Some of you may know that on top of my blogger and stay at home mom roles I am also a special education advocate. Although I am focusing on my roles at home I still do work with a special education advocate in Southern California and use my training to advocate for my very own Lia. I get many questions from you all regarding how to request services and other areas of special education so I figured why not share the ways to request services!
If you are reading this you suspect your child could benefit from special education services. Maybe you think your child is displaying learning disabilities signs and symptoms or maybe you suspect a speech delay. Either way, great job for seeking out help! Let me help you with this first process.
Write a Request
EVERYTHING IN WRITING! I want you to remember that you want to have a paper trail of everything that gets said to you and promised to you. Emails and written letters are your best friend! So what you do first is write a letter to your child’s school principal or directly to the special education director of your district requesting an assessment. You want to include your child’s name, grade, school attending, and your concerns. I recommend you request a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility in any of the 13 possible areas for special education services or a 504 plan. Let them know you look forward to receiving an assessment plan and response within 15 days from the day the district receives your letter- legally that is their timeline. Make certain you have proof of delivery, either via email, certified letter, fax or a signature on a copy of the letter from the office…remember- paper trail!
The Assessment Plan
After your child’s district receives the letter they will either hold a meeting to discuss our concerns or send back an assessment plan for you to sign. Make sure all areas are checked off for assessment and that all the information on it is correct. Remember- a meeting to discuss your concerns does not replace assessing and only an assessment can determine eligibility. If they are not willing to provide you an assessment send a letter to the director of special ed informing them you are not in agreement to delay the assessment in the areas which you requested testing. Your child will then be assessed. After you sign the assessment plan the district has 60 days to hold a meeting to discuss the assessment results and offer services.
Then…your IEP Meeting
Timelines are very important in Special Ed! Your district has 60 calendar days from the date you signed the assessment plan to hold an IEP meeting to discuss the assessments and offer services. Once you sign the IEP Meeting Notice request (directly on the meeting notice) that any reports or paperwork be given to you 5 days prior to the IEP meeting. I like to ask for documents ahead of time because it gives me the opportunity to review the documents ahead of time. I can write down any questions or concerns before walking into the meeting. Trust me it can get kind of hectic in there.
Feel free to send me an email or dm on Instagram with any questions!