How does my child become eligible for
Special Education Services?
A student must receive a complete and comprehensive evaluation to determine if s/he has a disability and is eligible for special education.
Referrals for special education services are made for varying reasons, including a concern that a student may have a disability or knowledge that a student has a diagnosed disability.
Any person in a care giving capacity in relation to the student may make a referral for an evaluation, including:
- A parent
- The student's primary care physician
- A teacher
- An early intervention service provider
No evaluation can be conducted without written consent from the parent/legal guardian. The school district cannot refuse to evaluate a student who has been referred for an evaluation, however the DOE does strongly recommend that the team systematically evaluate general education interventions, and that they be documented, prior to a formal evaluation for special education. The school district must be prepared to use existing evaluative information and to conduct assessments in all areas related to the child's suspected disability.
Special education eligibility is based upon evaluations of all areas related to the suspected disability. To view Massachusetts Department of Education descriptions of the disability categories, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/603cmr28.html?section=02#start
For additional information download the document formerly known as the "Parents Rights Brochure" or go to www.doe.mass.edu/sped and click on IEP Process, Forms and Notices and select "Is Special Education the Right Service? A Technical Assistance Guide."