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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.

What is special education?

Children with disabilities have special needs. They also have the right to special classes, programs, and services that will help them participate and do well in school. Special education is free and must be provided by your child’s school.

Special education is classroom instruction that is specifically designed for a child who has a disability. It may include special classes, programs, or services to help the child participate in the regular classroom.

Special education is for children between the ages of 3 and 21 who have a disability that causes them to need special help in school. Disabilities that allow a child to get special education services include

  • problems with speech or language;
  • autism;
  • attention deficit disorder;
  • problems with hearing or seeing;
  • intellectual or learning disabilities;
  • neurological or physical problems;
  • serious emotional problems;
  • traumatic brain injury; or
  • other health problems such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome.

If your child is younger than 3 years old and you are worried about his or her ability to see, talk, hear, move, eat, or play, the Birth to Three System (also called Early Intervention Services) can help. For more information:

The rest of this booklet will focus on special education for school-aged children.

How can my child get special education services in school?

More reading

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