Who is eligible to receive special education services?
Massachusetts Special Education Law MGL c.71B), and the federal law on which it is based (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)) cover the following disabilities:
- Developmental delay
- Intellectual impairment
- Sensory impairment (hearing, vision, deaf-blind)
- Neurological impairment
- Emotional impairment
- Communication impairment
- Physical impairment
- Health impairment
- Specific learning disability (603 CMR 28.02)
What is an IEP?
Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) contain the specially designed instruction and related services necessary to meet the needs of an eligible child with a disability. They are developed at Team meetings with the input of all team members. When finalized, an IEP becomes a contract between you and the school district about the services that will be provided to your child, and the specific benchmarks that will be used to evaluate your child's progress. Click here to access the IEP Writing Guide prepared by the Department of Education and Federation for Children With Special Needs.
How does the IEP process work?
Parents, professionals or school personnel may
believe that a child needs special education services
and refer them to the school district for evaluation.
Within 5 school days the district must notify the parents
and request permission to evaluate the child.
Within 30 days of parental consent to evaluate the
child, credentialed, trained professionals must perform the evaluation.
Within 45 school days of parent's consent, district
determines eligibility based on its evaluation.
If a child is determined to be eligible for services,
within 45 school days of parental consent, the Team develops an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
After the IEP is drafted, a team meeting is held to
discuss it and determine placement.
Within 30 days of receiving the final IEP, parents consent
to the plan and the placement, accept it in part and re-
quest modifications, or reject it in whole.
Periodic written reports measure the student's progress toward IEP goals (these reports are prepared at least as frequently as those for students who do not receive special services.
At least annually, or whenever changes are needed the team reviews and rewrites the IEP.
At least every 3 years the school re-evaluates the child.
(Source: A Parent's Guide To Special Education, a joint publication of The Federation of Children With Special Needs and The Massachusetts Department of Education.)