Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

Sep 26
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by Doug Goldberg

To request assessment to determine if your child is eligible for special education you should submit a written letter to your child’s school. If your child is preschool age and not enrolled in school yet then direct the letter to the School District’s Special Education Division. Otherwise, address the letter to your School’s Principal and hand deliver asking for a date stamped copy for your records. The written request will trigger specific timelines that the school must follow. The easiest way to remember these timelines is 15 - 15 – 60. 

• The school has 15 days to provide the parents with a written assessment plans after receiving the request for assessment;

• The parents have at least 15 days to sign the assessment plan and give their informed consent; and

• The school has 60 days to conduct the assessment after receiving a signed assessment plan from the parents and hold an IEP meeting to go over the results and determine eligibility.

Please double check these timelines with your State law but generally speaking it will take 90 days from request for assessment until an IEP meeting is held.

In the letter you should briefly describe your parental concerns and why you feel your child is not accessing the school’s curriculum. Remember, the school’s curriculum can also include social/emotional issues as well. Also, request that your child be assessed for both, special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as whether they have a disabling condition under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

When drafting the letter make a point of stating that any general education interventions that the school would like to try should not slow down the timelines established under IDEA. Below is a sample letter:

Sample Letter

Dear Principal

I am writing to request that my son/daughter be tested for special education services under the Individuals with Disability Education Act and any disabling condition under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. (Child’s name) is in 2nd grade and has difficulty understanding what is being taught in class as well as following auditory directions given to him/her by the teacher. My concern is that my child has a learning disability and therefore may require additional assistance in certain areas of the school’s curriculum. In addition to an assessment for a learning disability, I am also requesting that my child be tested in all areas, in order to rule out any other disabilities (child’s name) might have. If the School has any general education intervention programs, such as Response to Intervention or Student Study Teams, this may be done simultaneously with the assessment for special education but should not slow down the mandated time lines for assessments under IDEA.

Thank you for your assistance in the matter, I will be looking forward to receiving my child’s assessment plan from your office within 15 days.



Parent’s Name


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