Evaluation & Eligibility for Special Education & Related Services
The Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia address requirements for evaluation and eligibility decision making as well as related services decision making by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.
Educators and families must navigate specific steps in the process required by federal law, Virginia special education regulations, and local policies or procedures. The process for determining whether a student is eligible for special education and related services involves reviewing information and observations about the student, determining the need for additional data, reviewing and interpreting the results of any assessments, and making an eligibility determination.
Documentation of the process is required and school staff must follow all regulations and policies. While the regulations apply to both eligibility and related service decision making, some specific differences between processes required for eligibility for disability identification and decision making for related services exist.
School staff and families should collaborate during the evaluation and eligibility process. It is important to clearly explain procedures and criteria and address parental concerns. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Parent’s Guide to Special Education -This is a PDF document. (PDF) may assist parents in understanding the special education process.
- Guidance on Evaluation and Eligibility for the Special Education Process -This is a Word document. (Word)
- Guidance on Evaluation and Eligibility for the Special Education Process Appendix A (Sample Evaluation and Eligibility Forms) -This is a Word document. (Word)
- Handbook for Educators of Students Who Are English Language Learners with Suspected Disabilities -This is a PDF document. (PDF)
- A Parent's Guide To Special Education -This is a PDF document. (PDF), also available in Spanish -This is a PDF document. (PDF) – This publication, which was developed by VDOE to help parents understand their rights and responsibilities, their children’s rights, and the responsibilities of schools.
- Parent Resource Centers In Local School Divisions
- VDOE Ombudsman for Special Education
- Guidance Document for Implementing New Special Education Requirements for the Definition of Parent (PDF)