Special education and the services provided by the state of New York through its public schools are reserved for children with disabilities that impact their abilities to learn. Qualifying for special education is a process that may not be clear to all parents. This informational post will attempt to clarify what happens when a child is suspected of requiring special education and how parents can advocate for their children’s needs along the way. This post is not legal advice and should not be read as guidance for any specific cases or claims.
Referrals and evaluations
For a child to enter special education, they must be referred into the service program. A referral may come from within the school setting or outside of it. Preschool students may qualify for special education if they are identified as needing them when they are 3 to 5 years old.
Once a child is referred to special education, they must be evaluated to see if services will help them. A committee will be assigned to the child and that committee will determine what tests or evaluations should be given to determine the child’s needs.
Results and IEP
Once the results of the committee’s tests and evaluations are in, the committee will review them to decide if the child is eligible for special education services. If they are, the committee will be tasked with developing an individualized education plan (IEP) for the child. The IEP is the roadmap through which the child will travel to receive their special education services.
Once a child has an IEP, they will be evaluated annually to see how they are progressing through their plan. Parents can attend many of the meetings and evaluations that their children are subjected to throughout the process, and when they feel that the process has been flawed, they can seek the counsel of special education attorneys to assist them with their challenges.