Work with the school to understand the results and make a plan

What happens next:

  • Your child will get an evaluation from the school district to see if they qualify. This must confirm that they have a disability that affects their learning. Even though you may know this is true, the school needs to document it.

  • The school district should pay for this evaluation. If you don't agree with the results, you can choose to get a different one (called an IEE).

  • If your child qualifies for special education, 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.

Note: The evaluation may not result in an IEP. There are other ways the school can support your child during the transition period.


The goal is to work in partnership with your child's school district to create a plan that will support their needs as they transition to adulthood.


Here's what you can do:

  • Make sure you understand the results of the evaluation. Ask questions! 

  • Talk to the school district about what kind of supports they can offer based on the results of the evaluation, and on your concerns.

  • Talk to your child's teachers and school counselors about what support they think would help.

  • Encourage your child to speak for their own needs as much as they are able to do this.

  • If you disagree with the evaluation, or with what the school is offering, click on the box below to learn more:


Do you think your child should qualify for more services than the school district is offering? You have many options for what you can do next.

Remember that the IDEA law gives you certain rights. These rights include options for disagreeing with a decision about your child's services or education.

Here's what you can do:

  • Talk to your contact person at the school department and explain why you disagree. Be persistent! If you think your child should qualify for more or different services, then say so!

  • Consider getting another evaluation. If you disagree with the school's results, you can ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation, or IEE. The school system might be able to pay for it. (See the box below for more information.)

  • Get advice from Family TIES of Massachusetts. They are a support organization that gives help to families of children with disabilities. Call 800-905-TIES (8437), or go to the Family TIES Website. (Click on it to open in a new tab on your screen.)

  • Learn about a process called dispute resolutionIt involves getting a special facilitator, asking for mediation, and filing complaints with the school district.

  • You might also consider getting a special education advocate.

See the section in the menu about solving a problem with the school.



Sources: Mass. Department of Education (MA DOE), IDEA