learning Disabilities.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects educational performance.

Click here for additional information about Traumatic Brain Injuries.

Visually Impaired

Orange County provides educational services to over 200 students identified as blind or partially sighted. The Vision Program provides specialized services by Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Orientation & Mobility Specialists.

Click here for additional information about Visually Impaired services.

Related Services


Behavior Support

The OCPS Behavioral Support Team is available to provide services to students in which behaviors may impede their learning process. This team is comprised of District Behavior Analysts, District Behavior Coaches, Behavior Trainers, School-based Behavior Specialist, and School Based Behavior Trainers Technicians. It is our goal to support schools in their efforts to design educational settings that improve learning for all students.

Click here for additional information about Behavior Support services.

ESE Transportation

Students with disabilities may require access to their educational services through specialized transportation. A need for assistance may occur to and from school or as a student travels from one part of a school campus to another.

Click here for additional information about ESE Transportation services.

Occupational Therapy

School based occupational therapy is a related service to special education. A student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is eligible to receive a related service, such as occupational or physical therapy, if that student requires the related service in order to benefit from his/her exceptional education programming.

Click here for additional information about Occupational Therapy services.

Physical Therapy

School based physical therapy is a related service to special education. A student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is eligible to receive a related service, such as occupational or physical therapy, if that student requires the related service in order to benefit from his/her exceptional education programming.

Click here for additional information about Physical Therapy services.

School Health Services

Orange County Public Schools provides health care services throughout the district, delivered by advanced nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and school health aides/health room assistants.

Click here for additional information about School Health Services.