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   The Special Education Process





This guide explains each step in the special education process. In each step, learn what happens, who is involved, and the timelines associated. Tips for parents are also included. While it is important to understand the process, it is just as important to communicate effectively and build relationships with school personnel. Be sure to check out the other tools included in this section on collaboration and communication.

We would also recommend that you check out the “2012 IDEA Manual” parent manual that was developed by The Arc of Texas and Disability Rights Texas. This manual is written in parent friendly language and clearly describes the special education process as well as providing sample letters and resources for parents. You can download the manual for free from the Disability Rights Tx or the Arc of Texas websites.

The Special Education Step-by-Step Process:

Step 1: Request
Step 2: Notice of Rights
Step 3: Evaluation
Step 4: ARD/IEP Planning Conference
Step 5 & 6: The ARD/IEP Meeting
Step 7: On-going Assessment and Data Collection
Step 8: Examine Data and Make Recommendations

What Parents Need to Know

  • Parents should receive a copy of the completed evaluation prior to the ARD/IEP Planning Conference so that they may ask questions and receive clarification on issues of the evaluation. Parents should put their request to receive copies of any new evaluation information prior to the ARD/IEP meeting in writing.
  • Many families wrestle with whether or not to include their child with a disability in the special education process. It is important to realize that including the student serves a couple of purposes:
    • Creating a plan for a child should include the wants and needs of that child, and who better to communicate than the child themselves?
    • Involving our children prepares them to advocate for themselves.
    • Consider that even if your child is unable to fully express their wants and needs, their presence for at least part of the meeting helps keep the team’s focus on that child - as an individual.

It is OK to ask how grades are determined and to review the data that documents progress. Since IEP goals should state how progress will be measured and when periodic reports will be made, it is important for parents to follow up with the school and to ensure they understand their child’s progress so that they can make informed decisions at ARD/IEP meetings.

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Texas Project FIRST is an activity of the Texas Continuing Improvement Process (TCIP) under the auspices of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Region 9 Education Service Center, and is focused on helping to fulfill the goals of TEA and the Parent Training Committee

Special Education Information Center: 1-855-SPEDTEX (1-855-773-3839)

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