Beginning the Process  

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Beginning the Process

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What if You Have Concerns Regarding Your Child?

A student with a suspected disability who may need special education shall be referred in writing, to an IEP team by the student’s parent or a public agency [20 U.S.C. §1414(a); 34 C.F.R. §300.301(b)]. A public agency shall convene an IEP team meeting to determine if a student in transition from a Local Infants and Toddlers Program (LITP) has a disability or developmental delay that requires the provision of special education and related services. In addition, parents may contact the local school system Child Find office, or call the Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services (DSE/EIS) at 1-855-414-5891.


When making the contact, explain that you suspect your child may have a disability and may need services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. You may request an evaluation to determine if your child is eligible to receive special education and related services.


How is Eligibility for Special Education Determined?

To determine eligibility for special education and related services, an evaluation is conducted. When results of the evaluation indicate that a child has a disability and is in need of special education services, the parents and their child will become involved in the IEP process. Special education law requires the child to be evaluated in all areas of suspected disability.


Evaluation for Special Education

An evaluation is a careful look at a child’s abilities, strengths, and needs by a team comprised of the child’s parents, teachers, and specialists. An evaluation is based on a review of formal and informal assessment data, information from parents, observations by teachers, as well as classroom-based, local, and State assessment information. Based on the evaluation information, the IEP team determines whether a child has a disability and requires specialized instruction and related services. The evaluation also guides the IEP team in developing an IEP for the child and determining the nature and extent of the special education and related services that the child may need. Remember, a child’s disability must have an educational impact that requires specialized instruction. Parents must give consent in writing before the school begins the evaluation process. All decisions about special education are made through the IEP team process.

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Download our brochure on the IEP process and definitions of its terms: Understanding the IEP for Maryland Families.

The IEP Process

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View a team approach to the IEP process.