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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.


In this unit, you have had the opportunity to learn some important historical information about the federal laws and state statutes and rules that have shaped policies and practices for special education services and other options for students with disabilities. You have also learned about the established criteria for and the proper document eligibility determination for students with DCD as well as the necessary evaluation and assessment of data, development of placement opportunities, and special education services and options.

Lesson 1 provided specific historical information and definitions on the basic framework of the DCD category. In addition, you explored terminology related to DCD, including developmental disabilities, mental retardation, adaptive behavior, systematic observation, and functional curriculum—terms that provide a context in which to understand DCD.

In Lesson 2, you explored the criteria that an educational team uses to determine that a student has a DCD and is in need of special education. The team must show that a student meets the DCD classification requirements in two main areas:

  1. The student demonstrates below-average adaptive behavior in school and home, and, if appropriate, community environments; and
  2. The student demonstrates significantly below-average general intellectual functioning that is measured by an individually administered, nationally normed test of intellectual ability.

Finally, you learned five key areas about the eligibility determination process.

In Lesson 3, the primary ideas focused on education options for students who are determined eligible for special education under the DCD category. Federal law mandates that the educational team determine placement and services needed by the student and that these decisions be re-evaluated at least every three years. The three most common options described included: learning opportunities in the regular classroom with students who do not have disabilities, learning choices in a resource room, and special opportunities in a separate classroom. Finally, you learned about the role of paraprofessionals in knowing and understanding key information, definitions, eligibility determination criteria, and processes and options for students who qualify for special education under the DCD category.


Minnesota Department of Education. (2004). Promising practices for the identification of individuals with development disabilities (draft) (Developmental Cognitive Disability Manual). Retrieved March 21, 2007, from 


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