en Español • Print • Share

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 “2016 IDEA Manual” for parents.  The IDEA manual 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.  It also provides 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 Process: Step-by-Step:


Step 1: Request for Evaluation (Referral)

Step 2: Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED)
Step 3: Notice of Rights

Step 4: Parent Consent
Step 5: Evaluation Process
Step 6: ARD/IEP Planning Conference
Step 7: The ARD/IEP Meeting 
Step 8: On-going Assessment and Data Collection
Step 9: Examine Data and Make Recommendations



What Parents Need to Know


There are many tools in addition to this website for you to use to learn more about the special education process:


Legal Framework for the Child Centered Process

  • Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process
  • Notice of Procedural Safeguards


Simple ARD Agenda