I suspect my child has a disability – now what?

Often times, parents are the first to notice their child is struggling in school or at home, but are unsure what to do. Central Rivers AEA in conjunction with your local school district can help. If you suspect your child has a disability, and is attending a school, contacting the school is the first step. If your child is not attending a school, calling Central Rivers AEA will be the first step. This will start the process for determining if your child may be in need of special education services.

Parents may request an evaluation for special education at any time. This can be done in person or in writing to the school administrator of the student’s attendance center, or as a call to Central Rivers AEA. Once a request is made, the AEA team serving the school building, in conjunction with the local school staff, will examine the information available such as school work, teacher reports, parent reports, and assessment results, to determine if the child is suspected of having a disability. At this point, if the team suspects the child has a disability, a consent for evaluation will be presented to the parent for a signature. This evaluation provides the team permission to work with the child to determine if the child has a disability. If the team does not suspect the child has a disability, a notice will be provided to the parent outlining the information that indicate why a disability is not suspected.

Central Rivers AEA has staff specifically trained to assess concern areas and support you in helping your child grow, develop, and learn. We partner with other agencies within the community as part of the Iowa Early Access system for helping families with young children from birth through age two. If you are concerned about your child’s progress in school or if you think your child has a disability, contacting the school or Central Rivers AEA will assist you in determining the supports your child needs. There are many supports the school and AEA can offer to assist your child. Visit with your teacher, school administrator or Central Rivers AEA about your concerns.


Amy Knupp is the Executive Director of Special Education with Central Rivers Area Education Agency. She can be reached at aknupp@centralriversaea.org.


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