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Special Education Process

Is your child Eligible for Special Education Services? When parents or educators notice that a child might need additional support, they can refer the child for possible eligibility for special education. This page offers specific resources to help you through the beginning steps of the Special Education Process.
  • Referral ⁄ Evaluation ⁄ Eligibility
  • Individualized Education Program ⁄ Individual Family Service Plan - The Individualized Education Program (IEP) describes the special education and related services designed to meet the unique needs of a child with disabilities. Parents, school personnel, and often the student receiving special education services develop the IEP jointly. This page provides resources to help develop an effective and appropriate IEP.
  • Instruction & Monitoring - Once a student has an IEP, instruction can begin. This page provides information and resources to help you monitor your child's instruction and progress to ensure that the instructional plans outlined in the IEP are followed.
You may also want to visit the FAQ about Special Education.
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Showing Results 1 - 50 of 244
Description: My Parent Journey blog post by Jon Morin Apr 27, 2017 Because of our older son’s high test scores and big vocabulary, his teachers have often suggested that he be placed in gifted and talented (GT) classes. But since he also has issues with executive functioning, social skills and learning, it’s not that simple. Back when he was 8, my son got his first IEP. The school recommended that he be placed in a self-contained class to help with his meltdowns and difficult behavior. Although...
Description: The mission of Virginia's public education system is to educate students in the fundamental knowledge and academic subjects that they need to become capable, responsible, and self-reliant citizens. Therefore, the mission of the Virginia Board of Education and the superintendent of public instruction, in cooperation with local school boards, is to increase student learning and academic achievement.
Description: This module addresses the continuous, systemic transition assessment process described by Federal law that enables Individualized Education Program (IEP) Teams to discover students’ visions for adult life, design appropriate measurable postsecondary goals to nurture these visions, and develop services to maximize students’ potential for achieving their postsecondary goals.
Description: The POWER (Parent Organizer With Educational Resources) web app provides parents and families with online resources to answer questions about child development, disabilities, community services, Special Education, diploma options in Virginia and transition to life after high school.  The questions and potential resources are separated into age levels: Early Childhood, Elementary School, Middle School and High School. This project is a collaborative effort between the Parent Resource...
Description: The Applied Studies Diploma is a diploma option available to students identified as having a disability who complete the requirements of their individualized education programs (IEPs) and meet certain requirements prescribed by the Board of Education pursuant to regulations, but do not meet the requirements for any named diploma. This includes a Webinar Series on the Applied Studies Diploma: Applied Studies Diploma Overview Applied Studies Diploma Part 2: The Curriculum Map Applied Studies...
Description: The Applied Studies Curriculum Map (PDF) is a set of skills and competencies that IEP teams can use to identify the need for additional instruction that the student will need to achieve their postsecondary goals. These skills are not standards or required to earn the Applied Studies Diploma, but provide guidance to teams in aligning the student’s transition goals with the goals outlined in the annual IEP. The Applied Studies Curriculum Map provides a guide in which teachers, students,...
Description: Watch the entire webinar or use the table of contents (on left) to select specific information on the various diploma options and their requirements. This interactive webinar also includes additional resources for more in-depth information. This video include the following sections: Welcome! Advanced Studies Diploma Standard Diploma Applied Studies Diploma Assessments Thank You!
Description: The Military Outreach program through the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) was created to provide awareness and assistance to military families, and professionals that support them, in Virginia through various outreach activities; networking - attending meetings that support military families, exhibiting and presenting workshops –as well as interacting and assisting parents and professionals. The Military Outreach Initiative continues to demonstrate its mission –...
Description: The Working in Support of Education (W!SE) financial literacy credential is closely aligned to the required Economics and Personal Finance (EPF) course (6120) for all students.  Therefore, students who have successfully completed the EPF course in a previous semester or previous year but have not passed an industry certification examination to satisfy the Standard Diploma graduation requirement may take the W!SE test. Upon passing the W!SE test, these students will have met two graduation...
Description: Age of majority is the age when children legally become adults. At this time, they gain the rights of adults, which include the right to vote, marry, apply for a credit card, make medical and financial decisions for themselves, sign contracts, live independently, and much more. In most states the age of majority is age 18. We invite you to read this tip sheet for parents to learn more about: Who decides the age of majority The age of majority in your state What the transfer of parental...
Description: Being a parent is the most wonderful—and hardest—job in the world. If you have a child with special needs, your job is no less wonderful, but it can be more complicated. Your child’s education is most likely an area of great interest to you. As a child with a disability, he or she may be eligible for special education services in school. If so, then it will be important for you to learn: more about special education; how special education services can support your child; and...
Description: From a student’s first day of school until the completion of his or her education, a significant number of educational decisions will have been made for or by that student. Until a student reaches the age of 18 (also called the “age of majority” in Virginia), most of those decisions are made by parents, family members, and/or guardians in consultation with teachers or education officials. The right of a person meeting the definition of parent under the Virginia Regulations, to...
Description: If you have just recently found out about your child’s hearing loss or know of a child who has been recently diagnosed with a hearing loss you are on the right track to finding more information for Virginia residents. Knowledge is power! Being informed in the area of deafness/hearing impairment and teaching your child or children with hearing losses to be independent is important.
Description: ATware Solutions, LLC. has been formed by a multidisciplinary team of people from several Virginia universities to produce software and hardware that can be used by people with disabilities, or professionals and families assisting people with disabilities.
Description: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 defines secondary transition as a coordinated set of activities designed to be within a results-oriented process, focused on improving the academic achievement and functional performance to facilitate movement from school to post-school activities. The purpose of transition planning for youth at ages 14 and 16 is similar; good planning should address academic achievement and functional performance that will facilitate movement from...
Description: Successful and meaningful transition services are the result of careful planning. This planning is driven by a young person’s dreams, desires, and abilities. It builds a youth’s participation in school, home and community living. Transition planning helps to prepare young people for their futures. It helps them to develop skills they need to go on to other education programs after high school. It builds skills to live, work, and play in the community. It helps to build independence....
Description: What are transition services?The term “transition services” means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that are designed to be within a results-oriented process. The services focus on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities. These activities include postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported...
Description: A Virginia high school diploma signifies that the bearer has met proficiency standards established by the Board of Education in reading, writing, mathematics, science and history. The resources listed here explain Virginia's graduation requirements and the many options now available to students for earning a high school diploma. You also will find information on how students can get even more out of their high school experience by accepting the challenge of advanced courses. Standard Diploma...
Description: Every child is unique and learns in different ways. If your child has been identified as needing special education services to support his or her learning at school, you can play a major role in shaping the services your child receives. This section will help you understand the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the importance of your participation in developing your child’s IEP Plan. You are a required member of your child’s IEP team, and your ideas must always be considered...
Description: It is the intent of the Commonwealth of Virginia to include all students with disabilities in the assessment component of Virginia's accountability system. IDEA 2004 regulations require that all students with disabilities participate in the state's accountability system. Students with disabilities may participate in the Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments, Virginia Grade Level Alternative (VGLA), Virginia Substitute Evaluation Program (VSEP), and Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP)....
Description: Your child’s IEP includes annual goals. And while her school will keep you updated on progress, you may want to keep track on your own, too. This IEP goal tracker can help you stay on top of your child’s IEP goals, her present level of performance and the progress she’s making. It can also help you keep track of questions or observations you might want to raise with the IEP team. A goal chart doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to...
Description: The I’m Determined project, a state directed project funded by the Virginia Department of Education, focuses on providing direct instruction, models, and opportunities to practice skills associated with self-determined behavior. This project facilitates youth, especially those with disabilities to undertake a measure of control in their lives, helping to set and steer the course rather than remaining the silent passenger. There are resources and videos for Educators, Parents and...
Description: This webinar presentation covers two aspects of Age of Majority issues presented by The disAbility Law Center of Virginia (dLCV): Social Security and Alternatives to Guardianship"Social Security: The Age 18 Re-determination and Related Topics", presented by Elizabeth HornSynopsis -Students on SSI as a child will be re-determined at age 18 based on the adult rules. How is the decision made, can benefits be extended, is working during this time recommended? What about applying for the first...
Description: If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), IDEA guarantees your some important rights. The right to: Participate in IEP Meetings, An Independent Evaluation, Give (or Deny) Consent, Contest a School's Decision, and Private Education Paid by the Public School (in specific circumstances).
Description: The Center provides vocational training and medical interventions for people with disabilities to assist them in obtaining employment and to live more independently. In the more than two decades that I have been a part of the staff at the Center, I have been blessed to witness many extraordinary stories of our clients. In many instances, clients overcome significant obstacles and go on to achieve astounding accomplishments in their personal and professional lives. WWRC exists to provide the...
Description: The Virginia Family Special Education Connection Website provides Local Disability Services information for all of the Counties/Cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These services include: Arc (The Arc) Care Connection for Children (Health Department Program) Centers for Independent Living Child Development Services Program - Clinics Community Services Board (CSB) Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) Department of Social...
Description: Both Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans can offer formal help for K–12 students with learning and attention issues. They’re similar in some ways but quite different in others. This resource compares them side-by-side to help you understand the differences.
Description: This site contains IEP Resources for Parents, including Understanding Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Checklist: What to Consider When Developing Annual IEP Goals, At a Glance: Who's on the IEP Team, Checklist: What to Bring to the IEP Meeting, and more.
Description: This handbook is designed as a guide to help students take another step in for “life after high school.” While high school is an exciting time, you do after high school can be just as exciting if you have done some and thoughtful planning.
Description: The Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs is pleased to provide the Department of Defense Special Needs Parent Tool Kit — Birth to 18. This tool kit provides information and resources that will help you improve your quality of life and teaches you how to advocate for your child with special needs. Each of the six modules addresses issues you are likely to encounter throughout your child’s life. Whether your child has been recently diagnosed with a...
Description: The Center on Technology and Disability (CTD) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The Center is designed to increase the capacity of families and providers to advocate for, acquire, and implement effective assistive and instructional technology (AT/IT) practices, devices, and services.  Research-based technologies, used appropriately, have great potential to help infants, toddlers, children, and youth with...
Description: Pretti-Frontczak, K., Jackson, S., Goss, S.M., Grisham-Brown, J., Horn, E., Harjusola-Webb, S., Lieber, J., & Matthews, D. (2007). A curriculum framework that supports quality early childhood education for all young children. Young Exceptional Children Monograph Series, 9, 16-28. Grisham-Brown, J.L., Pretti-Frontczak, K.L., Hemmeter, M.L., & Ridgley, R. (2002). Teaching IEP goals and objectives in the context of classroom routines and activities. Young Exceptional Children, 6(1), 18-27.
Description: In this issue, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities, families, advocates, service providers, researchers, and others talk about how the ADA has made a difference in their lives, the lives of their loved ones, and in our nation. Its articles talk about the ADA as a promise our country has made that Americans with disabilities will have the same opportunity as Americans without disabilities to experience freedom, dignity,...
Description: CADRE developed five parent guides with the support of parent leaders from across the country. 1. IDEA Special Education Written State Complaints, 2. IDEA Special Education Mediation, 3. IDEA Special Education Due Process Complaints/Hearing Requests, 4. IDEA Special Education Resolution Meetings, and 5. Individualized Education Program(IEP)Facilitation (Available in English and Spanish)
Description: Spring is an ideal time for educators to pause and reflect. Routines and practices are established, but enough of the year remains to make adjustments. It is also not too early to start planning for next year. (William & Mary T/TAC Link Lines Newsletter, Feb. 2015)
Description: Virginia's public schools are committed to the care and education of the children of the men and women of our armed forces. By partnering with school liaison officers, military leaders, educators, and non-profit organizations, VDOE provides resources about the unique support needed for military service members and their families during all stages of transition and deployment.
Description: This section provides a Guidance Package (which includes a Set of Guiding Principles for Providing High-Quality Education in Juvenile Justice Secure Care Settings, and a Dear Colleague Letter on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for Students with Disabilities in Correctional Facilities), Additional Resources (which includes Frequently Asked Questions and Fact Sheets), and Technical Assistance and Support.
Description: When your parents, teachers or other adults in your school talk about “transition planning,” they are talking about things you can do now to get ready for the time after you leave high school. That future may seem far away, but the more you plan now, the easier your first steps into the adult world will be.
Description: Getting electronic textbooks is easier than you think. AIM-VA provides easy access for students with IEPs AND resources for students who do not have an IEP. These digital resources complement technology to give struggling learners easier access to educational materials. Would your students benefit from books that offer features such text highlighting, ability to add notes, outlining, personalization of background colors and fonts (including size and shapes), dictionary, a variety of speaking...
Description: The Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) is pleased to provide English speakers with quick access to the wealth of information in Spanish on this website. For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, use this page to easily find and share important info in Spanish with the Spanish speakers you serve. Each item in the list below starts with the topic in English (which is linked to info in English on that topic). This is followed by the title of the page in Spanish that offers the...
Description: Información en español en este sitio, Nos complacemos en facilitar su acceso rápido a nuestra información en español a través de esta lista alfabética organizada por Tema de Discapacidad.
Description: This App renders the “Parents' Guide to Special Education Dispute Resolution” by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), for mobile devices. It covers “Mediation,” “Formal Complaint,” and “Due Process” and includes a section that defines relevant “Acronyms” and a “Glossary.” The application offers an easy to use question and answer format. Many answers include a direct link to the Regulations Governing Special Education...
Description: This fact sheet covers the following questions: What does a school have to do when a child with a disability is being bullied?, Does it matter if a child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan?, Where can I go for help? (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights)
Description: Resumen para los padres ¿Que deben hacer las escuelas públicas cuando los estudiantes con discapacidades son acosados?
Description: While this guidance document is designed to address the particular needs of military families with students in special education, we note that other families with students in special education who are transferring to other school divisions may find some of the information included here helpful as well.
Description: The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is required to monitor the implementation of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), (34 CFR 300.600(b)). The IDEA establishes requirements for state monitoring, enforcement, and annual reporting, and requires that the primary focus of monitoring be on: (1.) Improving educational results and functional outcomes for all children with disabilities; and (2.) Ensuring that public agencies meet the program requirements under this...
Description: The purpose of this information brief is to provide families experiencing homelessness and service providers who work with these families an overview of the special education process.
Description: These resources include: Learning Inventory Elementary-New!, Learning Inventory Secondary- New!, Instructional Design Tool, IEP At A Glance, Student Profile, Assessing My Mutiple Intelligences, How Am I Smart?, See How Smart I Am Graphing Chart, Checklist of Self-Management Skills, Four Corners, Conversation Circles, Graffiti Facts, Area Of Difficulty Checklist, Differentiated Instruction Self-Assessment, Flexible Grouping Forms, Web 2.0 Keys, Jog the Web: Web 2.0 Tools, Strategy: Wordsplash,...
Description: A new school year means a new grade, new teachers, new goals, and maybe even a new school! In order to help you and your child with special needs be as successful as you can be, we've put together a list of eight helpful back-to-school tips that we hope will make the transition into a new school year a little easier for you and your child.
Description: This publication is from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Division of Special Education. It includes "My Records Notebook, Preparing for an IEP Meeting, Participating in an IEP Meeting, About My Child, Agency, School & Medical Contact Information, Appendix A: Glossary, and Appendix B: Acronyms. Note: Some of the terms in the glossary and some of the acromyns are not used in Virginia.