Q & A~ The Most Commonly Asked Questions
What should I do if my child is having difficulty learning in school?
a. Contact the teacher to discuss your concerns and provide information that might be helpful;
b. Ask for assistance; and
c. Attend a meeting to help determine if you child is suspected of having a disability.
What if the teacher reports that my child is having difficulty learning in school?
The school district may;
a. Contact you for information;
b. Attempt different strategies for teaching your child and document the results;
c. Use an intervention assistance team to generate additional ideas for teaching your child and make a record of the results; and/or
d. Contact you to participate in a meeting to determine if your child is suspected of having a
At any time you suspect your child has a disability, you may request that your child be evaluated. This request for evaluation is called a “referral.” Evaluation consists of a variety of means to gather information about how your child is developing and how your child learns and functions.
Who can make a referral (request for evaluation)?
If you or someone else thinks your child may have a disability and may need special education and related services, a referral for evaluation may be made by;
a. You, the parent;
b. School staff; or
c. The Ohio Department of Education or another public agency
If you the parent make the referral;
a. You may request that your child be evaluated for a suspected disability either verbally or in writing. It is recommended that your request for an evaluation be in writing so that there is a documentation of when the timelines for the school district’s response began.
If school staff, the Ohio Department of Education or another public agency make the referral;
a. Someone from the school district will contact you.
After the referral is made and before the evaluation begins;
a. You must be given “prior written notice,” within 30 days of the date of referral. Prior written notice tells you that the school district is either proposing to take some action related to the question of your child qualifying for or receiving special education services; or that the school district is refusing to take any action related to this question, and in both cases explain the district’s decision.
b. If the school district suspects your child may have a disability and needs an evaluation, the
district must get your consent in writing to evaluate your child.
c. If you refuse to give your consent for your child to be evaluated, the school district may use
“mediation” or “due process” procedures to receive approval to evaluate your child.
Requirements for a child to be eligible for special education and related services have been established for each of the disabilities recognized in federal and state law.
What is the procedural safeguards notice?
The law requires that a “procedural safeguards notice” be given to parents at certain times. This notice outlines your rights to a free appropriate public education for your child who has a disability and guides you in exercising those rights.
When must the school district provide me with the procedural safeguards notice?
The school district must give you a copy of Whose IDEA Is This? Only one time a year. You must be offered an additional copy in eacho the the following circumstances;
a. Upon first, often called “initial,” referral or your request for evaluation;
b. The first time in a school year when you file a complaint with the Ohio Department of
c. Upon filing your first due process complaint in a school year;
d. Upon a change in your child’s educational location (often called your child’s “placement,”)
because of disciplinary action against your child; and
e. Upon your request.
What is prior written notice?
You should receive information, in writing, within a reasonable time before the school district proposes any action related to your child qualifying for special education services and receiving special education services. You also will receive information in writing when the district refuses to take any action related to your child qualifying for special education services and receiving special education services. This information is called prior written notice.
What does consent mean?
a. You have been fully informed of all information necessary to make a decision about a proposed
activity. This information must be provided in your native language or other mode of communication you use;
b. You understand and agree in writing to the proposed activity. The consent you sign must describe the proposed activity and list any records on your child that will be released. It must also list who will receive these records;
c. You understand that giving your consent is voluntary and that you may revoke your consent at any time; and
d. You understand that if you revoke your consent, that revocation does not overturn an action that occurred after you gave consent but before you withdrew consent.
When must the school district get my written consent?
The school district must make reasonable efforts to get your consent;
a. Before a first evaluation begins;
b. Before special education and related services are provided for the first time;
c. Before a reevaluation begins, if new testing will be done as part of the evaluation; and
d. Before there is a change in location of services. There is an exception: the district is not
required to get your consent if your child is being moved from his or her current location for
The school district must keep a record of its attempts to get your consent.
When you give your consent for a first evaluation of your child, you are not giving your consent for the district to begin providing special education and related services to your child.
What happens if I do not consent to the first evaluation of my child?
The school district must make reasonable efforts to get your consent for a first evaluation to determine whether your “child is a child with a disability.” (“Child is a child with a disability” is legal language that simply means a child has a disability that causes him or her to need special education services in order to learn. Not all children with disabilities need or qualify for special education and related services.)
If you do not give consent for a first evaluation of your child or you do not respond to a request to give consent, the school district may:
a. File a “due process hearing complaint” against you;
b. Request that you come to a mediation hearing with the school district offered by the Ohio
Department of Education. The purpose of the mediation is for the school district and you to
come to agreement on what needs to happen to help your child learn; or
c. Decide not to pursue the evaluation. In this case, the district may consider your child not
eligible for special education and related services.
What is an evaluation?
An evaluation is a process used to gather information that will help determine whether your child is a child with a disability. It also will help determine your child’s educational needs.
The reason for evaluating your child is to:
a. Get a complete picture of your child’s abilities as a starting point for planning educational
services. This includes a picture of how your child is performing academically and how your child is developing;
b. Make recommendations about ways to meet your child’s educational needs; and
c. Determine whether your child needs special education and related services.
Who may ask for a first evaluation to determine if my child is a child with a disability?
You the parent, the Ohio Department of Education or another public agency may ask for a first evaluation to determine if your child is a child with a disability.
Within 30 days of receiving a request for a first evaluation, the school district of residence will either:
a. Get your consent for a first evaluation; or
b. Send you prior written notice saying the school district does not suspect that your child has a
disability and will not be conducting an evaluation.
What is the purpose of a reevaluation?
The purpose of a reevaluation is to determine if your child continues to have a disability and to determine the educational needs of your child.
Information that is gathered will be reviewed and used to decide:
a. If your child continues to need special education and related services; and
b. if any additions or changes are needed to the special education and related services to enable
your child to:
*Meet the measurable annual goals set out in the IEP; and
*Participate in the general education curriculum, when appropriate.
What is an IEP?
An IEP is a written statement for a child with a disability that outlines the educational goals and objectives your child will work on in the coming year. It also outlines the supports and services your child needs to meet the goals stated in the IEP.
Federal and State regulations require that the IEP be developed, reviewed and revised in a meeting of qualified individuals that include you, the parent.