California Special Education Law

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Your Special Needs Child's Legal Rights

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

The IEP contains a written statement describing the child’s present educational performance; annual goals for development; specific services to be used; dates to begin and duration of those services; criteria, schedules; and procedures for evaluating whether those objectives are being met.

How Does It Start?

To begin the IEP process and request special education services for a child, a parent may simply write a letter to a child’s teacher, principal, or the special education administrative office. The letter informs the school about concerns related to the child’s educational process. The letter may also request that the school begin assessments for special education. The school district must provide the parents with an assessment plan within 15 days of receipt of the letter. Parents then have 15 days in which to give consent to any assessments contained in the plan.

What If I Want a New IEP?

If a child is already receiving special education services, a parent can request that a new IEP be scheduled whenever it is needed. The parent simply requests, in writing, that a new IEP be scheduled and the timelines stay in place. The parent may also request that new, additional, or different assessments be done prior to the IEP. An IEP is required to be held at least annually.