Special Education in Kentucky

Five Simple Steps to Get Started

Kentucky State Flag
Kentucky State Flag. Public-domain image courtesy of WPClipart

In Kentucky, 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 Kentucky and making the contacts you'll need.

1. Familiarize yourself with the special-education process in Kentucky with resources on the Kentucky Department of Education site, including "Parent Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) Information" and IEP information for parents and students.

On the Kentucky Legislature site, you can view the Kentucky Administrative Regulations governing special education, including the categories of eligibility, while the parent advocacy group KY-SPIN has a chart comparing IDEA and Kentucky law.

2. In Kentucky, 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 that process by talking with the child's teacher or principal or contacting the district's special-education coordinator. If your child is not yet in school and you're not sure who to contact, the Kentucky Department of Education has an index of school districts where you can find contacts and websites.

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 the Notice of Procedural Safeguards 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 Verywell.com site.

Wondering what an IEP looks like? You can see sample pages and instructions for developing the document in the "Guidance Document for Individualized Education Program (IEP) Development" downloadable from the Department of Education site.

5. During the evaluation and IEP process, and throughout your child's educational career, take advantage of the assistance offered by KY-SPIN (Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network), a parent advocacy organization that offers support and workshops for families of children with special needs. If you ultimately have a dispute with the school about the services your child needs and how they should be delivered, the Dispute Resolution Process page on the Department of Education site can also provide you with guidance.

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