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DCD-K1: Understanding of basic historical, legal, and contemporary issues related to services and the educational approaches used to address the needs of children and youth with developmental cognitive disabilities (DCD).

DCD-K2: Understanding of the origins, basic characteristics, and classifications of DCD.

DCD-K4: Understanding of the sources of unique services, networks, agencies, and organizations for students with DCD.

DCD-K5: Understanding of the services and structures supporting interagency collaboration for students with DCD.

Facilitator Supplement

Worksheets in this Unit

All worksheets are Adobe pdf files. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view and print the worksheets.

Lesson 2: Eligibility for Special Education Under the DCD Category

Facilitated Activity

Review the unit information, especially for Lesson 2, the discussion ideas, and the activity described in Lesson 2. Then, gather several paraprofessionals who are completing this unit and ask them to bring their responses and ratings information from the Eligibility Worksheet to a discussion group that you will facilitate. Use the discussion ideas as starting points, and use your own experiences for examples to illustrate points described in the unit and in the activity.

Discussion Ideas

The following discussion questions can be used with paraprofessionals to reinforce their knowledge and understanding of the historical context for DCD eligibility, the definition of DCD and other related terms, the criteria for determining eligibility for special education under the DCD category, and the placement opportunities and special education options and services that are available for students who are determined eligible under DCD.

  • What is the historical significance of the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 and its later amendments and revisions? Why are they important for a paraprofessional to know and understand?
  • What is the definition of Developmental Cognitive Disability? Review the definition by defining each word, and then, as a whole.
  • Why should the paraprofessional study related terms, such as “developmental disabilities” and “mental retardation”? What are some of the interesting challenges happening in the professional association, AAIDD? Why is the term “retarded” now avoided by self-advocates and professionals throughout the country?
  • What are the criteria for determining eligibility for special education under the DCD category? What does the paraprofessional really need to know about these criteria?
  • What can paraprofessionals do to assist the education team in the eligibility determination and evaluation phases of DCD?
  • What are some of the common options for special education services for students who have been determined eligible for special education under the DCD category?


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