Boy-in-Wheelchair-with-Siblings

Step 5: Eligibility

What is the eligibility criterion for special education in Connecticut?

To be eligible to receive special education and related services in Connecticut, the child must be found to have one or more of the 13 disabilities specified by federal special education law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).  Additionally, the disability must affect the child’s functional and educational performance and require specialized instruction

How is eligibility for special education determined?

PPT members, including the parents of the child, come together at a PPT meeting to talk about the child’s eligibility for special education.  The team makes the decision based on information gathered during the evaluation.  The team decides if the child meets the definition of a child with a disability, has a disability, if the disability has an adverse effect on educational performance, and if he/she requires specialized instruction.

Are there any special circumstances that may affect eligibility?

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a child may not be found eligible for services if the determining reason for thinking the child is eligible is that:

  • the child has limited English proficiency, or
  • the child has not had appropriate instruction in math or reading

What happens if the child is found eligible?

If the child is found eligible for special education, the PPT team, including the parents, will determine the educational needs of the child and will work together to write an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

What happens if the child is found eligible for special education but the parents do not agree?

If the child is found eligible for special education and related services and the parents disagree with that decision, or if they do not want the child to receive special education and related services, they have the right to refuse consent for such services.   The school may provide a child with special education and related services only if consent is obtained.  Parents may revoke consent at any time.  However, if the parents revoke consent and later change their minds, the evaluation process must be repeated.

What happens if the child is not eligible for special education?

If the PPT team decides that the child is not eligible for special education, the school district must tell the parents of this decision in writing and explain why the child has been found “not eligible.”  Under IDEA, parents must also be given information about what they can do if they disagree with this decision.  Parents have the right to appeal the school district’s decision by filing a complaint with the Connecticut State Department of Education, or initiating mediation or due process.  For information about resolving disagreements, please contact CPAC.

© Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center | Sitemap

CT Web Design by Brown Bear Creative