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Special Education Referrals & Assessments


If you have concerns that your child is struggling in school due to some physical, emotional or intellectual difficulties, what should you do?

Any parent or any person in a caregiving or professional position may refer a child for an initial evaluation for special education services. Once the school district receives a special education referral and assessment, it must send a notice to the parents requesting their consent to conduct the evaluation. Testtaking

Under Massachusetts law, a school district has 30 days to complete the evaluation from the date of parental consent.  The evaluation must assess all areas of the child’s suspected disability, as well as the child’s educational progress and history.  These areas may include:

  • health and development
  • vision and hearing
  • motor abilities
  • language function and academic performance
  • orientation and mobility skills
  • career and vocational abilities
  • social and emotional development and behavior

The school district must use a variety of tools and strategies to conduct the special education referral and assessment, and may not rely on any single test or procedure as the basis for its recommendations and decisions.

Reassessments must occur at least every three years, unless the parent and the district agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary. A reevaluation may occur more often if requested by the parent or a teacher.

Knowledgeable and experienced school lawyers

If you are considering a special education referral and assessment for your child, or if you have questions about the evaluation process, call us. We are available to explain the process so that you will understand all of your child’s rights.