The eligibility meeting: find out if your child qualifies

Once the evaluation is done, the school team should contact you to schedule an eligibility meeting.

Here, the team will discuss the results and decide if your child qualifies for special education.They are required to hold this meeting within 45 school days after you give your consent for the evaluation.

REMEMBER: As a parent, you are an important member of the team!

What are the possible outcomes?

  • Your child may qualify for an IEP: This means they will get special education services, based on their needs according to the evaluation results. If your child qualifies, you will create the IEP at the eligibility meeting.

  • Your child may qualify for a different type of service called a 504 Plan.This gives your child accommodations, or adjustments in the classroom to help them learn.

  • The results of the evaluation show that your child does not need special services. If this happens, you can disagree. (We'll tell you what to do in the next section.)


Text in infographic: Speak up if you disagree. You know your child best, and you have a right to say what you think. You are an equal member of the team!

What happens next?

We will walk you through your next steps, depending on the outcome. But for a quick explanation, click on the boxes below:


Great! The IEP will help your child get the best education possible.

The next step is having the IEP meeting and making sure that the IEP document has the right goals for your child and the right supports to meet those goals.

See the section about the IEP Process to learn more!

Some students with disabilities can succeed in school without the special services from an IEP, but still need some kind of support or accommodation.

Here's what you can do:

  • Learn about 504 plans and how they compare with an IEP. (See the section about 504 plans in the menu.)

  • Think about the services the school is suggesting for your child. Decide if this is enough or if you want to push for getting an IEP.

  • If you agree, the school will tell you what happens next. If you don't agree, see the next page in the menu.

To learn more, see the section about 504 Plans in the menu on the left.


Sources: Casey Family Programs, Understood

If your child does not qualify, the school can help you find other support that you may need.

You may agree with their decision, or you may not.

Here's what you can do:

  • Ask questions at the eligibility meeting. Make sure you understand why they made this decision. Ask what other services your child could still get.

  • Talk to your child's teacher and others at your child's school and see what they think.

  • Talk to your child if possible and see what they think. Do they feel they can succeed in their classroom without extra help?

  • Decide if you agree. If not, see the next screen to see what to do.

Sources: MA DESE, Casey Family Programs, Understood