special education toolbox

Virginia Department of Education, Special Education Main Page

ten steps to special education

Children may be found eligible for special education services under the following categories:


step one: Child is identified as possibly needing special education services

Child Find: Each state is required by IDEA to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities in the state who need special education and related services. Every locality has a different methods to managing the Child Find process. Contact your local school district for more information on their specific processes.

step five: the iep meeting is scheduled

Before a child can be evaluated for special education services, a parent or guardian must give consent for the evaluation to occur. Once consent is obtained, an evaluation must be conducted within 60 days.

step two: Child is evaluated

Evaluations determine the following:

  • Does the child have a disability that requires the provision of special education and related services?
  • What are the child’s specific educational needs?
  • What special education services and related services, then, are appropriate for addressing those needs?

step three: eligibility for services is decided

The IEP team meets with the purpose of creating the special education plan.

The IEP team includes:

the child's parents or guardians | a special education provider | an educator in the mainstream educational environment | a representative from the school system (generally an administrator) who has knowledge or services available to the child | the child when appropriate | service providers as appropriate | individuals invited by the parents or guardians

Before services may be provided, parental consent must be obtained.

The IEP team meets to review the results of the evaluation. The team determines if the child meets the definition of "a child with a disability" as outlined by IDEA.

step four: the child is found eligible

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If the child is found eligible for special education and related services, an IEP meeting must be held within 30 CALENDAR days.

The school system must provide proper notification to the child's parents or guardian on the date, time and location of the IEP meeting. Parents must be notified of all parties in attendance.

step six: the iep meeting is held and the document is written

Parents or guardians are provided a copy of the IEP. The educational system provides the services described in the IEP to the child.

step seven: the services dictated in the iep are provided

Parents are provided with reports, generally on a quarterly basis, on the progress their child is making on their IEP goals.

step eight: progress on the iep goals is measured and provided to parents

No less than once per year, the IEP is reviewed. All members of the IEP team are invited. New goals and outcomes may be established.

step nine: the iep is reviewed no less than on an annual basis

At least once every three years, the child is reevaluated for continued eligibility for special education services.

step ten: triennial evaluation

Virginia Department of Education, Special Education Main Page

Virginia Department of Education, Special Education Main Page

Virginia Department of Education, Special Education Main Page

Virginia Department of Education, Special Education Main Page

Virginia Department of Education, Special Education Main Page