School-based evaluations, educational, and therapy services are available at no charge for eligible children ages 3 years and older. Contact the special education director in your school district for more information about Child Find and access to these services.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that makes available a FREE appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible children with disabilities and ensures special education and related services to those children. Infants and toddlers, from birth through to age 3 years, with disabilities and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. In Oklahoma, these services are provided by SoonerStart.
Children and youth ages 3 through 21 may be eligible for special education and related services for the purpose of achieving independent living skills, increasing career opportunities, accessing post-secondary education, and community participation. The first step for any child to receive special education services is an evaluation to determine eligibility. In an email, contact the special education department director of the school district in which you reside to request an evaluation. A special education evaluation will show if a child has a disability and needs specialized instruction and support. Parents must give informed consent for this evaluation to take place at school. An evaluation for special education will show a child’s strengths and challenges. The evaluation scores should show the specific areas your child struggles with. Having the evaluation information allows the IEP team to provide individualized instruction and supports your child needs. The school team will use the results of your child’s evaluation testing to design an individualized education plan if your child is eligible for services.
The term “Special Education” means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique needs of the student, including providing access to the general education curriculum. If your child's evaluation determines that your child is eligible for special education and related services, an IEP will be developed by a group of professionals at school. Parents are a part of the child’s IEP team and must be involved in the development of the IEP. The special education, related services, and placement decisions must be made based on data and needs, not on the category of disability. The IEP should be revised at least annually by the team to determine current needs to be addressed.
The IEP Team must consist of parents, a special education teacher, a general education teacher, and a school administrator. Other participants who could be included are the qualified examiner, related service providers such as an OT, PT, and/or SLP, other persons at the request of the parent, and other school staff such as transportation personnel. The student must be invited to attend beginning in the 9th grade or at age 16. It is important to keep the focus of the team on the student and their individual needs and strengths.
Each part of the IEP document has a specific purpose in documenting the supports and services to be provided by the school.
Objective Statement - describes in detail the student's strengths and needs, social-emotional skills, behavioral and functional concerns, and interests as well as other demographic data about the student. Answers the question "How is the child doing in school?"
Current Assessment Data - how the student is performing with academic skills.
Special Factors - document consideration of English proficiency, behavior, vision, hearing, or communication concerns.
Parent Concerns - information from parents about concerns they have or issues they would like to address with the IEP Team.
Goals and Objectives - the specific targets which the IEP team plans to help the student learn or accomplish within the IEP year.
Services and Related Services - details the amount of services, location of services, and the school staff that will provide the services.
Supplementary Aids and Services - aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings.
Accommodations & Modifications - an accommodation is a change that helps a student overcome or work around the disability. A modification is a change in what is being taught to or expected from the student.
Signatures - documents agreement or disagreement to the proposed document by each team member at the meeting.
Written Notice - a document provided to the parent after the meeting to review all proposals considered during the meeting.
The IEP must contain a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child. Related services help children with disabilities benefit from their special education by providing extra help and support in needed areas, such as speaking or moving. Related services can include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
Speech-language pathology (SLP) services
Physical therapy (PT)
Occupational therapy (OT)
Counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling
Orientation and mobility services
School health services and school nurse services
Parent counseling and training
Please call or email the Oklahoma Autism Network if you need additional assistance.