Sample Letter to Request Evaluation

A Brief Overview Washington State requires special education referrals to be in writing (WAC 392-172A-03005). Anyone with knowledge of a student can write a referral. The state provides a form for making a special education referral, downloadable from a website page titled, Making a Referral for Special Education. The form is not required—any written request Read More

Evaluations Part 1: Where to Start When a Student Needs Special Help at School

A Brief Overview Special Education is provided through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a student with a qualifying disability. The first step is to determine eligibility through evaluation. This article describes that process. Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) is the “special” in special education. The evaluation determines whether SDI is needed to help a student Read More

Evaluations Part 2: Next Steps if the School Says ‘No’

A Brief Overview If the school denies a request for a special education evaluation or does an evaluation and determines a student is ineligible for services, families have options. Read on for information about some possible next steps. When there is a dispute about a district’s evaluation, one option is to request an Independent Educational Read More

IEP Tips: Evaluation, Present Levels, SMART goals

Getting services at school starts with evaluation. Eligible students get an individualized Education Program (IEP), which describes a student’s present levels of performance and how specially designed instruction supports progress toward annual goals. This article provides a quick overview of the basic IEP process and provides tips for family caregivers to get more involved. PAVE Read More

Special Education is a Service, Not a Place

A Brief Overview A student with a disability has the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). General education spaces and curriculum are LRE. Services are generally portable, and special education is delivered to the student to enable access to FAPE within the LRE to the maximum extent Read More

Mental Health Education and Support at School can be Critical

A Brief Overview Alarming statistics indicate the pandemic worsened many behavioral health outcomes for young people. Governor Jay Inslee on March 14, 2021, issued an emergency proclamation declaring children’s mental health to be in crisis. President Joe Biden issued a Fact Sheet about the nation’s mental health crisis on March 1, 2022, as part of his State Read More

Navigating Special Education in Private School

A Brief Overview When a family chooses to enroll their student with disabilities in a private school, they have different rights. Those rights are summarized in this article and further explained by U.S. Department of Education guidance issued in February 2022. School districts are responsible to seek out and evaluate all students suspected of having disabilities Read More

Dyslexia Screening and Interventions: State Requirements and Resources

A Brief Overview Washington passed a law in 2018 requiring schools to screen young children for the indicators of weaknesses associated with dyslexia and support literacy across all grades. The law took effect in the 2021-22 school year. Dyslexia is a Specific Learning Disability. Students with learning disabilities are eligible for an Individualized Education Program Read More

Glossary of Key Terms for Life After High School Planning

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act. Prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all public and private places open to the general public. Adult Services: Programs available to support individuals after they become legal adults at 18. Age of Majority: In Washington, 18. An adult is responsible for educational, vocational, financial, and other decisions unless other Read More