Special Education Information

It is the right of all children with disabilities in the United States to have Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). This is guaranteed by the federal government under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).

Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

FAPE and IDEA mean that all public schools (both district and charter) must create a specialized academic plan, referred to as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), for children with special needs. They must do this within 30 calendar days after the child is determined eligible. However, it is important to remember that just because a child has a disability or impairment, he or she may not automatically qualify for special education services. The IEP process must be followed in order to qualify and receive services.

Facilitated IEP (FIEP) meetings are now available by request through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website. Parents and school personnel are finding that the use of an independent facilitator can assist in the IEP team process. A facilitator is a neutral person who helps guide the student-centered focus of the meeting.

504 Plan

Some students with disabilities may not require an IEP under the IDEA, however, they may qualify for a 504 plan under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A 504 plan is a blueprint or plan for how a child will have access to learning at school. It provides services and changes to the learning environment to meet the needs of the child as adequately as other students.

To qualify for a 504 plan, there are two requirements:

  1. A child has any disability, which can include many learning or attention issues.
  2. The disability must interfere with the child’s ability to learn in a general education classroom.

Section 504 has a broader definition of a disability than IDEA. It says a disability must substantially limit one or more basic life activities, such as learning. Therefore, a child who doesn’t qualify for an IEP might still be able to get a 504 plan.

Schools for Exceptional Learners

Cornerstones of Care – Gillis School

Ages Served: 6-19
Grades Served: K-12

8150 Wornall Rd
Kansas City, MO 64114
Phone: (816) 508-3500

Focus: Intensive combination of special education and therapy services

KVC – Niles

Grades Served: K-12

1911 E. 23rd St.
Kansas City, M0 64127
Phone: (866) 582-2273
Admissions: (913) 890-7468

Focus: Trauma-Focused Care and on-site therapeutic services

Sherwood Autism Center

Ages Served: 5-21
Grades Served: K-12

8030 Ward Parkway Plaza
Kansas City, MO 64114
Phone: (816) 333-3344

Focus: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Horizon Academy

Grades Served: 1-12

4901 Reinhardt Drive
Roland Park, KS 66205
Phone: (913) 789-9443

Focus: Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Dysgraphia, Receptive Language Disorder, Dyscalculia, ADHD

Plaza Academy

Grades Served: 7-12

3930 Broadway
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone: (816) 561-0770

Focus: Gifted and talented students who have advanced developmentally beyond their peers and who require a more adult academic and social environment.

Teenagers with learning disabilities who require a specially designed curriculum and daily individual attention.

Teenagers who are dissatisfied with their peer and family relationships which accompany problems at school.

Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) & Charter Schools

Both KCPS and charter schools offer many special education services to students who live in the KCPS boundaries.

  • KCPS: Call (816) 418-8941 or visit them at
  • Charters: Contact individual charter schools for information about their special education services

Private Schools

Some private schools in the KCPS boundaries also serve children with special needs. Please check with individual private schools to confirm which schools provide services appropriate for your child.

Additional Resources

Missouri Parents Act (MPACT)

MPACT’s staff is made up of parents of children with disabilities, therapists and educators who can help to answer some of your questions. Find out about the services offered at MPACT at 1-800-743-7634. Visit

Missouri Family to Family

Missouri Family to Family is a family driven organization that can support you, as we do other families, by listening, training, and connecting you with quality resources specific to your situation. Think of us as your resource center.

Contact: 1-800-444-0821 Visit:

Foundation for Inclusive Religious Education (FIRE)

Several local Catholic schools welcome students with special needs into classrooms through the FIRE Foundation. The FIRE Foundation, an independent, non-pro t organization, makes it possible for partner Catholic schools to hire special educators and paraprofessionals and to acquire learning materials and technology that create successful learning experiences for all children. You can learn more about their services and their school partners at

For More Information

Contact Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

Office of Special Education

Phone: 573-751-5739
Fax: 573-526-4404

Office of Special Education Compliance

Phone: 573-751-06990