Every Child is Different
As a parent or guardian you know your child best. Because of this, your ideas, opinions, and input are very important in mapping out the best possible education for him or her. Children learn at different speeds and in different ways. Some children are born with disabilities, and others are identified once they are in preschool or later. If your child learns differently, this does not necessarily mean that he or she has a disability.
If English is not your child’s first language, be sure that his or her language needs are being addressed and are not affecting the decision about whether or not to make a referral for evaluation for special education services. It is not appropriate to refer a student due to language acquisition needs or any other issues related to being an English Language Learner.
If your child is not experiencing success in school there are many supports and interventions that can be tried prior to making a referral for evaluation for special education services. Beginning in September 2012, for students in kindergarten through 4th grade, “Response to Intervention” (RtI) must be demonstrated prior to making a referral. This means that targeted interventions need to be tried in the general education classroom, and progress needs to be monitored, before a referral can be initiated. For example, if your child is struggling with learning how to read, explicit reading strategies must be tried first, prior to making a referral. For more information, please refer to the section Response to Intervention (RtI).
If it is determined that a referral for evaluation should be made, the next steps are outlined in the section, What is a referral.