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Special Education Identification and Referral Process


If it suspected that a student may have a disability, a referral process is used to determine if a student is eligible for special education services. The process below references the referral process as outlined in "Whose IDEA Is This?" as follows:

Steps to Getting Services

Parent(s) School District
Pre-referral/
Request for Assistance
  • Contacts the teacher to discuss any concerns that the child may have a disability
  • Provides information about the child that might be helpful
  • Asks the school district for help
  • Helps the district determine whether the child has a disability
  • Contacts the parents for information if it suspects the child has a disability
  • Tries different teaching strategies to help the child learn and keeps a record of results
  • Contacts parents to participate in a meeting to decide if the child should be evaluated for special education services
  • Uses an "intervention assistance team" to suggest new teaching approaches and keeps a record of the results (see "Definitions" section regarding Intervention Assistance Team)
Request for Evaluation
  • Makes a written request for the child to be evaluated for a suspected disability
  • Asks for information about parent support groups
  • Gives written consent (permission) for the child to be evaluated; giving consent means you have been fully informed of all necessary information regarding evaluation of your child; when you give your consent for your child to be evaluated, you are not giving your consent for the school district to begin providing special education services to your child

  • Starts the evaluation process
  • Contacts the parents, explains the request (referral) process and provides a copy of "Whose IDEA Is This?"
  • Gives parents a copy of a prior written notice (the district sends this notice to parents before it proposes any action related to your child qualifying for or receiving special education services; the district also sends parents the prior written notice form when it refuses any action related to your child qualifying for or receiving special education services) (see more details in the "Notices" section)
  • Asks the parents for written consent to evaluate the child if the district suspects a disability
  • Receives the parents' written consent for evaluation
Evaluation
  • Participates in evaluation team activities, which include determining whether your child is eligible for special education services
  • Provides information for the evaluation process (such as medical, family and educational history and your view of your child's strengths and needs); if your child is determined not eligible for special education and related services and you disagree, you may:
    • Request an "independent educational evaluation" (this is an evaluation by someone not employed by the school district; for more details,l see "Definitions")
    • Request a "due process hearing" (this is a form of hearing to resolve the disagreement; for more details, see "Definitions.")
  • Contacts the parents to participate in the evaluation process
  • Works with the parents to develop an evaluation plan that will be summarized in an evaluation team report
  • Provides the parents with prior written notice that includes a description of the planned evaluation
  • Collects information about the child from parents, teachers and others
  • Completes the evaluation within 60 days of receiving a parent's consent to evaluate
  • Conducts an evaluation team meeting to which the parents have been invited.
  • Summarizes and interprets the evaluation results
  • Determines the child's eligibility for special education services; if your child is eligible, an individualized education program, the IEP, will be completed within 120 days of the referral for evaluation or within 90 days of your signed consent; the meeting participants become known as the "IEP team" (see "Definitions")
  • Provides the parents with a copy of the evaluation team report within 14 days of the evaluation team meeting or before the individualized education program team meeting, whichever comes first; if your child is not eligible for special education services, the school district:
    • Provides the parents with a copy of the evaluation team report
    • Determines other appropriate changes and "interventions" (forms of assistance) to help the child
    • Considers whether your child is eligible for services under another federal law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Definitions
Intervention Assistance Team (IAT) – A team of educators from your child's school who meet to design various forms of assistance for children who are experiencing difficulty; you may be invited to participate in an IAT meeting about your child


A re-evaluation (MFE) is completed every three years for students identified with a disability; the re-evaluation is to determine if the student continues to have a disability/be eligible for special education services.

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