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Special Education Process

Step 1: Initial Referral for Special Education Services

Students suspected of having a disability are referred to a multidisciplinary team called the Committee on Special Education or the Committee on Preschool Special Education.

Step 2: Individual Evaluation Process

With the consent of the parent/guardian, the Committee arranges for an evaluation of the student's abilities and needs.

Step 3: Determining Eligibility for Special Education Services

Based on evaluation results, the Committee (including the parent/guardian) decides if the student is eligible to receive special education services and programs

Step 4: Individualized Education Program (IEP)

If the child is eligible to receive special education services, with the consent of the parent/guardian, the Committee develops and implements an appropriate IEP, based on evaluation results, to meet the needs of the student. Based on the IEP, the Committee must determine the student's placement, ensuring that services are provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Placement must be as close as possible to the student's home, and unless the student's IEP requires some other arrangement, the student must be educated in the school he or she would have attended if not disabled.

Step 5: Annual Review/Reevaluation

The IEP is reviewed and, if needed, modified or revised by the Committee at least once a year (annual review). The student has a reevaluation at least once every three years, to review the student's need for special education programs and services and to revise the IEP, as appropriate. A reevaluation may also occur when conditions warrant or when requested by a parent or teacher.

The process occurs sequentially with each step building on the previous one. In this way, comprehensive information about the student is obtained and considered. Timelines are in place so that delays are avoided. Parents/guardians and older students are an integral part of this process, and your involvement is encouraged.

From: Special Education in New York State for Children Ages 3–21: A Parent's Guide