Step #1: Identification
Child is identified as possibly needing special education services and supports. Many times families have a feeling that something is not right with their child and his/her development and/or learning, so they can be referred through a child find screening, or by their family DR, child care provider, or child’s teacher.
Step #2: Eval
Child is evaluated after parental consent is given. The school district (for k-12 grade) or child developmental center (for birth to 5 years) should do the initial evaluation. Families should not have to pay for this on their own unless they disagree with the results and want an Independent Education Evaluation. The IDEA requires that a child be assessed in all areas related to his or her suspected disability.
Step #3: Eligibility is decided
There are 13 categories of disabling conditions and criteria that a child must meet. See Chapter 7 of Wyoming Rules Governing Students with Disabilities for definitions of specific criteria.
Step #4: Child is found to be Eligible for Services
The second piece of being eligible for special education is that, besides having one of the listed category of disabling conditions, the child must have an educational need for extra educational assistance or individualized educational programming.
Step #5: IEP meeting is scheduled
In Wyoming, the eligibility meeting and IEP meeting are often combined into one meeting, unless the child has some significant evaluation reports that take time to review.
Step #6: IEP meeting is held and IEP is written
Parents should be sent a notice of the meeting, and have the right to request a change of time and date if the time is not convenient for you. We suggest calling the school and changing it immediately since it is hard to logistically get the team together. Remember- parents are critical members of the team!
Step #7: Services are provided
Including related services to help children with disabilities benefit from their special education. Related services can include occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language therapy, transportation, and parent counseling and training, as needed, to name a few.
Step #8: Progress is Measured and Reported to Parents
Goals should be measured and measurable. Some questions to ask for this is: How will my child’s progress be measured? When will it be measured? How well does s/he need to do in order to meet the IEP goal (s)? The IEP should state when and how progress is to be monitored and reported periodically.
Step #9: IEP is reviewed and revised, as needed
At least once a year the team should talk about: 1) The progress toward the goals in the current IEP; 2) what new goals should be added for the next year; 3) whether any changes needed to be made to the special education and related services the child receives.
Step #10: Child is reevaluated
Required at least every three years, or more often as needed. Re-evaluations begin with existing evaluation data, including any provided by you, as parents. The team then decides what other additional data is needed to determine if your child is still a “child with a disability” who continues to need special education and related services. If more data is needed, then the school district must do more tests or other evaluation to get more data. Before the school goes out to get additional data, parents must give their signed consent.
For more information, or for answers to your specific questions on the Special Education Process in Wyoming, please contact the Parent Information Center at (307) 684-2277.