The California Department of Education (CDE) website provides useful and current information for administrators, teachers and the families of students with special needs. Below are important links to the CDE website:
Special education services begin when an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, including the parent(s), determine that a child is a "child with a disability" who "requires special education and services". This team meeting is the result of multiple steps that precede it.
First, a child will have been identified as a child with a need, by either the child’s teacher or parent.
At this point, a problem-solving team, including the parent, will convene to discuss the concern(s) and ways to address it. This is referred to by many names, including Student Success Team, Student Study Team, Child Study Team, Student Assessment Team. A meeting can also be more informal, involving a parent and teacher only, for example. The "SST" process is recommended in order to begin and document modifications and accommodations.
One of the many options of a team like this is to gather further information, from recommending eye exams, to academic assessments, to a referral for an assessment to determine eligibility for special education services.
The team or a parent may submit a written referral for assessment to determine eligibility for special education program and services. The school has fifteen (15) days from the date of a written referral to present an assessment plan. If, down the road, a student is assessed for eligibility for special education, the IEP team must be able to document that modifications and accommodations have been attempted and are not adequate for the child’s success, as a condition of eligibility for special education. The school district does have the right to decline to assess, with valid reasons; but, in those rare circumstances, the district must provide you with notice of the decline, and the reasons why.
A representative of the school will contact you to review the proposed assessment plan and secure your signature. The school has sixty (60) days (excluding school breaks of more than five (5) days) from the time of signed parent consent for assessment, to schedule and hold the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting.
An IEP team meeting will be held. The IEP team will determine if the student is eligible for special education programs and services. If the student is eligible, the IEP team will develop goals and objectives and determine appropriate services and placement. We suggest that you make a written request for the assessment results and other information pertinent to the IEP before the IEP meeting. This will give you the opportunity to read carefully all the documents. Services will begin on the date designated in the IEP, after the IEP is signed by you.