The 10 Basic Steps in Special Education
Children can have all sorts of difficulties growing up. Sometimes problems are obvious right from the start; and sometimes they don't appear until a child is in school. Some children have trouble learning to read or write. Others have a hard time remembering new information. Still others may have trouble with their behavior. For some children, growing up can be very hard to do!
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 NICHCY's website is devoted to helping you learn about that process.
This brief overview is an excellent place to start. Here, we've distilled the process into 10 basic steps. Once you have the big picture of the process, it's easier to understand the many details under each step. We've indicated throughout this overview where, on our site, you can connect with that more detailed information.
Step 1. Child is identified as possibly needing special education and related services.
There are two primary ways in which children are identified as possibly needing special education and related services: the system known as Child Find (which operates in each state), and by referral of a parent or school personnel.
Child Find. Each state is required by IDEA to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities in the state who need special education and related services. To do so, states conduct what are known as Child Find activities.
When a child is identified by Child Find as possibly having a disability and as needing special education, parents may be asked for permission to evaluate their child. Parents can also call the Child Find office and ask that their child be evaluated.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Dissemination Center.
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