Once the evaluation is complete, the school team will schedule an eligibility meeting.
Here, the team will discuss the results of the evaluation and decide if your child qualifies for special education.
REMEMBER: As a parent, you are an important member of the team!
What are the possible outcomes?
Your child might qualify for an IEP, an Individualized Education Program. This means they will get special education services, based on their needs according to the evaluation results.
Your child might 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.
Speak up if you don't agree! You know your child best, and you have a right to say what you think.
What happens next?
For a quick explanation, click on the boxes below. But you can learn more in our other Guide on Special Education.
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.
Click here to read more about the process, including how to prepare for the IEP meeting. (It will open part of the Special Ed Guide in a new window. It's a different Guide but looks much like this one. Remember to come back to this window to continue with this Guide!)
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.
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, there are options. See the Special Education Guide to learn more.
How is a 504 plan different from an IEP?
A student who has a 504 plan needs adjustments to the learning environment and maybe some services so they can have equal access to all parts of the school day. They do not meet the requirements for an IEP, which outlines very specific services and goals.
To learn more about 504 plans, click on these links (they'll open in a new tab):
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 this part of the Special Education Guide to see what to do. (It will open part of the Special Ed Guide in a new window. It's a different Guide but looks much like this one. Remember to come back to this window to continue with this Guide!)