Evaluation & Eligibility for Special Education & Related Services
News & Announcements
Revisions to Regulations Governing Special Education Services for Children with Disabilities in the Commonwealth of Virginia
In 2021, the Virginia General Assembly passed several pieces of legislation that necessitated revisions to the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (8 VAC 20-81-20 et seq.) (the Virginia Regulations). Accordingly, on September 23, 2021, the Virginia Board of Education approved the revisions to be effective November 24, 2021. The required revisions related to Evaluation and Eligibility are summarized as follows:
- The Virginia Regulations were amended to address the right of a parent to an independent educational evaluation at public expense, to remove the word “component” following the word “evaluation.” The change is intended to ensure consistency of the Virginia Regulations with federal guidance.
The text of the revisions are located on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall website. Please note that an updated version of the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (PDF) with the changes incorporated will be forthcoming. Refer to Superintendent’s Memo #330-21 (PDF) for more information.
The Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia address requirements for evaluation and eligibility decision making as well as related services decision making by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.
Educators and families must navigate specific steps in the process required by federal law, Virginia special education regulations, and local policies or procedures. The process for determining whether a student is eligible for special education and related services involves reviewing information and observations about the student, determining the need for additional data, reviewing and interpreting the results of any assessments, and making an eligibility determination.
Documentation of the process is required and school staff must follow all regulations and policies. While the regulations apply to both eligibility and related service decision making, some specific differences between processes required for eligibility for disability identification and decision making for related services exist.
School staff and families should collaborate during the evaluation and eligibility process. It is important to clearly explain procedures and criteria and address parental concerns. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Parent’s Guide to Special Education (PDF) may assist parents in understanding the special education process.
- Evaluation and Eligibility For Special Education and Related Services: Guidance Document (Word)
- Supplemental Guidance for Evaluation and Eligibility in Special Education (PDF) - Includes state sample forms
- A Parent's Guide To Special Education (PDF), also available in Spanish (PDF) – This publication, which was developed by VDOE to help parents understand their rights and responsibilities, their children’s rights, and the responsibilities of schools.
- VDOE Ombudsman for Special Education
- Guidance Document for Implementing New Special Education Requirements for the Definition of Parent (PDF)
- Handbook for ELs with Disabilities
Eligibility and Determining Local Thresholds: Facilitated Discussion Materials
- Interpretive Authority Participant Handout (PDF)
- Interpretative Authority (PPT)
- SLD Team Discussion (PDF)
- Team Processing (Word)
- Team Action Planning (Word)
Evaluation and Eligibility for Young Children
The Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Early Childhood in collaboration with the Office of Special Education Instructional Services, offered a three-part webinar series titled Best Practices for Assessment of Young Children.