How to Navigate the Special Education Path

This article, entitled "How to Navigate the Special Education Path" comes from Cathy at bountifulplate.

The special education path consists of the following – identification and referral, evaluation, determination of eligibility, development of an individual education program (IEP), services your child will receive and an annual review of the IEP.

When you find out that your child needs to be in special education, sometimes the path can seem confusing, overwhelming and complicated. Here are some tips to make navigating the steps on that path easier:

  • Teamwork – Remember you and your child’s teachers and other specialists are all on the same team. It’s not us against them. The ultimate goal is helping your child succeed to the best of their ability.

  • Individual Education Program (IEP) – An IEP is an educational program developed for your child that is unique to them. An IEP meeting is typically held once a year and discusses the services your child will receive and sets measurable goals. Being prepared for those meetings is essential.

  • Labels – Don’t be afraid to label your child. It will help you in getting the best services for them.

  • Communication – Stay in touch with all of your child’s teachers and other specialists on a regular basis. Always keep those lines open by phone calls, personal visits and/or e-mails. Positivity and having good relationships is key!!

  • Advocate – You know your child best. Be an active participant and advocate for them. If you have any questions, ask and keep asking until all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction!!

  • Organization – Start a file or notebook for your child as soon as they enter the special education system. Keep all important papers and notes in it.

To read more from Cathy, visit

About the Author...
Cathy B
Cathy is a homemaker, wife and mother to a son with special needs, an adult daughter and stepmom to an adult son.
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