Referring a Child for Special Services

Special Education Referrals

If a parent makes a written request for an initial evaluation for special education services to the director of special education services or to a district administrative employee of the school district, the district must respond no later than 15 school days after receiving the request. At that time, the district must give the parent prior written notice of whether it agrees or refuses to evaluate the student, along with a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards. If the district agrees to evaluate the student, it must also give the parent the opportunity to give written consent for the evaluation.

Note: A request for a special education evaluation may be made verbally; it does not need to be made in writing. Districts must still comply with all federal prior-written notices and procedural safeguard requirements as well as the requirements for identifying, locating, and evaluating children who are suspected of having a disability and in need of special education. However, a verbal request does not require the district to respond within the 15 school-day timeline.

If the district decides to evaluate the student, it must complete the student’s initial evaluation and evaluation report no later than 45 school days from the day it receives a parent’s written consent. However, if the student is absent from school during the evaluation period for three or more school days, the evaluation period will be extended by the number of school days equal to the number of school days that the student is absent.

There is an exception to the 45-school-day timeline. If the district receives a parent’s consent for the initial evaluation at least 35 but less than 45 school days before the last instructional day of the school year, it must complete the written report and provide a copy of the report to the parent by June 30 of that year. However, if the student is absent from school for three or more days during the evaluation period, the June 30 due date no longer applies. Instead, the general timeline of 45 school days plus extensions for absences of three or more days will apply.

Upon completing the evaluation, the district must give the parent a copy of the evaluation report at no cost.

What does it take to meet eligibility for Special Education?

A student is eligible for special education services if they meet the criteria for one or more of the following disabilities:

  • Learning Disability

  • Speech Impairment

  • Orthopedic Impairment

  • Other Health Impairment

  • Mental Retardation

  • Emotional Disturbance

  • Autism

  • Multiple Disabilities

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Visual Impairment

  • Auditory Impairment

  • Deaf-Blindness service

  • Non-categorical

What if they decide to evaluate the student?

The campus is required to notify the parent of the referral for Special Education assessment and to obtain parental consent for the recommended evaluation. The District will begin the evaluation after written consent has been received.

What happens after the evaluation?

After the evaluation, a written report is compiled that should provide you and the school with information related to your child’s level of performance and educational needs. You will receive feedback of the evaluation prior to the ARD committee meeting.

What is an ARD?

An Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) is a committee comprised of the parent(s)/guardian of the student, a regular education teacher, at least one special education teacher and a representative of the school who is qual if ied to provide or supervise instruction to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

What is the role of the ARD committee?

The ARD committee develops the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is a written plan describing the provision of special education and related services for your child once a disability has been determined.

After the IEP is written, what then?

After an IEP is written, the ARD committee must determine the educational setting or placement where the special education and related services will be provided. The student will be placed in the educational setting that provides the most opportunities to be educated with students who do not have disabilities (Least Restrictive Environment).

How often is the student reviewed for Special Education?

The ARD committee meets once a year to review the student’s progress. Reevaluation needs are reviewed in an ARD meeting at least every three (3) years.