Getting Services 101

Getting special education services can be quite a process, especially if you are unfamiliar with it!  Use our step-by-step guide to understand your rights as a parent.  This guide is simplified for ease of internet perusing, however feel free to email for a more detailed description of the process.

FIRST - If you think your child may need additional support in school to fully access their education, write a letter to the school requesting an assessment of your student.

        The school has 15 days (not counting summer, breaks, or weekends/holidays) to respond to your request.  They

        should respond by sending or giving you an assessment plan.

THEN - Consider this plan.  If you agree to it, sign and return it to the school.

        The school has 60 days (not counting summer, breaks, or weekends/holidays) to complete the assessment and  

        schedule an individualized education plan (IEP) meeting.

FINALLY - If you, as the parents, agree with the IEP that was developed, sign it.  The school is then responsible for implementing the services and helping your student achieve the goals they describe in the IEP documents.  From there, an annual IEP meeting will be held to review your child's progress toward their goals.  Every 3 years, your student should be re-evaluated, and a corresponding IEP meeting should be held.

If you, as the parents, do not agree with the IEP that was developed, do not sign it.  You can engage in "due process," a way to mediate disputes between families and the school districts.  During this, you can have an independent assessment of your child completed.  For a list of agencies in the Bay Area that conduct independent assessments, please email

A few additional notes -

        - Parents can request an IEP meeting (once an IEP is in place) at any time.

        - Your child has a RIGHT to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).