The information on the following pages emphasizes key points, re-iterates answers
to frequently asked questions and explains some of the processes used in Arlington
from a parent’s point of view. You must read the full text of the laws themselves
to be fully informed.
Eligibility for Services
The Massachusetts Laws pertaining to eligibility can be found here.
Does that disability impede effective progress at a rate commensurate with your child’s
unique individual potential (603CMR28.02(17))?
Are they making that progress; academically, socially, and emotionally?
Does the child require specially designed instruction to make that progress or require
a related service or services to access the general curriculum?
Within 30 school days of your consent to evaluate the evaluation(s) must be completed.
Within 45 school working days from the submission of the consent to evaluate the
team must meet to discuss eligibilityand, if eligible an IEP must be written.
You are entitled to a copy of evaluation report(s) within 48 hours of the meeting
but it is your responsibility to request a copy.
All IEP meetings should include at least one member of school staff who knows what
services and resources are available to the school district and has the authority
to commit resources(here meaning personnel that can authorize a service, assessment,
technology, program or anything else that may require the district to spend money)
so that decisions about services can be made at the Team meeting.
The parent(s) or guardian(s);
At least one of your child’s special education teachers and/or providers
At least one of your child’s regular education teachers if the child is or may be
participating in the regular education environment
Other individuals or agencies, invited by the parent or the school district
Someone to interpret the evaluation results and explain what services may be needed
Your child if they are between the ages of 14-22
other people or agencies with special expertise or knowledge of your child.
Click here to see the flowchart used to determine eligibility for special education
If your child is not diagnosed with one of the clearly defined disabilities yet they
fail to make adequate progress in academic areas you should read further about specific
learning disabilities on the MA DESE website here.
When discussing eligibility, academic services are not the only consideration. Do
not lose sight of the fact that one day the student will graduate and become a member
of the community. With that in mind, the ultimate goal of special education and/or
services in school is to insure the student, upon graduation, will be able to function
in society and our community as independently as possible. This requires that thought
be given to services which might be necessary for a student's social and emotional
development; functional skills development; and all non-academic skills required
to prepare the student for further education, employment, and independent living.
Case law, Dracut Public Schools, BSEA No: 08-5330 , supports this contention.
If your child is found eligible for special education services an IEP is written.
If your child is found not eligible you should receive a clear written explanation
for this decisionalong with information about your rights. There is an important
Administrative Advisory from the DESE on this issue that can be found here.
Always feel free to review a denial with PQA or PIRC(See right). Your child may
still receive help, although not special education services, in the form of “504