Technical Assistance for Parents and California Community Advisory
Committee's Answers for Parents - Examples include: What to
consider when they say...“She needs to try harder.” What
exactly does try harder mean? How does the teacher know how hard
the child is trying? How does the teacher know when the child
should try even harder? What is the objective measurement for
trying harder? What if the child is trying harder but trying
“wrong”? Will that make things worse? What to consider when
they say...“Let him fail." Once he sees the consequences,
he’ll be motivated to improve.” So how can this possibly make
sense?!! Usually a child is referred for special education or
Section 504 because they have been failing. They have failed more
than once. In fact, it is usually a succession of failures. So is
it really an issue of motivation? Or is it a lack of appropriate
specially designed instruction? What is the school’s definition of
specially designed instruction? Let’s hope it’s not “let him
Why Methodology Belongs in your Child's IEP - "This article
outlines the regulations which permit parents to discuss
methodology at an IEP meeting. I thought there was a need to
compile all the different authorities regarding methodology into a
single framework, with appropriate references to legal authority.
Although originally directed to Illinois law, this article can
apply in any State covered by IDEA."
COACH training site, University of Vermont Affiliated Programs
- Choosing Outcomes and Accommodations for Children, a
step-by-step IEP process starting with parents' vision for their
Roadmap To Success (PDF): An excellent, step-by-step
explanation of what an IEP should cover to be effective.
Planning is The Key To Success -
What do you want your child to achieve this year? What are your
long-range goals for your child? What do you want your child to be
able to do when he or she leaves the public school system? What
steps do you need to take to help your child meet these goals?
S.M.A.R.T. IEPs for 2002...and
My Child Have a Constitutional Right to Special Education?"
Harassment - Reminder of
Responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
How a Student Is
Identified as Having a Disability and Needing Special Education
What should happen when a child needs help
The writing of each student’s IEP takes place within the larger
picture of the special education process under IDEA. Before taking a
detailed look at the IEP, it may be helpful to look briefly at how a
student is identified as having a disability and needing special
education and related services and, thus, an IEP.
Step 1. Child is identified as
possibly needing special education and related services.
"Child Find." The state must identify, locate, and evaluate all
children with disabilities in the state who need special education and
related services. To do so, states conduct "Child Find" activities. A
child may be identified by "Child Find," and parents may be asked if
the "Child Find" system can evaluate their child. Parents can also
call the "Child Find" system and ask that their child be evaluated
or Referral or request for evaluation. A school professional may ask
that a child be evaluated to see if he or she has a disability.
Parents may also contact the child’s teacher or other school
professional to ask that their child be evaluated. This request may be
verbal or in writing. Parental consent is needed before the child may
be evaluated. Evaluation needs to be completed within a reasonable
time after the parent gives consent.
Step 2. Child is evaluated.
The evaluation must assess the child in all areas related to the
child’s suspected disability. The evaluation results will be used to
decide the child’s eligibility for special education and related
services and to make decisions about an appropriate educational
program for the child. If the parents disagree with the evaluation,
they have the right to take their child for an Independent Educational
Evaluation (IEE). They can ask that the school system pay for this IEE.
Step 3. Eligibility is decided.
A group of qualified professionals and the parents look at the child’s
evaluation results. Together, they decide if the child is a "child
with a disability," as defined by IDEA. Parents may ask for a hearing
to challenge the eligibility decision.
Step 4. Child is found eligible for
If the child is found to be a "child with a disability," as defined by
IDEA, he or she is eligible for special education and related
services. Within 30 calendar days after a child is determined
eligible, the IEP team must meet to write an IEP for the child.
Step 5. IEP meeting is scheduled.
The school system schedules and conducts the IEP meeting. School
contact the participants, including the parents;
notify parents early enough to make sure they have an
opportunity to attend;
schedule the meeting at a time and place agreeable to parents
and the school;
tell the parents the purpose, time, and location of the meeting;
tell the parents who will be attending; and
tell the parents that they may invite people to the meeting who
have knowledge or special expertise about the child.
Step 6. IEP meeting is held and the
IEP is written.
The IEP team gathers to talk about the child’s needs and write the
student’s IEP. Parents and the student (when appropriate) are part of
the team. If the child’s placement is decided by a different group,
the parents must be part of that group as well.
Before the school system may provide special education and related
services to the child for the first time, the parents must give
consent. The child begins to receive services as soon as possible
after the meeting.
If the parents do not agree with the IEP and placement, they may
discuss their concerns with other members of the IEP team and try to
work out an agreement. If they still disagree, parents can ask for
mediation, or the school may offer mediation. Parents may file a
complaint with the state education agency and may request a due
process hearing, at which time mediation must be available.
Click here for a brief on professional personnel in attendance at the
Step 7. Services are provided.
The school makes sure that the child’s IEP is being carried out as it
was written. Parents are given a copy of the IEP. Each of the child’s
teachers and service providers has access to the IEP and knows his or
her specific responsibilities for carrying out the IEP. This includes
the accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided
to the child, in keeping with the IEP.
Step 8. Progress is measured and
reported to parents.
The child’s progress toward the annual goals is measured, as stated in
the IEP. His or her parents are regularly informed of their child’s
progress and whether that progress is enough for the child to achieve
the goals by the end of the year. These progress reports must be given
to parents at least as often as parents are informed of their
nondisabled children’s progress.
Step 9. IEP is reviewed.
The child’s IEP is reviewed by the IEP team at least once a year, or
more often if the parents or school ask for a review. If necessary,
the IEP is revised. Parents, as team members, must be invited to
attend these meetings. Parents can make suggestions for changes, can
agree or disagree with the IEP goals, and agree or disagree with the
If parents do not agree with the IEP and placement, they may
discuss their concerns with other members of the IEP team and try to
work out an agreement. There are several options, including additional
testing, an independent evaluation, or asking for mediation (if
available) or a due process hearing. They may also file a complaint
with the state education agency.
Step 10. Child is reevaluated.
At least every three years the child must be reevaluated. This
evaluation is often called a "triennial." Its purpose is to find out
if the child continues to be a "child with a disability," as defined
by IDEA, and what the child’s educational needs are. However, the
child must be reevaluated more often if conditions warrant or if the
child’s parent or teacher asks for a new evaluation.
US Department of Education