An IEP referral can be initiated by the school's student study team (SST), but often there is a direct request for a special education evaluation.
The referral can originate from a parent, teacher or other school personnel. The Individual with Disabilities Education Act, (IDEA), mandates that school districts take on the responsibility to identify, find and evaluate students who live within their boundaries who are suspected of having a disability. This is called child find.
If your child is struggling at school despite interventions, you can refer them for a special education evaluation. An IEP referral should be done in writing and should be dated, signed and copied. Submit your request directly to the school principal, school psychologist or your child's teacher.
Since the IEP process can legally take up to 60 days to complete, the district should provide you with an assessment plan and a copy of your procedural safeguards within 15 days of receiving the referral. If you have questions about your rights, ask them right away.
Parents have 15 days to approve the assessment plan and return the consent form. Without informed parent consent your child cannot be evaluated unless the district uses due process.
REMEMBER…consent is ONLY for the initial evaluation, not to receive special education services. Additional consent must be obtained in order for an IEP to be written and implemented.
The next step in the IEP Process is to evaluate your child for ELIGIBILITY.