Special Education Process
Special Education Process
An IEP is an individualized plan that is written for one particular student with a disability. The process can be very difficult if the people involved on not prepared or well informed. The New York State office of Special Education has a wonderful website at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed that provides information on the steps and rights of the involved parties. This flow chart and explanations was created from this information. It is most important that the parents are involved and informed because they ultimately may have to continue to push for fair evaluations and determination and will only be able to accomplish this if they are well informed of their rights and responsibilities.
Step 1: The IEP Referral
An IEP referral can originate from a parent, teacher or other school personnel. The referral should be done in writing and must have a date, signature and be copied. An IEP can take up to 60 days to complete but within 15 days the district must provide the parent with an assessment plan. Parents then have 15 days to go over this plan and decide whether or not they want to approve the plan. It is imperative that you keep up with the process and not move it to the back burner. It also important for the parents to know their rights and realize they are the best advocate for their child’s successful education.
Step 2: The Evaluation and Step 3: Determining Special Education Eligibility
The evaluation will determine whether or not the student qualifies for special education services. IDEA defined thirteen eligible disabilities for special education services. When the evaluation is over a IEP meeting is held and they discuss the results of the evaluation and they will determine whether or not the student meets the conditions for services. If the student qualifies another IEP meeting will be scheduled and this is when they write the IEP. The team only has 30 days to complete this and the student cannot begin special education services until the IEP is written. If the student is not eligible for services he or she will be offered other services that will assist them with any learning issues that are holding back achievement. If the parents disagree with the findings they have the option of requesting additional tests, further consideration, an Independent Education Evaluation or mediation. If a child has one of the thirteen disabilities of IDEA but is not hindered by the disability they may not qualify for special education services.
Step 4: Writing the IEP
After eligibility has been determined a case manager usually a special education teacher or someone with a similar specialty will be assigned by the district. The IEP must be written and is considered a legal document. It must include what level of academic ability the child is at presently, any type of needs, why they are eligible, plans on how