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Common Questions about Special Education Services


    Questions about Special Education Services

    How can I request Special Education Services for my child?

    You can write a letter to your child’s school asking that your child be evaluated for Special Education Services (SES). It is important that you specifically ask that your child be evaluated, and not just ask for SES. To learn more about the process of asking for SES, read How to Ask for Special Education Services for My Child.

    You can use the Do-It-Yourself Letter Requesting Special Education Services tool to ask your child’s school to evaluate your child for a disability.

    What is an IEP?

    An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is an important plan designed to help students with disabilities who qualify for Special Education Services. The school and the student must follow this plan. It sets behavioral and educational goals, and lists programs and services needed to meet those goals.

    To learn more about IEPs, read How to Ask for Special Education Services for My Child.

    What is a 504 Plan?

    A 504 Plan is a plan designed to help students with mild or temporary disabilities. It lists problems the student is having and the accommodations that will be offered to help the student. The plan must be followed by all of the student’s teachers and other school staff.

    To learn more, read 504 Plans in School.

    Why does my child have a 504 Plan instead of an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

    Like children with IEPs, children with 504 Plans can get special accommodations to help them learn. However, there are three main differences between 504 Plans and IEPs:

    1. The students who get them

    2. The services offered to them

    3. The process to decide if a student is eligible

    To learn more, read 504 Plans in School.

    My child’s school evaluated my child and said that he or she does not have a disability. I disagree—what can I do?

    If your child’s school decides that your child does not have a disability, your child will not get Special Education Services. If you disagree with the school’s decision, you can ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). To learn more about IEEs, read Evaluations of Students With Disabilities. You can also ask that your child be reevaluated. Use the Do-It-Yourself Letter Requesting Special Education Services to draft a letter requesting your child be reevaluated.

    You can also ask for a due process hearing or file a complaint with Michigan Department of Education. To learn more, read Due Process Hearings and Education-Related Complaints.

    What is “Child Find”?

    All schools receiving public funding have a duty to identify and evaluate all students in need of Special Education Services. This duty comes from a system known as Child Find. A federal law requires states to make sure this duty is met. To learn more, visit the U.S. Department of Education website’s Child Find section.