If you suspect your child has a disability...
The Special Education ProcessThe
special education process determines whether or not your child is
eligible for special education services and if so, what special
education services are most appropriate for your child.
There are four (4) basic steps in the special education process:
1. Referral for Assessment
3. Development and Implementation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
4. IEP Review
Step 1: Referral for AssessmentIn
many cases, parents or guardians refer their child for assessment for
special education services. Teachers, other school personnel, and
community members may also refer a child for assessment. Within fifteen
(15) days, not counting school vacations greater than five (5) days you will receive a written
response from the District and if the District determines that an
assessment of your child is appropriate, you will receive an Assessment Plan.
An Assessment Plan describes the types and
purposes of the assessments which may be used to determine your child's
eligibility for special education services. Before your child can be
assessed, you must consent to the assessment by signing the Assessment
Plan. You have at least fifteen (15) days from the receipt of the
Assessment Plan to consent to and sign it. The school has sixty (60)
days, not counting school vacations greater than five (5) days, of the
receipt of your signed Assessment Plan to complete the assessment and
hold an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting.
Step 2: Assessment
assessment involves gathering information about your child to determine
whether your child has a disability and, if he or she is eligible, the
nature and extent of special education services that your child may
need. Assessments may include individual testing, observation, of the
child at school, interviews with the child and school personnel who work
with the child, and review of school records, reports and work samples.
Guidelines for Assessment
When your child is assessed, the following guidelines will be followed:
- Your child will be assessed only after you consent to the Assessment Plan.
- Your child will be assessed in all areas related to his and her suspected disability.
- The Assessment will be administered in your child's primary language or a qualified interpreter will be provided.
- The assessment must include a variety of appropriate
tests to measure your child's strengths and needs. The persons
administering these tests must be qualified to do so.
- The assessment will be adapted for students with impaired sensory, physical or speaking skills.
- A multidisciplinary team, including at least one
teacher or other specialist with knowledge in the area of your child's
suspected disability, will assess your child.
- Testing and assessment materials and procedures must not be racially, culturally or sexually discriminatory.
Step 3: Development and Implementation of an
INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP) After your child has been assessed, an INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP)
meeting will be held. The IEP meeting must be held at a time and place
convenient for both you and the school's representatives. At this
meeting, the IEP team will discuss the assessment results and determine
whether your child is eligible for special education services. If your
child is eligible, then an IEP will also be developed during the
The following people are members of the IEP team:
- you, as the child's parent or guardian, and/or your representative;
- a school administrator or qualified representative who is knowledgeable about program options appropriate for your child;
- your child's present teacher. If a student does not
presently have a teacher, a teacher with the most recent and complete
knowledge of the student and who has observed the student's educational
performance will participate as an IEP team member. If a teacher with
the most recent and complete knowledge of the student is not available,
the teacher on the IEP team will be a special education teacher
qualified to teach a student of his or her age;
- other persons, such as your child, whom you or the school wish to invite; and
- when appropriate, the person(s) who assessed your child or someone familiar with those assessment procedures.
What is an IEP?
The IEP is the written plan that describes a child's abilities and
needs, and the placement and services designed to meet the child's
unique needs. Your child must have an IEP before he or she receives
special education services. Your child's IEP must be implemented as soon
as possible after the IEP meeting. In addition, your child's IEP must
be reviewed and, if necessary, revised once a year or more often upon
request. If your child is found to be eligible for special education
services, the IEP will contain:
- annual goals focusing on your child's needs
- the services that your child will receive;
- when services will begin, how often they will be provided, and for how long;
- the instructional program(s) where these services will be delivered;
- the amount of time your child will spend in general
education. If your child is not educated completely in general
education, it should state why; and
- how the school will measure your child's progress.
You will receive a copy of the IEP at the IEP meeting. You
have the right to agree or disagree with any part of the IEP. The school
is required to get your consent to the IEP before your child receives
special education services. Upon your request, you must be given a copy
IEP in your primary language, whenever possible.
Will I Receive Notice of the IEP Meeting?
The school must provide you with notice of the IEP meeting
within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. This notice will
include: the date, time, and place of the meeting; the reason for the
meeting; who will be at the
meeting; and a statement of the right of participants to
the meeting. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you
may call the school to reschedule.
When Must an IEP Meeting be Held?
An IEP meeting must be held:
- once a year to review your child's progress and placement and to make any needed changes to the IEP;
- every three years to review the progress and determine continued need for special education services. this is referred to as a trienniel or reevaluation IEP.
- after your child has received a formal assessment or reassessment;
- if you or a teacher feel that your child demonstrates significant educational growth or a lack of anticipated progress;
- when you or a teacher request a meeting to develop, review, or revise the IEP;
- to develop a transition plan, beginning at age sixteen (16) or younger, if appropriate; and/or
- to determine whether a student's misconduct was a
manifestation of his or her disability before expelling or suspending
the student from school for more than ten (10) school days.
If your child is already enrolled in a
special education program and you request an IEP meeting, it is best to do so
in writing. Once your request is received, the meeting must be held
within thirty (30) days, not counting school vacations greater than five
What are Transition Services?
Transition services are a set of coordinated activities to
assist a student's movement from school to post-school activities. These
services are designed to help your child adjust to life after he or she
is no longer eligible for school-related services. The law requires
that transition services be provided to all students with disabilities,
beginning at sixteen (16) years of age or younger, if appropriate. When
appropriate, the IEP team will plan and oversee the implementation of
these transition services.
The law also requires that coordinated activities for
transition include instruction, community experiences, and the
development of employment and other post-school living skills. If
services in any of the previously listed areas are not needed by your
child, your child's IEP must state so and why. The coordinated
activities for transition must be based on your child's individual needs
and take into account his or her preferences and interests. If
appropriate, the coordinated activities may also include the acquisition
of daily living skills and/or functional vocational evaluation.
If transition services are going to be discussed at an
IEP meeting, the notice of the IEP meeting will include the following
- indicate that the meeting will discuss transition services;
- indicate that the student will be invited; and
- identify any agency representatives that the school invited who may be able to provide and/or pay for transition services.
If any agency representatives cannot be at the meeting, the District will attempt to obtain their input through other means.
Step 4: IEP Review If
your child is receiving special education services, his or her IEP will
be reviewed in an IEP meeting at least once a year to determine how
well it is meeting his or her needs. In addition, every three years,
your child will be reassessed and his or her IEP reviewed as part of an
overall comprehensive reevaluation of your child's progress.
If there are concerns that your child's educational needs
are not being met, either you or school personnel may request an IEP meeting to review the IEP at any time during the
year. You may request an IEP meeting by sending a written request
to the school. Once your request is received, the meeting must be held
within thirty (30) days, not counting school vacations greater than five