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Office of Special Education

COVID-19 and Special Education

Answers to frequently asked questions such as Compensatory Services, Prior Written Notice and Special Education Evaluations can be found in Special Education FAQ's.

CDE's Office of Special Education has gathered resources to help answer questions around the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to special education.

Supporting Displaced Special Education Students 

There are many ways that children and families can be displaced. There are floods, fires, and other types of natural disasters that can destroy homes or make them uninhabitable for periods of time. Families can also experience hardships that result in major home life changes.

About the Office of Special Education

This office administers both the state's Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA) and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for children with disabilities. This website is a resource for teachers, administrators, and parents of students with exceptional educational needs due to disability, or learners who are culturally and/or linguistically diverse or have some other special need. The Office of Special Education is one of three offices within the Exceptional Student Services Unit (along with the Office of Facility Schools and the Office of Gifted Education).

Prior Approval

Many AUs have contacted CDE indicating their intent to purchase IEP software.   If your AU is planning to do this, please keep the following points in mind as you make your plans to purchase the license:

  1. Any purchase that exceeds $5000 or exceeds your district’s local policy regarding capital thresholds must receive prior approval from CDE. 
  2. Once the AU has completed its prior approval request it should be uploaded to the DMS under the Fiscal Tab.  Please email Moira Blake at to advise her that the request has been uploaded.  (Please note that the DMS does not generate notifications to CDE staff when a new item has been uploaded.  It is critical that the AU follow up via email to ensure a timely review of the request).
  3. The AU must revise both its Federal Application Narrative and its Federal Budget to account for the new activity.  For expenditures that will be over $5000, the AU will need to ensure that it has addressed Objective 5, Activity 1 in its current narrative.  For AUs with an expenditure of less than $5000, the AU will need to address Objective 5, Activity 2.
  4. The AU must amend both its narrative and budget before any expenditures.  These amendments may occur at any time after the submission of the prior approval during one of the revision windows. Revision dates may be found at IDEA Fiscal Timelines 21-22 (PDF). 

Stay Up To Date

AU Special Education Director of Record and Fiscal Contact Information

ESSU must have current contact information for all state-level Special Education Directors and Special Education Fiscal Contacts. Our office communicates important updates and information through our listserv, please be sure that we have accurate, updated information. Communications from this listserv will come from CDE_SPED.

ESSU Newsletter

The ESSU e-newsletter is our office's primary form of communication with the field. It is published once a month and contains information from the Office of Gifted and Talented, Office of Facility Schools, and Office of Special Education.

Quick Links

What's New

Changes to Educational Interpreter Authorizations

We want to share an important change in the Educational Interpreter Authorizations for those individuals who have not met requirements for their full authorization. CDE has recently been informed by the Attorney General’s Office that Educational Interpreter Authorizations fall under the same requirements as other Special Services Providers (SSPs). As with other SSPs, CDE is not authorized to issue emergency authorizations or licenses for individuals who do not meet the requirements for the full authorization and/or license. For individuals who are currently in between the past authorization practices and this current clarification, there will be a case-by-case review for the 2021-2022 school year. We are aware that the written test is still unavailable, and for individuals who have met all the requires except for the written test, they will be issued an Emergency Authorization until we are able to resume administering the written test. Please be advised that as of July of 2022, emergency authorizations will NOT be issued by the CDE. At that time, Educational Interpreter authorization candidates will need to meet all the requirements (a minimum of a 2-year degree in interpreting, passing score on the written assessment, and attainment of a minimum score of a 3.5 out of 5.0 on the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) performance test) to receive their Educational Interpreter Authorization.

We are also unable to give extensions on renewal authorizations dues to the inability to meet continuing education requirements. Throughout the last 18 months CDE has worked to provide free on-line skills classes for educational interpreters. We are working to provide at least one class is August and one class in October. Preference will be given to individuals who need to renew their authorization within the next year AND individuals who have attended the trainings that they registered for. If you have any other questions or concerns please reach out to Shauna Moden at

The ASD Guidelines (Guidelines for the Educational Evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorder)

  • Contains information that may be used to guide the process of identifying students with ASD and developing appropriate programming, supports and services.

CSDB Report - Program Review for the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind

Change in Reporting Requirements for Measuring Indicator 13 Compliance.

CMAS ELA Accommodation Policy Updated to Align with Colorado Academic Standards Expectations (PDF)

Ways to Search this Site

  1. You can use the Google Search box (only searches CDE) at the top right side of the webpage and type in what you are looking for.
  2. You can use our Topic Index - an alphabetical list of topics for the Office of Special Education.

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If you have problems with broken links or accessing the content on this page, please contact our web content coordinator Amanda Timmerman at Please copy the URL link for this page into the email when referencing the problem you are experiencing.