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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.

The Planning and Placement Team

The Planning and Placement Team (PPT) is a group of people who know your child's abilities. Parents are important and equal members of the team.

While your child is being evaluated for special education, the PPT must include

  • the child’s parent or guardian;
  • a school administrator or someone named by the administrator;
  • the child’s teacher; and
  • a member of the special education staff.

The PPT may also include

  • other school staff;
  • your child, if appropriate; and
  • other people you think could be helpful.

When will the first PPT meeting take place?

The school district must tell you in writing at least 5 school days before the meeting. The notice they send you must include

  • the date, time, location, and reason for the PPT meeting;
  • who has been invited; and
  • what your rights are.

If PPT meeting doesn’t work with your schedule, you can ask the school district to reschedule it. If you can’t get to the meeting in person, the school district must try other ways to get you involved, such as meeting with you by phone. If it’s impossible for you to attend the PPT meeting at all, the meeting may be held without you.

The school district must send you copies of any written reports within 5 days after the meeting.

What will happen at the first PPT meeting?

At the first PPT meeting, the team will

  • talk about the referral to special education,
  • look at how your child is doing in school, and
  • decide if your child needs to be evaluated to get more information.

The PPT will also look at information about your child that may come from

  • you;
  • teachers and other school staff; and
  • professionals such as a school psychologist or an occupational, speech, or physical therapist.

> If the school decides it will evaluate your child for special education, then within 45 days of when the referral was made, it must

  • get your written permission to have your child evaluated,
  • evaluate your child, and
  • have a PPT meeting to discuss the results of the evaluations.

> If the school decides it will not evaluate your child, it must tell you in writing within 45 days of when the referral to special education was made. If you don’t agree with the decision, you can ask for a due process hearing. See page below for more information about due process.

What is an evaluation?

How can my child get special education services in school?

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