Eligibility, Evaluation and IEP's


According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education Bureau of Special Education, your child may be eligible for Special education if your child: 

  • Has a physical, sensory, mental or emotional disability and
  • Needs special education as determined by an evaluation team.

If determined eligible, your child has a right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  


An evaluation process is used to determine if your child needs special education and, if so, the types of programs and services needed. Your child may be evaluated by: 

  • A school psychologist
  • A speech and language specialist
  • A hearing specialist
  • An occupational or a physical therapist

Before any evaluation can begin, you must give your consent by signing a “Permission to Evaluate” form, provided by the school. This form will list the specific assessment test and procedures used during the evaluation. In addition, you will receive a PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS NOTICE


A student may be referred for the first evaluation in several ways:

  • A parent may ask the school to evaluate your child for special education at any time. Sending a letter to the principal of your child’s school can do this.
  • The school may contact you to ask permission to have your child evaluated.


The Evaluation team will gather information about your child’s skills, social behavior, learning difficulties, learning strengths and educational needs. 

The written report, called the Evaluation Report (ER), will summarize testing results, parent input, teacher input, classroom observations, and information from related service personnel. Then, tells if your child has one or more disabilities and if your child needs special education or it may state that your child is not eligible and does not need special education services. The entire evaluation process must be completed within 60 calendar days from the date the school receives the “Permission to Evaluate” form. If it is determined that your child needs special education services, your child will receive an Individualized Education Program (IEP). 

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

The IEP team consists of:

  • Child’s parent(s)
  • One general education teacher who may not stay for the entire meeting, but must be a team member
  • At lease one special education teacher
  • A school district representative (LEA)
  • Other people who may work with your child
  • Your child, at age 14, or any time before that age when you want your child to be present.
  • A representative from a vocational-technical school if a vocational-technical program is being considered

The parent is an extremely valuable part of the IEP team. Because the parent is crucial to the student’s educational planning, the school will work with the parent to schedule an IEP at a time and place mutually agreed upon by the parent and the school.