In Nevada, children three years of age and older who need significant modifications in their educational programs may be eligible for special-education services through their school district. These five steps can help you get started in finding information about the special-education process in Nevada and making the contacts you'll need.
1. Familiarize yourself with the special-education process in Nevada with the booklet "Special Education: What Do I Need to Know?" from the Nevada PEP parent advocacy organization, "Parent Handbook to Understand Special Education" from the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC), and resources on the Nevada Department of Education site, including a booklet on Response to Intervention and a listing of the Nevada Administrative Code as it applies to special education.
2. In Nevada, the process of referring a child from birth through high school for special services is called Child Find. Schools have the responsibility to identify students in need of special-education services, and parents can initiate a request by talking to a teacher or administrator. If your child is not yet in school and you're not sure who to contact, you can use the listing of school-district websites and contact information on the Nevada Department of Education site, visit the site for your district, and look for information about special services or district contact information.
3. After the referral is made, your child will be evaluated to determine whether he or she is eligible for special-education services. Download a copy of "Special Education Rights of Parents and Children" to understand your rights throughout the process.
4. If your child is found eligible for special-education services, the school will plan an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child. Learn more about IEPs and other special-education terms and offerings from the Special-Education FAQ on this About.com site, as well as downloads from the Nevada Department of Education on IEP Guidelines and IEP Modifications, Accommodations, and Supports. Wondering what an IEP looks like? Download a sample form from the Department of Education site.
5. If you ultimately have a dispute with the school about the services your child needs and how they should be delivered, the Department of Education site offers downloads on due process, including a complaint form and due process request form and information on timelines and procedures. During the evaluation and IEP process, and throughout your child's educational career, take advantage of the assistance offered by the Nevada PEP, which offers support and workshops for families of children with special needs.