Qualifying for Special Education
To qualify for special education services, a child must: have a documented disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and have educational needs that are not able to be met in the general education classroom. To determine if a child has a disability under IDEA, they must first go through the evaluation process. The evaluation process begins when a parent/guardian and/or teacher refers a child for special education services. Once referred, a Review of Existing Data must be completed to determine if the evaluation process should continue. If there is enough data showing signs of a disability, the evaluation process will continue.
The evaluation can be a lengthy process, depending on how many areas a child is being evaluated in. All children being evaluated will go through cognitive (IQ) and academic evaluations. Other areas that they can be tested in if there are concerns include, but are not limited to: speech, language, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavior. All evaluators have 60 days to complete their evaluations. An evaluation report is completed with findings from each individual evaluation the child took part in. Using this information, the multidisciplinary team then decides if the child qualifies for special education services based on the results.