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Special Education Guidance


In carrying out its responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act (IDEA, 2004) and the Iowa Administrative Rules of Special Education, the Special Education Division carries out child find and evaluation activities in accordance with the Area Education Agencies Special Education Procedures Manual, and provides support and related services to eligible individuals as determined by Individual Education Plan (IEP) teams.

students with special needs in classroom

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For more information, please contact a member of your district navigator team or refer to our Specialized Service Team Directory.

Child Find

Special Education Child Find Process brochure cover


The Statewide Family & Educator Partnership developed a booklet to increase families' understanding of the Child Find Process in Iowa. The booklet may also be a useful tool for general education teachers and school counselors, as it gives an overview of the entire process. It is intended to be a resource only, and does not replace the Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents.

Educators may request printed copies from Keystone Core Team Members or download a digital copy of the booklet from this link



Child Find, the process by which students with disabilities are located, evaluated, and identified as needing special education services, is the responsibility of Iowa’s Area Education Agencies and is implemented consistently across the state through common standards and procedures.

The information below provides additional information about the adopted procedures, eligibility standards, and common misunderstandings, misinformation, and miscommunications encountered by parents and educators.

Produced as a collaborative project among Iowa’s AEA Directors of Special Education, the ASK Resource Center, and Disability Rights Iowa, this series of four brief videos clarify some of the more frequently encountered misunderstandings  about the state’s child find, evaluation, and eligibility determination procedures.

Videos are available to address the following areas of primary concern:

  1. Suspicion of Disability Video Clarifies conditions under which a disability might be suspected and addresses common misunderstandings.  After viewing the video, please complete the survey below.  Transcript of Video
  2. Predetermination of Disability  Considers decisions made about suspicion of disability or eligibility for special education services before considering available information, obtaining parental consent, or conducting complete evaluations. After viewing the video, please complete the survey below.  Transcript of Video 
  3. Consent for Full and Individual Initial Evaluation  Addresses misunderstandings and miscommunication related to informed parental consent for evaluation. After viewing the video, please complete the survey below. Transcript of Video 
  4. Evaluation and Eligibility Determination  Clarifies some common misinformation and misunderstanding about how students are evaluated and determined eligible for special education and related services. After viewing the video, please complete the survey below. Transcript of Video 


Glossary of Terms

A glossary of the special education terms used in these materials is available here.

Parents, Principals, Superintendents, General Education and Special Education Teachers, and AEA Staff will find these videos informative in helping all stakeholders develop a better understanding of the Child Find process.  

District Navigator Teams

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Learn more about the Keystone AEA Staff Members or District Navigator Teams that serve in your school.

Forms and Manuals


Learn more about the resources available to support paraeducators in your school district.