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What Every Parent Should Know?

You are a critical member of the team.

Know your rights. Understand them—advocate for your child. Parent knowledge leads to parent empowerment which leads to parent involvement. This page begins the journey for you to know the intricate details of the Special Education Process.



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Child Find

Your child is not making progress or failing in school. Under federal law, public schools must look for, find, and evaluate children who need special education. This is called Child Find, and it covers children from birth through age 21. Child Find applies to all children including those who are homeschooled or in private schools, plus kids who are migrants or without homes.


Permission to Evaluate 

Before a child can receive special education and related services for the first time, a full and individual initial evaluation with 60  days 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.



The evaluation must use a variety of assessment tools and strategies. This has been one of the cornerstones of IDEA’s evaluation requirements from its earliest days. Under IDEA, it is inappropriate and unacceptable to base any eligibility decision upon the results of only one procedure. Tests alone will not give a comprehensive picture of how a child performs or what he or she knows or does not know. Only by collecting data through a variety of approaches (e.g., observations, interviews, tests, curriculum-based assessment, and so on) and from a variety of sources (parents, teachers, specialists, child) can an adequate picture be obtained of the child’s strengths and weaknesses. 


Evaluation/IEP Meetings

Prior to the meeting, you should get written notice of your meeting (this is often called prior written notice). It should list the people or the positions of people who are invited to it.

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