Frequently Asked Questions
What is a referral?
A referral is a written request for an evaluation that is given to the school district when a child is suspected of having a disability and might need special education services.
Who can make a referral?
- School personnel
- Agencies concerned with the welfare of students. If you believe that your child may have a disability, you may refer your child for an evaluation by submitting a written request to your school district.
What happens when a referral is made?
Within 20 calendar days of receiving a referral, the school district must hold a meeting to decide whether an evaluation will be conducted. If an evaluation will be conducted, another decision is made about the types of testing and other procedures that will be used to determine if you child needs special education services.
How are decisions made about my child's special education needs?
Decisions regarding your child's special education needs are made at meetings. As the parent of a child who has or may have a disability, you have the right to participate in meetings regarding:
- Identification (decision to evaluate)
- Evaluation (nature and scope of assessment procedures)
- Classification (determination of whether your child is eligible for special education and related services)
- Development and review of your child's individualized education program (IEP)
- Educational placement of your child
- Reevaluation of your child
You are considered a member of the multi-disciplinary team of qualified persons who meet to make these determinations and develop your child's individualized education program (IEP).
You have the right to:
- Have an interpreter, translator, or sign language interpreter provided by the school at no cost to you when necessary.
- Participate in required meetings through other means such as individual or conference telephone calls if you cannot attend in person.
What is an evaluation?
An evaluation is the process used to determine whether your child has a disability. This process includes a review of any relevant data, and the individual administration of any tests, assessments, and observations of your child. For an initial evaluation, at least two child study team members and other specialists as required or as determined necessary must participate.
When is an evaluation needed?
An evaluation is needed when you, the members of the child study team, and your child's teacher (to the extent appropriate) meet and decide that your child may have a disability.
What is an individualized education program?
After your child is determined to be eligible for special education and related services, a meeting will be held to develop your child's IEP. The IEP is a written plan that describes in detail your child's special
education program. The IEP should describe how your child currently performs and your child's specific instructional needs. The IEP must include measurable annual goals and short term objectives or benchmarks.
Who must attend the IEP meetings?
- Student, if appropriate
- Regular education teacher (to the extent appropriate), if the student is or will be participating in regular education
- Special education teacher (or special education provider where appropriate)
- At least one child study team member, who can be the Case manager
- Others at the discretion of the parent or school district- If transition will be discussed at the IEP meeting, a representative of any other agency likely to provide or pay for services.