Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Wisconsin Wayfinder: Special Education Options

Wisconsin Wayfinder: Child Fills Out Workbook

Learn about the special education options (PDF) and services available to you, including from your local school district. You can take part in creating an individualized education program (IEP) for your child sooner than you think.

You can also get started by reviewing a list of special education terms and services.

How special education helps children with disabilities

Children learn when instruction, curriculum, and environment address each student’s unique disability-related needs. There are several resources to help you take the right steps to develop a plan for special education services for your child.

Each school district in Wisconsin is responsible for providing a continuum of services, starting with early childhood.

Additional resources include:

How an Individualized Education Program is created for a child

An individualized education program (IEP) is the documentation of how each student will receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education as required under state and federal special education regulations. 

The IEP is developed, reviewed, and revised by a team of people, including the student’s parent(s).

  • The process begins with a referral for an evaluation of the student to determine if the student requires special education services with the local school district. Anyone may make a referral for special education including parent(s) or guardian(s).
  • The local district evaluates the student and works with families to determine whether special education services are needed.

For more information on the special education process see the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Special Education Laws, Procedures, and Bulletins webpage.

Last revised November 1, 2023