Make sure your child is getting special education services

If your child has a developmental delay, or another kind of disability, they should qualify for support services from the school system.

This is called Special Education.

Don't be scared by the term Special Education! It only means that your child will get special services to help them learn in school. It does not mean they are any less smart than others, just that they need some support at this time.

Here's what you can do:

  • Talk to your child's teacher, or the principal at their school.

  • Tell them you are concerned about your child and want to talk about special education services.

  • Ask for an evaluation. This is a series of tests the school can do to see if your child has any kind of delay or learning disability. The school is required by law to give any child a free evaluation (as long as they are 3 or older).

Your child will get an evaluation from the school district to see if they qualify.

  • This must confirm that they have a disability which affects their learning. Even though you may know this is true, the school needs to document it.

  • If your child qualifies for services, you and the school will work together to create a plan that outlines the services your child will get. This is called an Individualized Education Program, or IEP.


See our other Guide to learn about this whole process: How to Access Special Education Services. (It will open in a new tab on your screen.)

Every child has the right to a free public education that meets their unique needs. Its the law.


Sources: Center for Parent Information and Resources, MA DOE