Special education is instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of children who have disabilities. Special education and related services are provided in public schools at no cost to the parents and can include special instruction in the classroom, at home, in hospitals or institutions, or in other settings. Special education must also help the child learn the information and skills that are taught in the general education curriculum.
If you suspect your child has a disability and needs special education, the first step is to obtain a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation. We recommend that you write the director of special education or the principal of your child’s school. Describe your concerns with your child’s educational performance and request an evaluation under IDEA, to see if a disability is involved.
For sample forms to assist you in making your evaluation request, please review the resources available through the Center for Parent Information & Resources.
Please note that the school may refuse to evaluate your child if it does not agree that your child has a disability or needs special education. If this is the case, the school must let you know this decision in writing, as well as why it has refused. This is called “prior written notice.”
If the school refuses to evaluate your child, ask the school system for information about its special education policies, as well as parent rights to disagree with decisions made by the school system. These materials should describe the steps parents can take to appeal a school system’s decision. The New Mexico Public Education also distributes information about parental rights which can be found here.