Preview of the Special Ed process

We will go through all of this in detail, but here's a preview.

The process for getting services looks like this:

  1. Contact your school system and ask for a meeting

  2. Get a referral for your child to have an evaluation

  3. The school does an evaluation

  4. Based on the evaluation, you see if your child qualifies(is eligible)for special education

  5. Your child may qualify for an IEP or a 504 Plan. It's possible your child will not qualify for either.

  6. If your child qualifies, you and the school will have a meeting and create the plan together

  7. You'll meet every year to review the IEP or 504 Plan and make sure it is still the best plan

If your child doesn't qualify, you have a right to get another evaluation.We'll tell you what to do later on.

This is a graphic that shows the process just described: Referral, then Evaluation, then an Eligibility decision, then the IEP (or 504 Plan) which you and the school create together, then the Instruction and Services required by the plan, then the Annual Review.


Know that this is a team process. You'll work with specialists from the school district, but you are an important member of the team. You have a say in what happens.

Click the link at the bottom of the page to download a 3-page description. (It will open in a new tab or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.) You can come back and do this later if that's better.


Source: MA DOE