There are five basic steps in the special education process: (1) Referral for Assessment; (2) Assessment; (3) The Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meeting; (4) Determination; and (5) IEP Review.
Step One: Referral for Assessment
A parent, teacher, or other educator requests an evaluation. After the parent consents to the evaluation, the child is evaluated and an IEP meeting is scheduled (generally within 60 days of the referral).
At the IEP meeting, you should tell the district representative about any concerns or preferences you have. The team must discuss the special education programs and services available at your child's current or zoned public school and how to ensure that they are sufficient to meet your child's needs.
Guidelines for Assessment
- If the school determines that an assessment of your child is not appropriate, you will receive a written notice of this decision.
- If the school determines that an assessment is appropriate, you will receive an Assessment Plan.
Referral for Assessment: What is a Referral for Assessment?
The first step in determining if your child has a disability and if he or she requires special education services is to request an evaluation. This initial referral must be in writing and may be made by you or a designated school district official.
Ways for you to request an initial evaluation for your child:
- Send a letter to the principal at your child's public school;
- Give a written statement to a professional staff member of your child's school;
- Ask a school professional to assist you in making a referral.
- A school official, which means the principal of the school your child attends.
- The commissioner or a public agency official who is responsible for the education of your child.
- A professional staff member of the school in which your child resides or the public or private school your child legally attends or is eligible to attend;
- A licensed physician;
- A judicial officer;
- A professional staff member of a public agency with responsibility for welfare, health or education of the child;
- A student who is 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor.
What is an IEP?
- annual goals and short-term objectives focusing on your child's current level of performance;
- the services 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.
Children with disabilities should attend the school they would ordinarily attend if they were not in special education. This requirement may be waived when a student's IEP requires it and states why.
You will receive a copy of the IEP at the IEP meeting. If you do not attend the IEP meeting, a copy will be mailed to you. 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 of the IEP in your primary language, whenever possible.
When Must an IEP Meeting be Held?
- at least annually to review a student’s progress and the individualized education program, including whether the annual goals for the student are being achieved, the appropriateness of the placement, and to make any necessary revisions;
- every three years to review existing assessment data on the student, including assessments provided by the parents, current classroom-based assessments and observations, and teacher and related service providers’ observations;
- if reassessment is warranted, as determined by school personnel, or if requested by the student’s parent, the three year review will include an assessment to determine student’s eligibility;
- 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 fourteen (14);
- 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.
The ITP and YOU
Students who are eligible for services under Section 504 will receive those services from the school staff. Please be sure to let the staff know by checking the appropriate box on the registration card. The staff will meet with the student and family to develop/update an accommodation plan. If you think your student needs services, see the Director/Assistant Director for an eligibility determination.