(2021, July) | Useful to Parent Centers, schools, and families of children who have or are suspected of having a specific learning disability

This guide (available in English and Spanish) comes from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and offers guidance to schools and families as to evaluating children for disability and especially for a learning disability. As NCLD explains in its introduction:

The COVID-related school closures have stressed families, caregivers, schools, and children. School disruptions have resulted in instructional loss for the vast majority of children. Children with disabilities and those who are suspected to have disabilities face unique challenges. For those with previously identified disabilities, it may have been harder to receive specially designed instruction or related services during the pandemic due to the virtual and remote nature of learning. Additionally, reevaluations and updates to students’ IEPs based on their changing and growing needs may have been difficult to manage remotely and with social distancing requirements. For students struggling during the pandemic (in light of instructional loss, stress, and disruptions) and suspected to have a disability, it may be more difficult for educators and caregivers to evaluate whether learning challenges are caused by COVID-related difficulties or a disability.

If your child has already been identified as having a disability and has an IEP, you may be wondering how to make sure the IEP meets current needs. Or you may have questions about the reevaluation process and procedures due to the pandemic. If your child is struggling and you suspect a disability, you may have questions about how the school will evaluate and make their determination. And any caregiver may also be wondering how schools will get students back on track by providing high-quality instruction and evidence-based interventions to make up for lost instruction over the last year.

To help districts navigate these complex challenges, NCLD has developed the Parent and Caregiver Guide to Special Education Evaluations (available in English and Spanish) as well as 3 briefs to inform state and district policies and practices. It’s also developed a primer on parent rights and ways to advocate to help parents and caregivers understand their rights and ways to engage in the special education process.

Accessing These Resources

Access the Parent and Caregiver Guide to Special Education Evaluations (available in English and Spanish) at:

To access the accompanying briefs:

Brief 1 | State and District Obligations to Locate, Evaluate, and Serve Children With Disabilities

Brief 2 | Creating an Inclusive Environment to Provide Adequate Instruction, Behavioral Supports, and Emotional Supports for All Children

Brief 3 | Effectively Managing Special Education Evaluations


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