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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 151 - 200 of 244
Description: Informal Assessments for Transition Planning, Second Edition, is an assessment resource that school-based personnel can use to determine or confirm transition strengths, preferences, interests, and needs for appropriate Transition Planning in the IEP.(Transition Assessments)
Description: Questions and Answers in Follow up to 2007 Spring/Summer Transition Workshops, Virginia Department of Education and Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia, Updated March 2009
Description: The statement that “knowledge is power” is especially true for parents who want to be effective advocates for their children with disabilities. To make sure parents have the information they need most, PACER conducted a survey, and nearly a thousand people responded. Given a list of choices, parents of children from each age group indicated their top three concerns. This PACER Action Sheet provides a selection of helpful information to address each topic from a variety of national and statewide...
Description: The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) was created in December 2001–the product of the shared vision and unique life experiences of OAR’s seven founders. Led by these parents and grandparents of children and adults on the autism spectrum, OAR set out to use applied science to answer questions that parents, families, individuals with autism, teachers and caregivers confront daily. No other autism organization has this singular focus.
Description: This link includes the conference sessions and downloadable materials from the 8th Annual Special Education Conference (Fairfax County Public Schools). Topics include: transition (post-secondary, preschool), executive functioning, reading (middle and high school), medicaid waivers, online textbooks, ADHD, Apps, depression and suicide prevention, bullying, stress, inclusion, mathematics, dyslexia, mentoring, communication to enhance the IEP Process, Down Syndrome, VA Assessment options, child...
Description: English language learners with disabilities are a growing part of the K-12 school population in the U.S. The available knowledge on how to effectively educate these students, and measure their progress, is small but increasing. However, many educators and families have pressing questions. This Impact issue offers responses to some of those questions by people from around the country who are helping schools meet the needs of this growing student population.
Description: Teachers are recommended to use these materials in small groups as part of ongoing professional development. The webinars are divided into short segments to enable school teams to use the materials flexibly. Part 1: Introduction to English Learners and Principles of Instruction, Part 2: Designing and Implementing Tiered Intervention Programs for English Learners, Part 3: When Students Continue to Struggle Part 4 Overview of Assessment for Special Education Eligibility, Part 5: Assessment of...
Description: CDC has FREE brochures, posters, fact sheets, and more for parents, health care providers, and public health professionals. These include: Hearing Loss Fact Sheet, Decision Guide to Communication Choices, Making a Plan for Your Child as well as Questions You May Want to Ask Your Child's Genetics Team or Medical Professional or Early Interventionists or Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Doctor or Audiologist or Speech Language Pathologist (available in English and Spanish). There is also a Communication...
Description: A 37 minute audio/video overview of special education created to help parents of children with disabilities understand what special education is, how a child might get into special education, how to resolve disagreements, and what role parents play. Developed by PACER Center, it is funded in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education. (Scroll down the Special Education Rights page to find this video. It is available in Hmong, Spanish and Somali.)
Description: Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings depend on good communication between parents and special ed service providers. When parents do not speak English, schools must bring in an interpreter to ensure that team members understand each other and that parents can give informed consent. Even when the team invites an excellent interpreter, however, things can still go wrong. Following are tips on how to conduct effective IEP meetings when an interpreter is involved. These tips are based on...
Description: A Somali-language glossary of special education terms
Description: IA glossary of special education terms in the Hmong language  
Description: New Path: The Support Network for Families in Early Intervention is a program of The Arc of Virginia, designed to help parents navigate the Early Intervention system, from understanding their rights, to building relationships with therapists and doctors. Discovering your child has a developmental delay or disability can be overwhelming. It often transforms notions of what being a parent would be. We are here to guide families on their New Path. (Available in Spanish and French)
Description: The newest AT in Action video, brought to you by FCTD and PACER, introduces Jared, a young man with cerebral palsy who controls his computer using a sip and puff switch. That computer access allows Jared to run a business creating dynamic graphics and websites.
Description: These practice items provide examples of the new content and increased rigor represented by the revised Standards of Learning (SOL) and illustrate the new Technology-Enhanced Item types for the mathematics, reading, science, and writing SOL tests. Technology-Enhanced Items (TEI) require students to indicate their responses in ways other than a multiple-choice format. Please note that the practice items are not intended to be a complete test and are not intended to cover all content for the grade...
Description: Esta guía para padres ha sido elaborada por el Ministerio de Educación de Virginia ("VDOE") a fin de ayudarles a entender sus derechos y obligaciones, los derechos de su hijo y las obligaciones de la escuela para satisfacer las necesidades especiales de su hijo. Esta guía incluye una descripción del proceso de educación especial y lo que se les exige a ustedes y a la escuela durante cada paso de ese proceso. En cada sección se destacan los plazos...
Description: "Your Family's Special Education Rights" identifies key parts of the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004” (IDEA), a federal law governing the education of students with disabilities. IDEA 2004 requires that families be informed of their special education rights, including how families and schools can resolve problems. This document is available in Arabic (PDF), Chinese (PDF), English (PDF), Urdu (PDF), Farsi (PDF), Korean (PDF), Spanish (PDF), and...
Description: From the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, this document helps educators work with students to develop postsecondary goals for the transition component of the IEP, make instructional programming decisions, and include information in the present level of performance related to a student's interests, preferences, and needs in the IEP.
Description: The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center builds positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. Our special focus is children with disabilities. We do this by providing: Services and support for families and professionals; Easy-to-understand, research-based information and training; and Opportunities for strategic partnerships...
Description: For Virginia’s special educations students, diploma options are changing. The Modified Standard diploma is no longer an option for students entering the ninth grade (or younger) in the 2013-2014 school year. If your son or daughter will be a ninth grader (or younger) this fall, and was aiming for a Modified Standard diploma, he or she will now be working toward a Standard diploma. The General Assembly amendment to the Code of Virginia raises expectations for students with disabilities. It...
Description: The Virginia Department of Education has developed a document on transition, “Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Transition to Adulthood,” that includes important information on transition assessment and planning, adult services, postsecondary education, employment, home living skills, and Social Security and benefits planning.
Description: 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 school officials cannot reach consensus on what constitutes a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for an individual child. When such disagreements occur, parents and school districts can turn to IDEA’s procedural safeguards and dispute resolution options.(parent, parents)
Description: A complaint is generally an expression of some disagreement with a procedure or a process regarding special education programs, procedures or services. A formal complaint is considered a request that this division investigate an alleged violation of a right of a parent and/or child with disabilities who is eligible, or believed to be eligible, for certain services based on federal and state laws and regulations governing special education.
Description: The Office of Dispute Resolution and Administrative Services is charged with the responsibility of managing and monitoring a due process hearing system. We provide information to help individuals understand the steps for requesting and managing an impartial due process hearing. This information is not intended as legal advice or as an interpretation of the laws and regulations governing special education in Virginia. The information will, however, help in understanding the implementation of...
Description: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. This law applies to public elementary and secondary schools, among other entities. (parent, parents)
Description: When a child receives special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), he or she must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a written document listing, among other things, the special educational services that the child will receive. The IEP is developed by a team that includes the child's parents and school staff. (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities- NICHCY)
Description: Evaluation is an essential beginning step in the special education process for a child with a disability. Before a child can receive special education and related services for the first time, a full and individual initial evaluation of the child must be conducted to see if the child has a disability and is eligible for special education. Informed parent consent must be obtained before this evaluation may be conducted.
Description: A neutral, impartial, trained mediator may be sought voluntarily by parents and school staff to assist in their negotiations with each other. That assistance to convene and conduct a meeting to clarify issues, focus on the needs of a child, and to explore and evaluate possible solutions in a confidential setting is mediation. Mediators are trained neutrals, skilled in helping people to hear and understand each other and to work jointly to find solutions to difficult issues in special education....
Description: The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) works to increase the nation’s capacity to effectively resolve special education disputes, reducing the use of expensive adversarial processes. CADRE works with state and local education and early intervention systems, parent centers, families and educators to improve programs and results for children with disabilities. CADRE is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs at the US Department of Education to...
Description: SMALL STEPS: A Parent-Infant Education Program for Families Raising Children who are Deaf,Hard-of-Hearing, Blind, Low Vision and DeafBlind...honoring the small steps that promote happy families... FREE services offered through The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind
Description: This NICHCY Disability Fact Sheet 13 contain: Julian’s story, Visual impairments in children, Types of visual impairment, Signs of a visual impairment, How common are visual impairments?, Understanding how children with VIs learn, The help available under IDEA, How IDEA defines visual impairment, Working with the medical community, Adapting the environment, Educational considerations, Tips for teachers, Tips for parents, and Resources or more info.
Description: This Parent Advocacy Brief will help you understand the changes brought about by the ADAAA, how they apply to Section 504, and how these changes may impact children with disabilities, including learning disabilities, as well as other conditions such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), Aspergers Syndrome, diabetes, asthma,and life-threatening food allergies.
Description: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the key federal education law that serves students with LD. Being informed will help you support your child’s learning needs and advocate for his or her success.
Description: This publication was developed to help parents understand their rights and responsibilities, their child's rights and the school's responsibilities to meet the special needs of their child. The guide includes a description of the special education process and what is required of you and the school during each step of that process. Important timelines are highlighted in each section. (Families, family)
Description: The focus of SpecialQuest Birth–Five is on inclusion for children with disabilities ages birth through five (pre-kindergarten) and their families, particularly those in Head Start* along with Child Care, Early Intervention/Part C, Early Childhood Special Education/619, family support, and other related programs. (parent, parents)
Description: The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs to improve state early intervention and early childhood special education service systems, increase the implementation of effective practices, and enhance the outcomes of these programs for young children and their families.
Description: Parents play an important role in the education of their children, especially parents of children who are identified as having disabilities. The law requires that parents and school personnel work together to provide children with appropriate educational services.
Description: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.
Description: This website offers "one-stop-shopping" for links to legislation, Federal Register Notices, Policy Guidance, and Grant Applications for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or ESEA).
Description: The WATI website provides the resource manual for Assessing Student's Needs for Assistive Technology (ASNA): the complete version and by individual chapters. The WATI Student Information Guide Process Forms (AT for Seating, Positioning and Mobility, AT for Communication, AT for Computer Access, AT for Motor Aspects of Writing, AT for Composition of Written Material, AT for Reading, AT for Mathematics, AT for Organization, AT for Recreation and Leisure, AT for Blind / Low Vision, AT for Deaf /...
Description: The mission of GPAT is to improve student achievement, productivity, independence and inclusion by enhancing educator knowledge of assistive technology and increasing student access to appropriate assistive technology devices and services.
Description: Assistive technology enables students with disabilities to access the curriculum, increase independence and participate actively in education and life activities. Thank you for visiting our site today and we hope you find the resources you need to successfully include technology devices and services for your schools.  
Description: The Glossary includes over 200 education- and disability-related terms translated from English to Spanish to ensure that educational terms related to IDEA are translated in a uniform and comprehensible way. (With proper citation, the Glossary can be reproduced in whole or part.)
Description: This is the Individualized Family Service Plan (ISFP) form the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia that was revised 6/2012.
Description: The Virginia Accessible Instructional Materials Center (AIM-VA) renewed the statewide license of Read:OutLoud, an accessible eBook and web reader for students with IEPs or 504 Plans. The AIM-VA Read:OutLoud license is now upgraded to a no-term license (no expiration), meaning that you will be able to use Read:OutLoud (version 6) on a continual basis. There will be no annual renewal fees.
Description: A 20-minute video featuring Alexa Posny, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), highlights some of the major changes to the regulations. These final regulations will help improve services and outcomes for America's infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
Description: This site was created to provide a "one-stop shop" for resources related to Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its implementing regulations, announced on September 6, 2011.
Description: The primary purpose of the DCDT Fact Sheets are to disseminate information to the field related to key topics in secondary transition. Currently, the DCDT Fact Sheets focus on a number of topics, including evidence-based predictors of post-school success for youth with disabilities, transition planning and assessment, transition specialist competencies, and recommendations for research in secondary transition. The Fact Sheets related to the evidence-based predictors have been developed to...
Description: The purpose of this brief (from the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials) is to help families and educators understand the right of all students with disabilities who need accessible instructional materials to receive these materials in a timely manner. This right is based on provisions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as well as in the disability civil rights statutes Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Description: This is a resource, for state legislators, teachers, parents, or others interested in education, that defines and clarifies the definitions of acronyms routinely found in legislative and policy discussions. (parent)