Your rights and the required timeline

You have certain rights as a parent of a child with disabilities. It's good to know what they are!

  • The school district has to follow rules and regulations that protect students and families.

  • These rules make sure that your child is getting what the law says they can get.

  • The school district also has to follow a required timeline as you go through this process.

Your Rights

The school district is required by federal law to do these things:

  • Give you information in your preferred language

  • Evaluate all children who they suspect might benefit from special education services

  • Send you written notice of upcoming IEP meetings

  • Send you progress reports as often as the school sends progress reports to parents of students without disabilities

  • Stick to a specific timeline when you go through the process

Do you speak a different language? Know your rights! You have a right to get all information in your own language! This means paperwork and meetings. Ask for an interpreter or translatednotices if you need them!


Required Timeline

Remember that the school district is required by law to stick to a timeline.

If you don't hear from them, or get the evaluation or services when you're supposed to, you can call and tell them. This is your right.

Timeline for Referral: School district gets the referral and within 5 school days they must contact you and give you a consent form, and procedural safeguards.

Timeline for Evaluation: You give consent for the evaluation and within 30 school days your child has the evaluation. Within 45 school days they tell you if your child qualifies.


Click on the link at the bottom of the page to download a more detailed timeline. (It will open in a new tab or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.)


Keep records of all your communications with the school. Include emails, letters, phone calls and even conversations. Make sure there’s a date. This can prove what you have asked for, and when. It may help later on if you have to stick up for your rights.

Sources: EOHHS, Family TIES of MA