Diverse Learners

Special Education Supports and Services


Special Education Process

My student is still having difficulty, what next?

Unless a disability is clearly suspected, special education evaluations will be triggered when students exhibit little to no progress in an area of concern even after receiving interventions.

Step 1: Referral & Consent for Special Education Evaluation

Referrals may be initiated by:

  • School personnel (including teachers, counselors, administrators, etc.)
  • Child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s).

The child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must provide informed written consent for the evaluation to proceed.

Step 2: Special Education Evaluation

An evaluation* is to be conducted by a multidisciplinary team that will consist of individuals who can bring different perspectives and expertise to the evaluation. Some examples of team members include:

  • School psychologists, who are qualified to conduct all types of educational assessments, including intelligence (IQ), achievement, and behavior
  • Special and general educators
  • Related service providers (e.g., physical therapist, occupational therapist, audiologist, orientation and mobility specialist)

* The evaluation materials and procedures must be administered in the language and form most likely to provide accurate information on what the child knows and can do.

Step 3: Eligibility

IDEA states that each child is entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Within 60 school days of receiving consent for the evaluation, the individuals that took part in the process thus far will meet to determine eligibility. In simple terms, a student is considered eligible for special education services if:

  • The child has a disability as defined by IDEA, which negatively impacts his/her educational performance; and
  • The child needs special education services in order to benefit from education

Step 4: IEP Consent and Implementation

Before the special education services can begin, the parent must provide informed written consent to allow the district to proceed with special education and related services. The services may begin no sooner than 10 days after the parent consents, unless the parent gives permission for it to start sooner.

Have Questions?

Complete and submit this form to request assistance and support for your child regarding special education.

Contact Information

Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services

42 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: 773-553-1800
Fax: 773-553-1801
Email: odlss@cps.edu

School Assignment Services
Phone: 773-553-1847

Student Transportation
Phone: 773-553-2860

Nursing Information
Phone: 773-553-4589

Page Last Modified on Monday, November 19, 2018