Supports for Students with Disabilities

Services for Students with Disabilities: Special Education and Section 504

Two primary laws that protect the educational rights of students with disabilities: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA") and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Section 504"). For more information on both, see OEO's parent handbook "Protecting the Educational Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Schools" (also available in Español (Spanish)).

About IEPs: A student becomes eligible to receive special education services through a referral and evaluation process. If you suspect that your child has a disability and may need special education services, request in writing that your child be evaluated to determine special education eligibility. This written request is best directed to your school psychologist or your district's special education director.

Every child who has been evaluated and found eligible for special education services must have an Individualized Educational Program (IEP).  The student's IEP team develops the written IEP.  The team consists of educators and the parent(s) or legal guardians of the student. The IEP is tailored to meet the individual needs of the student as identified through the evaluation process.

As a parent, you are a critical member of the IEP team. You may invite individuals who know your child and can provide additional information about his/her strengths and needs to IEP meetings. The IEP team meets at least one time each school year to discuss and revise the student's IEP.

If English is not your first language, and you need an interpreter for IEP meetings, you can let the school psychologist, the special education teacher, or principal know in advance so arrangements can be made for an interpreter.