Skip to main content

About OSE

The Role and Responsibility of the Office of Special Education

The Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education (OSE) is responsible for the general supervision, administration, and funding of special education programs and services for children and youth with disabilities ages 3 through 25. A free appropriate public education (FAPE) is provided to eligible children according to federal and state laws, regulations, administrative rules, and department procedures.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) established two separate age segments for students with special needs. Part B refers to special education services for students ages 3 through 21. Part C refers to early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities from birth to age 3.

Michigan special education services extend from birth through age 25 (beyond the federal requirement of 21). Therefore, Michigan's special education services and programs serve eligible students from birth through age 25.

The OSE is tasked with implementing and monitoring Part B improvement plans. The Office of Great Start, in collaboration with the OSE, manages Part C services through its Early On® program. Some infants and toddlers may also be eligible for special education services.

Office of Special Education Vision (PDF)

Contact Information

Office of Special Education
608 W. Allegan Street
PO Box 30008
Lansing, MI 48933

Main Phone

General Fax

Program Accountability Fax
(use for complaints, due process, approvals, policy)


Special Education
Information Line

If you have a question related to special education, please call 888-320-8384 or email

Inside the OSE

The OSE has several units to handle its general supervision responsibilities: Administration, Program Finance, Program Accountability, and Performance Reporting. The OSE is also responsible for the Low Incidence Outreach program and the Michigan School for the Deaf.

The Office of Special Education Directory and Overview (PDF)provides an overview of the activities and initiatives within the MDE Office of Special Education.

Administration Unit

The Administration Unit provides leadership to and oversight of the office and ensures compliance with all federal and state statutory and regulatory requirements. The unit reports and responds to the State Board of Education, the State Superintendent, the Chief Deputy Superintendent, and the Deputy Superintendent.

Performance Reporting Unit

The Performance Reporting Unit coordinates the collection, verification, analysis, and reporting of special education student and personnel data for required federal and state reports. The unit also coordinates and provides technical assistance to districts and other stakeholder groups to ensure compliance with federal and state requirements and to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.

Program Accountability Unit

The Program Accountability Unit develops and implements special education policy. Policy is developed to align with-and clarify-federal and state requirements. The unit also administers the state and due process complaint processes.

Program Finance Unit

The Program Finance Unit provides oversight for state aid and federal funding structures for special education programs and services. The unit ensures that federal grants and state aid reimbursements are effectively administered.

Michigan Department of Education - Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO)

The MDE, Low Incidence Outreach is funded through the OSE. The project provides technical assistance and resources statewide to serve and improve the quality of education for students who are blind or visually impaired (BVI), and students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH), including those with multiple impairments.

The MDE-LIO also has direct oversight of Camp Tuhsmeheta (Camp T), located in Greenville. Camp T is a 300-acre outdoor education facility that provides year-round programming for students with a visual impairment and others throughout the state of Michigan.

Michigan School for the Deaf (MSD)

The Michigan School for the Deaf (MSD) is a public residential school in Flint for students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) and was established by the Michigan Legislature in 1848. Students are referred to the school by their local school district and placement is determined by an IEP team. Students who attend the MSD receive a unique combination of services and intense exposure to two languages, American Sign Language (ASL) and English, as well as academic and residential support services.

Early Childhood Special Education

Michigan provides special education services for eligible children from birth. Other parts of MDE also help serve eligible students from birth through age 5. The Office of Great Start has more information about services for students from birth through age 5.