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Advocacy Tip:  Children’s Rights in Determining Eligibility for Special Education

You have the right to request in writing that your CASA child be evaluated to determine if he or she is eligible for special education and related services. This evaluation is more than just a single test. The school must gather information from you, your child's teacher and others who would be helpful. An assessment of the child must then be conducted in all the areas that may be affected by the suspected disability.

If the public school agrees that your CASA child may have a learning disability and may need special help, the school must evaluate the child at no cost.

Teachers or other professionals can recommend that the child be evaluated, but the school must get CPS’s written consent before any part of the evaluation is started.

If the public school system refuses to give your CASA child an evaluation, they must explain in writing the reasons for refusal, and must also provide information about how you can challenge their decision.

All tests and interviews must be conducted in the child's native language. The evaluation process cannot discriminate against your CASA child because he or she is not a native English speaker, has a disability or is from a different racial or cultural background.

Your CASA child cannot be determined eligible for special education services only because of limited English proficiency or because of lack of instruction in reading or math.

You have the right to be a part of the evaluation team that decides what information is needed to determine whether your child is eligible.

You have the right to a copy of all evaluation reports and paperwork related to the child.

Once CPS consents to the evaluation, it must occur within a specific timeframe established by the school, which varies, or within 60 days if your State had not designated a timeframe prior to July 1, 2005.

Training Questions:
1) List 3 things children have a right to regarding eligibility for special education services.
2) T or F:  A public school can refuse to evaluate a child for special education.
3) T or F:  There’s no specific timeframe to evaluate a child after consent is given.

Source:  National Center for Learning Disabilities

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Elisabeth Reise at