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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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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: 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.
Description: This guide was developed to give you information on how the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting works so you can participate in making informed decisions about your child’s educational program. The guide gives suggestions on what you can do to prepare for the meeting, and information about what happens during the meeting, including the development of the IEP document. It also tells you what happens after the IEP meeting and lists resources and definitions of special education...
Description: Early intervention services are designed to address the developmental needs of eligible infants and toddlers with disabilities, ages birth to the third birthday, and their families. Early intervention is authorized by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Description: If you’re concerned about the development of an infant or toddler, or you suspect that a little one has a disability, this page will summarize one terrific source of help—the early intervention system in your state. Early intervention services can help infants and toddlers with disabilities or delays to learn many key skills and catch up in their development.
Description: This article describes how the IEP meeting is scheduled, who comes, and the special factors that team members must consider when writing an IEP. IEP teams are made up of individuals who bring different perspectives and expertise to the table. Pooling their knowledge, team members set out to craft an individualized response to a specific child’s needs, taking into account that same child’s strengths and talents. There’s a lot of information shared at IEP meetings, and a lot of...
Description: The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education regularly provides guidance to the field on the nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). “Guidance” can take several forms: OSEP’s correspondence in response to questions received from the field; policy documents and letters on priority issues; State determination letters; and non-regulatory guidance. All are intended to clarify elements of...
Description: In drafting the provisions of IDEA, our nation’s special education law, Congress clearly contemplated that, at times, there would be disagreements between parents of children with disabilities and the school districts providing special education and related services to their children. While it is expected that parents and school personnel will work in partnership to ensure children with disabilities are provided appropriate services, there are times when the child’s parents and...
Description: If you’re looking for information about disabilities in infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities, you’ve come to the right place! The Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) offers information and connections to the full spectrum of disabilities in children, including developmental delays and rare disorders. Use the links below to learn about typical developmental milestones in childhood, specific disabilities and disorders, and the...
Description: Since the 1960s, there has been a virtual avalanche of federal legislation that relates directly or indirectly to individuals with disabilities, particularly children and youth. These form the core of current protection against discrimination and current guarantees of equal educational opportunity that individuals with disabilities have in our nation.
Description: Welcome to the alphabet soup of special education! The disability community is full of acronyms that people constantly use in writing and in conversation, and it’s important to know what those acronyms stand for. Acronyms are used in order to abbreviate names or phrases. The CPIR is pleased to provide this list of special education and disability-related acronyms, and hope it helps our readers quickly connect with the meaning of pivotal acronyms in the field.
Description: A critical part of improving developmental and educational results for children with disabilities is using effective practices in early intervention, wherever services are being provided—an agency setting, the home, and across the child’s natural environment. An impressive knowledge base of experience has been built on the delivery of early intervention services.
Description: The Nursing Forms section includes the following: Concussion - Management Flow Chart.docx Concussion - CDC Concussion Checklist (CMT-1) Concussion - Student Concussion Symptom Monitoring Tool (CMT-2) Teacher Notification of Concussion (CMT-3) Concussion - Student Concussion Academic Monitoring Tool (CMT-4) CMT Recommendations for Ongoing Symptoms (CMT-5) Concussion - Symptoms and Accomodations (CMT-6) Concussion - Report to Teachers.docx  
Description: This guidance document is intended to assist local education agency (LEA) personnel as they work to address the needs of their students who have been identified as, or are suspected to be, students with disabilities in Virginia. (Virginia Department of Education, VDOE, Office of Dispute Resolution and Administrative Services)
Description: El habla y el idioma son las herramientas que los seres humanos usan para comunicar o intercambiar pensamientos, ideas y emociones. El idioma es el conjunto de reglas, compartido por los individuos que se están comunicando, que les permite intercambiar esos pensamientos, ideas o emociones. El habla es la conversación, una de las formas de expresar el idioma. El idioma también puede expresarse mediante la escritura, el lenguaje a señas o los gestos, en el caso de las...
Description: Un Puente Hacia el Futuro, Conocimiento de las Opciones de Transición para Elegir el Tipo de Graduación de Acuerdo a las Habilidades This is a resource guide for families and youth with disabilities in New Mexico. Although the graduation process and state resources are different, there are sections that could be useful for transition planning in Virginia.
Description: This is a resource guide for families and youth with disabilities in New Mexico. Although the graduation process and state resources are different, there are sections that could be useful for transition planning in Virginia.
Description: IDEA was originally enacted by Congress in 1975 to ensure that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education, just like other children. The law has been revised many times over the years. The most recent amendments were passed by Congress in December 2004, with final regulations published in August 2006 (Part B for school-aged children) and in September 2011 (Part C, for babies and toddlers). The law has a long, detailed, and powerful...
Description: The term multiple disabilities is general and broad. From the term, you can’t tell: how many disabilities a child has; which disabilities are involved; or how severe each disability is. Many combinations of disabilities are possible. For example, one child with multiple disabilities may have an intellectual disability and deafness. Another child may have cerebral palsy and autism.
Description: Has a child’s disability recently touched your life? Are you visiting our website today looking for information about that disability? Would you like to find organizations and people that can help address the disability-related questions and concerns you may have? We’re very pleased you’re here, because the CPIR has a great deal of information about disabilities to share. We hope this page will: give you a quick roadmap to the disability world of help that’s available in...
Description: This guidebook presents what you need to know before your child's third birthday. It was developed in Minnesota and is based on federal and state guidelines, but may contain some information that differs from the transition process from Part C to Part B in Virginia.
Description: Guía Informativa de Niñez Temprana en Transición, Lo que usted necesita saber antes del tercer cumpleaños de su niño. It was developed in Minnesota and is based on federal and state guidelines, but may contain some information that differs from the transition process from Part C to Part B in Virginia.
Description: The Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia includes rights and safeguards to protect parents and children. Parents must be informed about these rights and safeguards in the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia so that they can have a leadership role in the services provided to their family. Notice of Child and Family Rights and Safeguards is an official notice of the rights and safeguards of children and families as defined under federal Part C regulations of the Individuals with...
Description: La Ley para la educación de los individuos con discapacidades (IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) es una ley federal que establece la prestación de servicios de intervención temprana para los be bés y niños pequeños (de 0 a 36 meses) con scapacidades y sus familias. Estas disposiciones conforman la Parte C de la IDEA y se articulan en reglamentaciones federale (34 CFR Parte 303) y en el derecho estatal (Código del Estado de...
Description: These resources were compiled by the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC).
Description: Educación Especial Nacional y Estatal
Description: Este libro está escrito para ayudar a las familias a entender el sistema de intervención temprana, así como los derechos y las salvaguardas (o protección) que existen para garantizar que las familias participen en las decisiones que se tomen con relación a los servicios de intervención temprana de sus hijos.
Description: This document was written to help families understand the early intervention system and the rights and safeguards (or protections) that have been put in place to ensure that families are involved in decisions that are being made concerning their child’s early intervention services.
Description: Read This Publication If You Want to Know… How to have your child evaluated (at no cost to you) to see why he or she is having difficulty in school What the evaluation process involves and how you can contribute to it How special education can support your child’s learning, if he or she is found eligible for services How your child’s eligibility is determined and your right to participate in making that decision What happens next, if your child is found eligible...
Description: When a child is having trouble in school, it’s important to find out why. The child may have a disability. By law, schools must provide special help to eligible children with disabilities. This help is called special education and related services. There’s a lot to know about the process by which children are identified as having a disability and in need of special education and related services. This section of CPIR’s website is devoted to helping you learn about that process....
Description: Special education is full of terms that people constantly use in writing and in conversation, and it’s important to know what those terms mean. NICHCY is pleased to provide this handy reference to special education terminology, and hopes it helps our readers quickly connect with the meaning of pivotal words and phrases in the field.
Description: NICHCY was funded for decades by the Office of Special Education Programs, at the U.S. Department of Education. The project’s funding ended on September 30, 2014. Much of the rich library of materials and publications that NICHCY produced over the years has a new home at the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR).
Description: Life is full of transitions, and one of the more remarkable ones occurs when we get ready to leave high school and go out in the world as young adults. When the student has a disability, it's especially helpful to plan ahead for that transition. In fact, IDEA requires it.  
Description: The federal regulations for IDEA 2004 include a section (Subpart E) called Procedural Safeguards. These safeguards are designed to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability and, at the same time, give families and school systems several mechanisms by which to resolve their disputes.