What happens after a referral is made?
Once a child has been referred for special education, there are several paths that can be followed. In New Hampshire, within 15 calendar days (this counts weekends, holidays, school vacations, snow days, etc.) from the date a school receives a referral for special education, they must pull together the Individual Education Program (IEP) Team and conduct a meeting. This first meeting with the IEP team is known as the Disposition of Referral. The IEP team includes you, the parent, the Local Education Agency (LEA) Representative, (the person who can commit the resources of the school district to your child’s IEP should they be found eligible) a special education teacher, a regular education teacher, a teacher certified in the area of the suspected disability and others as appropriate. At this meeting, the team will review all available data and information about your child. This includes report cards, any standardized tests that your child may have taken any testing you may have had done outside of the school, as well as parent and teacher input. Then, the IEP team will decide what the next steps are. There are several options:
Evaluation – The IEP team feels they do not have enough information and need to do an evaluation to determine if your child has an educational disability and qualifies for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), or if they have a disability that affects one or more of their major life functions and qualifies for a 504 plan. Click for more information on evaluation.
The IEP team feels that they have enough information and have determined that your child is eligible for special education services. Click for more information on special education eligibility.
Your child is eligible under Section 504. The IEP team agrees your child has a disability, but feels it does not adversely affect their educational performance. However, the team determines they are eligible for services under of the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act because the disability does affect one or more of their life functions, which includes learning. Click for more information on Section 504.
The IEP team feels that your child does not have an educational disability or a disability that affects one or more of their life functions. They feel that the concerns raised in the referral can be addressed with existing resources available to all children such as Early Intervening Services or Response to Intervention.
Regardless of the decision, the IEP team must give you Written Prior Notice (WPN) of that decision. WPN ensures that you as the parent are able to make an informed decision about your child’s education. WPN is required to have 7 pieces:
- What was proposed or refused
- Reasons why
- Options considered
- Documents based on
- Reasons why it was rejected
- Other factors
- Copy of Parental Rights were given to parent