Eligibility & Referral

  • Determining Eligibility
    If you believe that your child may be in need of special education programs and/or services, an evaluation process to assess your child's needs is available to you at no cost through the school district in which you live# A special education program often involves adapting materials and modifying instruction to better meet your child's specific needs# If you request these services, your child will receive an evaluation from a team of experts trained in assessing children# This team will determine if your child has a disability and, if so, is in need of special education programs and/or services#
     As a parent, you are uniquely qualified to know your child's learning strengths and weaknesses. School professionals will utilize your knowledge in designing a special education program for your child's educational benefit. Your child may be eligible for special education if your child:
    1# Has an intellectual disability, an emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, a hearing impairment, a visual impairment including blindness, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities and
    2) Needs special education as determined by an evaluation by a multidisciplinary team
    Your child must meet both qualifications in order to be eligible for special education. In Pennsylvania, all children eligible for special education have the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
    Before the school district proceeds with an evaluation, it will notify you in writing of the specific types of tests and procedures to be implemented, and your rights throughout this process.  The evaluation process cannot be scheduled until you sign the written notice, indicating that you consent to the proposed evaluation, and return the notice to the school district.
    NOTE: Children with disabilities who are eligible for special education may qualify for accommodations in the general classroom under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The regulations - called Chapter 15 - that apply are different from those for students needing special education - called Chapter 14 - who qualify by meeting the two-part criteria listed above.