qualifying for special education

Qualifying for Special Education: What to Know

When it seems like your child or student really needs some extra help, you may look at the possibility of qualifying for special education. It is a process. Here are some of the steps involved.

qualifying for special education


Prereferral generally starts when a teacher in a general education classroom identifies a student as having difficulties with the curriculum/pace of the class.  The teacher may call upon others like, the school psychologist, other special/general education teachers, school nurses, guidance counselors, or other related service providers, to help them in identifying the child’s problems and see if further evaluation is necessary.


The referral normally takes place when a teacher seeks further assistance in helping the child get an appropriate education.  It includes a formal, written request for the child to obtain a full and formal non-discriminatory evaluation.


The assessment normally includes background information, cultural questions, language proficiency, learning style, and motivational influences.  There are other guidelines sets up to protect the child’s rights.  For example, there must be more than one test and a review of all information provided about the child.


Eligibility is normally defined by a percentage of a delay.  Children can find eligibility for different services that are appropriate for their delay.  Some services available to them may be speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, resource classrooms, special education classrooms, and other school or federally funded programs.


Once eligibility is clarified, an IEP will be put in place.  The IEP is a joint effort of the child’s family, the child, a regular education teacher, a special education teacher, and other providers/individuals that the educators/family feels are important.  The IEP must include statements about the child’s present levels, measurable goals, providers/services, hoe the child will obtain goals, any inclusion for the child, how the child will or will not take assessments for student achievement, and the date that services will be provided.


The Least Restrictive Environment is a rule set up to protect a child’s rights to be educated in a classroom with students that do not have disabilities to the maximum extent, so that those with disabilities experience inclusion in their education.


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