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Special Education: Protecting Your Child, Protecting Your Rights

October 2016

If you think your child needs special education services, this guide can help you have your child evaluated to see what services are needed. You will also learn how to help make sure your child gets the services he or she needs to do well in school.

Si usted cree que su niño necesita servicios de educación especial, esta guía le puede ayudar para que su hijo sea evaluado para determinar qué servicios son necesarios. También aprenderá como asegurarse de que su niño reciba los servicios que él o ella necesita para hacer bien en la escuela.

How can my child get special education services in school?

If you think your child has a disability, you can ask in writing for your child to be evaluated for special education. This is called a referral to special education.

You can write a letter to the school district (see Sample Letter A) or ask if the school has a form you can fill out. You can give the referral to the school in person or send it by certified mail and keep a copy for yourself. If you deliver it in person, ask the person who takes it from you to give you a signed and dated copy.

A referral to special education can be made by

  • the child’s parent or legal guardian,
  • the child's teacher or other school staff;
  • a professional such as a pediatrician or social worker; or
  • the student, if age 18 or older.

The school must make a referral to special education if

  • the child has been suspended multiple times; or
  • his or her attendance, behavior, or progress in school is poor.

What happens after a referral is made?

Once a referral has been made, the school should

  • form a Planning and Placement Team (PPT),
  • and schedule a Planning and Placement Team meeting (also called a PPT meeting).

The Planning and Placement Team

What is special education?

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