Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most commonly asked questions from parents. Feel free to contact us if you still need help.
- If I think my child has a disability, will she automatically qualify for Special Education services?
- How does the referral process start if I think my child might be eligible for Special Education services?
- If my child is referred for assessment, who would assess him?
- What is an IEP?
- If the IEP Team determines that my child requires Special Education services, what kinds of services are available?
- How often will my child’s IEP be revised and updated?
- What is the purpose of the Three Year (Triennial) Review?
- What is the process for dismissing a child from Special Education services?
If I think my child has a disability, will she automatically qualify for Special Education services?
No. In order to receive Special Education services, a student must meet federal and state eligibility standards for one or more of the disabilities listed below and because of that disability, demonstrate a need for special education and related services. Qualifying educational conditions include:
- Emotional Disturbance
- Hard of Hearing
- Visual Impairment
- Multiple Disability
- Other Health Impairment
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Speech and/or Language Impairment
- Mental Retardation
- Specific Learning Disability
- Traumatic Brain Injury
How does the referral process start if I think my child might be eligible for Special Education services?
State law emphasizes that a student is to be referred for special education instruction and services only after the resources of the general education program have been considered and, where appropriate, utilized. In the Chula Vista Elementary School District this “pre-referral” requirement is usually met through the Student Study Team (SST) process.
SSTs are typically composed of parents, a school administrator, the student’s general class teachers, and may also include the school psychologist, speech therapist, and/or resource specialist. During the SST meeting, members review the student’s educational strengths, areas of concern, and previous interventions that have been attempted. Members discuss possible programs and interventions to meet the student’s needs and an action plan is developed. One of the many possible recommendations from the SST may be a referral for a 504 Plan if a handicapping condition exists. If more intense services are needed, the SST may make a direct referral for a special education assessment.
If my child is referred for assessment, who would assess him?
School staff on the assessment team for an initial special education evaluation usually consists of:
- School psychologist
- Special education teacher
- School nurse; and
- Other specialists when appropriate (such as the speech and language pathologist, etc).
In conducting the evaluation, the assessment team gathers information from the parent, school records, the student’s teachers and other school personnel as needed. In addition, the assessment team may consider, when authorized by the parent, information from community agencies and other professionals. As parents, you play an important role in the evaluation process by providing information about the student through interviews and questionnaires. If desired, you can furnish the assessment team with report and evaluations conducted by private agencies and professionals.
What is an IEP?
Federal law (IDEA) specifies that every student who receives special education services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). There are two main parts to the IEP:
- The IEP meeting(s), where parents and school personnel make collaborative decisions about an individualized educational program for a student with a disability; and
- The IEP document itself, that is a written record of the decisions reached at the meeting to guarantee delivery of appropriate services to meet the educational needs of the student.
The IEP document is completed in a meeting of the IEP team. During the development of the IEP, the team considers the:
- Strengths and educational needs of the student;
- Concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of the student;
- and Results of the most recent evaluation(s) of the student.
The IEP document describes the placement, services, supports, and goals that are needed for a comprehensive educational program for your child. Keep your copy of the IEP and refer to it whenever you have questions about your child’s educational program. If you move from the Chula Vista Elementary School District to another school district, provide a copy of the IEP document to the school. This will ensure that services will continue for your child.
If the IEP Team determines that my child requires Special Education services, what kinds of services are available?
If the IEP Team determines that your child will need Special Education services to benefit from his or her educational program, the recommended services may include:
Designated Instructional Services, such as:
- Adapted Physical Education
- Audiological Services
- Health and Nursing Services
- Home/Hospital Instruction
- Orientation and Mobility
- Physical and/or Occupational Therapy
- Speech and Language
- Visually Handicapped services
Resource Specialist Program (RSP)
Special Day Class (SDC)
Alternative Educational Setting
A more detailed description of each of these Special Education services is available in the Parent Handbook, available on this Pupil Instruction and Services website.
How often will my child’s IEP be revised and updated?
Annual Review Requirement
- Federal and state laws require that each student’s entire Individualized Education Program (IEP) be reviewed and updated at least annually.
- In accordance with federal and state laws, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team must conduct a complete review of the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) at least once every three years.
What is the purpose of the Three Year (Triennial) Review?
The triennial review process is designed to determine:
- If the student continues to be a student with a disability;
- If the student continues to need special education related services;
- What the student’s present levels of educational performance and educational needs are; Whether or not additions or changes need to be made to the special education and related services the student is receiving, to enable the student to meet IEP goals and participate, as appropriate in the general curriculum; and
- The school psychologist will coordinate the 3-year review process, communicate with parents about assessments, and schedule an IEP meeting to share the results.
What is the process for dismissing a child from Special Education services?
Dismissal from Special Education
One of the primary goals of special education is to assist students with acquiring the skills necessary to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum and school environment. When a student has demonstrated the ability to be successful in the general education environment with little or no special education support, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team may recommend that the student be dismissed from special education. However, prior to a student being dismissed from special education, the IEP team must conduct a re-evaluation. The IEP team must convene and review all available information prior to making the recommendation to dismiss from special education. The process for dismissing a student from special education follows the same basic procedures described for conducting a triennial (3-year) review.