The Special Education Process

Brooke Jack

10 Steps

There are ten steps for the Special Education Process in determining if a child qualifies for Special Education.

These steps are important to ensure every kid is given everything they need to be successful in school and in life
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Step 1

Child is identified as possibly needing special education and related services

There are 2 primary ways this could happen:
Child Find:
Each state is required to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities who need special education and related services. To do this states conduct Child Find activities

Referral or Request for Evaluation:
A school professional may ask that a child be evaluated to see if he or she has a disability. Parents may also contact the child’s teacher or other school professional to ask that their child be evaluated. This request may be verbal, but it’s best to put it in writing.

Step 2

Child is evaluated

Evaluation is an essential step in this process. Answer the following questions:
  • Does the child have a disability that requires the provision of special education and related services?
  • What are the child’s specific educational needs?
  • What special education services and related services, then, are appropriate for addressing those needs?

Step 3

Eligibility is decided

A group of professionals decides this based on the IDEA definition of "child with a disability".

Step 4

Child is found eligible for services

Within 30 calendar days after a child is determined eligible, a team of school professionals and the parents must meet to write an IEP (Individualized Education Program)

Step 5

IEP meeting is scheduled

School must:
  • contact the participants, including the parents;
  • notify parents early enough to make sure they have an opportunity to attend;
  • schedule the meeting at a time and place agreeable to parents and the school;
  • tell the parents the purpose, time, and location of the meeting;
  • tell the parents who will be attending; and
  • tell the parents that they may invite people to the meeting who have knowledge or special expertise about the child.
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Step 6

IEP meeting is held, and the IEP is written

Before the school system may provide special education and related services to the child for the first time, the parents must give consent
The child begins to receive services as soon as possible after the IEP is written and this consent is given.

Step 7

Services are provided

The school makes sure that the child’s IEP is carried out as it was written. Parents are given a copy of the IEP. Each of the child’s teachers and service providers has access to the IEP and knows his or her specific responsibilities for carrying out the IEP.

Step 8

Progress is measured and reported to parents

The child’s progress toward the annual goals is measured, as stated in the IEP. His or her parents are regularly informed of their child’s progress and whether that progress is enough for the child to achieve the goals by the end of the year.
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Step 9

IEP is reviewed

The child’s IEP is reviewed by the IEP team at least once a year, or more often if the parents or school ask for a review. If necessary, the IEP is revised

Step 10

Child is reevaluated

At least every three years the child must be reevaluated.
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