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Educational Supports for Children and Youth

Education for Children, Youth and Young Adults with Special Needs

General Information

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif The Basics of Special Education Law: What Parents Need to Know to Get Started
This document explains what special education is, who qualifies, how to go about requesting special education services, what it means to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and what to do if a child is not receiving the services and supports in his/her IEP from his/her school.

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif The Right to Special Education in Pennsylvania: A Guide for Parents and Advocates
This is a comprehensive document that explains the legal rules for special education programs in Pennsylvania for children ages three to 21 years who attend public schools (including charter schools). 

 pdf.gif Pennsylvania Parent Guide to Special Education for School-age Children 
This guide helps parents understand the special education process and how they can advocate for their child/children.  

Education Decision-makers

For information about education decision makers for students with a disability who need special education services, visit the Education Decision Makers page.

Evaluation Process

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif Overview of the Special Education Process 
This is a concise document explaining the process from the initial evaluation to the re-evaluation to a parent’s right to challenge a school district’s decision about the results of the evaluation.

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif Getting an Independent Educational Evaluation
Answers questions including: what is an independent educational evaluation, reasons you might want one, who does them and who pays for them.

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif Sample Letter Requesting an Initial Educational Evaluation 
Link to a form letter that can be filled out and sent to the school to request an initial educational evaluation.

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif Sample Letter Requesting a Re-evaluation 
Link to a form letter that can be filled out and sent to the school to request a re-evaluation of a child that already has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in place.

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif Permission to Evaluate Form 
Link to the form that parents must sign before the school is legally permitted to conduct an educational evaluation on a child.

Individual Education Plans (IEP) and Placement

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif Creating the Individualized Education Plan 
An Education Law Center publication that describes what an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is, who writes it, the steps schools must take to include the child’s parents in the IEP Team meeting, and what should be written in the IEP.

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif Deciding Where the Child Will Receive Services 
An Education Law Center publication that describes what special education services should be provided in the child’s school, how a placement decision (if determined to be necessary to meet the child’s needs) is made, what constitutes the “least restrictive placement” option and what happens after a placement decision is made.

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif Helping Children Who Are Waiting for an Appropriate Placement 
An Education Law Center publication that helps parents and advocates to troubleshoot situations where both the parent/advocate and the school agree that the current placement and/or program does not meet the child’s educational needs AND the child has waited or will wait at least 30 days for the services he/she needs.

Discipline and Children with Special Needs

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif School Discipline for Children with Disabilities 
An Education Law Center publication that discusses what punishments a school in Pennsylvania can impose on a child with a disability and details of the discipline process such as whether the school can report incidents regarding a child with a disability to the police.

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif When a Child with a Disability is Harassed by Other Students
An Education Law Center publication that states when harassment of a child with disability is illegal and what steps a parent or advocate can take on behalf of a student with a disability who is being harassed.

World Wide Web Icon pdf.gif Avoiding Discipline Problems  
An Education Law Center publication that describes how the IEP Team can address behavioral issues that are affecting a child’s success in school and how the law limits the use of restraints by schools on children with disabilities.

Important Contacts

pdf.gif Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health, Bureau of Child & Adolescent MH Services 

 Local Task Force on Right to Education 

Allegheny County - 412-394-5930
City of Pittsburgh - 412-323-3996

 World Wide Web Icon Office of Dispute Resolution Special Education ConsultLine  

World Wide Web Icon Pa. Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) Pittsburgh, administered through the Pa. Department of Education Bureau of Special Education -  412-826-2336.

PDF Icon Pittsburgh Public Schools Social Workers and Guidance Counselors 

pdf.gif Pittsburgh Public Schools Special Education Contacts 

Transition Coordinating Council for children with special education needs:  

Allegheny County - 412-394-5700
City of Pittsburgh - 412-323-3950

Related Resources

World Wide Web Icon ACHIEVA Education Advocates provide information and support to families so that they can effectively advocate for their family members. 412-995-5000

Children and young adults with a diagnosis of intellectual disability

Children and young adults with serious emotional disorders, learning and/or physical disabilities

World Wide Web Icon IDEA focuses specifically on what the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says, what it means, and how implementation is regulated.

World Wide Web Icon The PEAL Center ensures that children, youth, and adults with disabilities and special healthcare needs lead rich, active lives and participate as full members of their schools and communities by providing training, information, and technical assistance based on best practices to individuals, families and all people who support them. 412-281-4404


The Role of Education/Special Education Decision Makers
PowerPoint The Role of Education/Special Education Decision Makers
PDF Icon The Role of Education/Special Education Decision Makers  

An overview of what role a special education/education decision maker plays, who can act in this role, and how to determine if one needs to be appointed to a child in care. The following will be covered:

    • What laws govern education decision makers
    • Role as an education decision maker, who they are, and what they do
    • When does a court or school district appoint an education decision maker

Supporting documents   

Child Welfare Professional Education Screen Sections 7, 8 and 9
PowerPoint Child Welfare Professional Education Screen Sections 7, 8 and 9
PDF Icon Child Welfare Professional Education Screen Sections 7, 8 and 9  

Discusses the need for special education, education evaluations, and the need for accommodations in school. It is also an overview of the laws that govern these actions and why it is so important for the future outcomes of these children.  

  • The law pertaining to special education attendance 
  • The importance of evaluation and how to receive one for your child 
  • Eligibility for special education 
  • The process to receive accommodations in school  

For more related trainings  

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