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How do I get accommodations or special education services for my child?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute & Justice Center of Southeastern Massachusetts
Created February, 2022

If you are worried about your child’s academic, social, emotional, or physical development ask the school to test your child. Your child must be “eligible” to get accommodations or special education. They need an evaluation to find out if they are eligible.

Give the school a “request for an evaluation” letter. Give the letter to the Special Ed coordinator at your child’s school or the principal.

The school can only do an evaluation after you sign their ‘consent form.’  After you ask for an evaluation, they will send you the form.

The results of the evaluation should show if your child needs accommodations, or special education services, or both.

If your child is eligible, the school will work with you to write a 504 Plan or an IEP.  The plan describes the accommodations, services, and supports your child will get.

How long does the evaluation process take?

evaluation flowchart

The evaluation process takes 45 school days, about 2 ½ months.

After you ask the school district to evaluate your child, they must give you a “consent form” within 5 school days.

After you fill out and return the consent form they must do the evaluation within 30 school days.

They must hold a team meeting to discuss the evaluation within 15 school days after the tests are done.

They must give you copies of the evaluation report at least 2 days before the team meeting, if you ask for them. It is important to remember to ask the school for copies of the evaluation report.

Your child may get an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan.

The rules for eligibility are different for the 2 plans.

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