Special Education

Carmel Clay Schools provides services for students with disabilities, ages 3 through 21. Students are determined eligible for special education through a multidisciplinary evaluation coordinated by a school psychologist.

Working closely with families, teachers and administration, the district is committed to educating the student in the least restrictive environment. The majority of students attend their neighborhood schools and to the maximum extent appropriate, unless their Individual Education Plan (IEP) requires some other arrangements, is educated with their non-disabled peers.

Suspect a Disability?

If you suspect your child has a disability, please contact the classroom teacher, building counselor or administrator at your child's school to discuss the options available to best meet your child's needs.  Options may include interventions through our Response to Instruction process or an evaluation by a multi-disciplinary team.  Depending on the suspected disability, possible members of the multi-disciplinary team include the school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, general education teacher, special education teacher, occupational therapist, physical therapist, nurse, and counselor.

If your child is at least 2 ½ years of age, but not yet eligible for Kindergarten, please navigate to our Early Childhood link in the toolbar.

Early Childhood Special Education

Carmel Clay Schools offers a continuum of services for children ages 3 to 5 who are eligible under Indiana’s special education rules.

The Carmel Early Childhood Assessment Team (CECAT) offers a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation in a preschool classroom setting. The Early Childhood Speech and Language Pathologists offer a "speech only" evaluation for those families that are only concerned with their child's speech development.  

Special Education services are provided in a variety of settings appropriate to meet the needs of each child. Developmental preschool classrooms and "speech-only" sessions are examples. Currently Carmel has Early Childhood classrooms in four of our elementary schools.  Cherry Tree, Forest Dale, Orchard Park, and Smoky Row host our youngest learners in developmentally appropriate classrooms.  

Peer Friends are "typically-developing" peers who join our classrooms to promote positive communication and relationships and have fun! If you would be interested in your child attending as a Peer, please contact Lizz Fields.


What if I think my child has special needs?

Children ages 0 to 3 years: Your child may be eligible for early intervention through Central Indiana First Steps. To make a referral, call (317) 257-2229 or visit their website.

Children ages 3 to 5 years: Call the Carmel Clay Schools Early Childhood Assessment Team (CECAT) at (317) 571-4616 or email Lizz Fields. Someone will speak to you regarding your concerns and help determine the appropriate type of referral. If you have concerns about your child’s development in several areas, we will help you begin the process for a comprehensive evaluation.

If your only concern about your child’s development is difficulty with producing speech sounds (articulation), we will help you with the process for initiating a speech evaluation referral. 

Developmental Milestones: 
Please visit the CDC website for more information regarding developmental milestones


We recognize each child is a unique person with an individual pattern and timing of growth along with individual personality, learning style and family background. Assessment of the student’s strengths and needs is necessary to determine instructional needs.

Young children learn most effectively through a concrete, play-oriented approach. Their development and learning occur throughout daily activities and routines. The program provides a developmentally appropriate curriculum for the age span of the children being served and is implemented with attention to the different needs, interests and developmental levels of each child. An integrated approach is used to encourage the children’s physical, emotional, social, communicative and cognitive development. Emphasis is placed on providing materials and activities that are concrete, relevant to the children, and encourage self-directed play and active exploration.

Specific classroom placement is based on a child's legal residence. For 2017-2018, the locations are: Cherry Tree Elementary, Forest Dale Elementary, Orchard Park Elementary and Smoky Row Elementary.

Class Times: 
AM Session: 8:05-10:35
PM Session: 12:05-2:35

Orientation Days:
Parents and students are invited to the classrooms to visit with the EC staff, discuss each child's growth over the summer and address the students' transition needs.

Student/Family Support Days:
Early Childhood students do not attend class on the monthly Student/Family Support Days. These days are essential for effective program implementation. Home visits and observations of students in environments other than the CCS classroom may be scheduled. These days also allow EC staff to collaborate with our district Autism, behavior and instructional specialists when appropriate. Student/Family Support Days may also be used to schedule meetings with parents, community preschools, private therapists, and other resources.

Early Childhood Calendar

CCS Winter Break - No School
all day
Winter Break - No School
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CCS Winter Break - No School
all day
Winter Break - No School
all day
CCS Winter Break - No School
all day

Legal Guidelines

This link will provide you with a description of your rights and procedural safeguards.
Procedural Safeguards ENGLISH 
Procedural Safeguards SPANISH 

Legal Guidelines: 
Indiana’s Promulgated Rules governing special education programs and services. Article 7 is an Indiana State Board of Education Rule – Effective 8/13/08.
Article 7 ENGLISH 
Article 7 SPANISH

Legal Guidelines:
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