Your Guide to the Special Education Identification Process

Children with disabilities have the right to free and appropriate education under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). But how do you secure this special education? Can you provide a doctor’s note stating the disability and the recommended accommodations? What if your child has never been diagnosed, but exhibits signs of a disability? Who decides if your child qualifies for special education?

Use this guide to learn more about how a child (ages 3-21) is identified through the school system as needing special services by clicking on the step that applies to you or by clicking on the “next” button to go through each stage step by step.

Step 1. Child is identified as possibly needing special education and related services.
Step 2. Child is evaluated.
Step 3. Eligibility is decided.
Step 4. IEP meeting is held and the IEP is written.
Step 5. Progress is measured, IEP is reviewed and child is re-evaluated.

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