Special education services are delivered in many different settings and facilities depending on the services to be provided, the age of the child, and the need for other related services. School districts must provide a full range of settings to meet individual needs of children with disabilities, but U.S. law requires that a child with a disability must be educated in the "least restrictive" setting. For example, children with mild disabilities may be educated in regular classrooms with or without teachers trained in special education. Some students with more severe disabilities require more restrictive settings, such as separate schools, hospitals, or modified facilities within their own homes.
In conventional classrooms, teachers trained in special education collaborate with other teachers to plan and carry out instruction for students with special needs. Children with severe health or behavioral problems may receive education services in separate facilities or hospitals from many different teachers and specialists. A child with severe behavior problems, for example, may receive a combination of education, mental health, and social services. Infants and toddlers with disabilities often receive assistance in the home or in community settings, such as a school or hospital. Such assistance, known as early intervention services, focuses on treating existing disabilities or preventing their occurrence. As older children with disabilities prepare for adult life, planning increasingly centers on functional skills within community, work, and living environments; continuing education and training; and identification of support services, as needed, in the community.