Merlin Day Academy Therapeutic Classroom

For children with neurodiverse learning needs, it can be difficult to find a sensoryfriendly school environment that supports each child’s unique needs for special education instruction and therapeutic intervention. It’s important to know your child’s rights and understand the programs in place that help them access the supports and services they need to succeed. Merlin Day Academy was founded when we noticed that there was a gap in the level of support for students available in traditional school environments. Our curriculum has been specifically developed to support children with autism, and other sensory and developmental conditions, in their growth and learning. 

What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)? 

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) details the services that your child is legally entitled to receive to support their education. Caregivers, teachers, and school administration work together to identify what supports your child needs to succeed in school, and these supports can include special education instruction, therapeutic services, and other supports based on your child’s needs, age, and federal and state laws.   

Who is eligible to receive an IEP? 

Students with a disability or impairment are eligible for an IEP under one of the following categories. The assessments and other criteria to determine your child’s specific impairment will be identified with your school district based on each child’s individual abilities and learning goals.  

  1. Intellectual disability*
  2. Hearing impairment (including deafness)
  3. Speech or language impairment*
  4. Visual impairment (including blindness)
  5. Serious emotional disturbance*
  6. Orthopedic impairment
  7. Autism*
  8. Developmental delays (age 3 through 9)
  9. Traumatic brain injury
  10. Other health impairment*
  11. Specific learning disability*
  12. Deaf-blindness
  13. Multiple disabilities

*Supported by Merlin Day Academy

Merlin Day Academy can implement IEPs for children ages 6-14 in one of the following categories: intellectual disability, speech or language impairment, serious emotional disturbance, autism, other health impairment, or specific learning disability 

What is a Therapeutic Day School? 

A Therapeutic Day School is a non-public special education program designed for children whose needs exceed what their local public school can offer. Therapeutic Day Schools provide children with individualized special education instruction and clinical intervention to support their unique goals and implement the services outlined in their IEP. At Merlin Day Academy, we combine special education instruction with Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Behavior (ABA) Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Social Work to support each child’s academic, social, emotional, physical, and developmental goals.  

Merlin Day Academy Evaluation

How do I get my child an IEP? 

Because an IEP is tailored to each child, you’ll need to work with your local school district to identify the services your child needs. You can follow this step-by-step guide from our sister company and outpatient pediatric therapy clinic, Eyas Landing, to better understand the overall process of getting an IEP for your child:

How do I get my child placed at Merlin Day Academy through their IEP? 

Contact us to schedule a free, private tour to see if Merlin Day Academy is right for your child: Our concierge administrative team will work with you and your family to implement their IEP and establish their learning and therapeutic goals.  

*Merlin Day Academy has been approved as a non-public private facility by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), but we are waiting on our per-diem rates from the Illinois Purchased Care Review Board IPCRB before we can implement IEPs. We expect everything to be completed in March 2023. Sign up to get notified at: 

Know Your Rights

Our sister company, Blue Bird Day, hosted an IEP informational session with Matt Cohen, a Chicago based civil rights attorney concentrating in special education and school-related issues. You can watch a recording of that presentation here: