Special Kids seeks to be a resource to our families with children with special needs beyond the therpay and nursing services we provide. Many of our families have expressed to us confusion in trying to begin and navigate the special education process. While Special Kids is not an educational facility, we believe that education is essential for all of the children we serve. That's why we desire to empower our families to become active, equal partners in educational planning for their child. This portion of the Special Kids website is designed to be a resource to our families as they navigate the special education process.

Understanding the Process of Special Education

  1. The Referral is the first step to attaining special education services. "Either a parent of a child, or a SEA, other state agency, or LEA may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability." 614 (a)(1)(D)
  2. A Written Prior Notice follows a referral. The school must provide this response within 10 days of the referral. NOTE: Parents will receive these notices for other reasons; changing the identification, evaluation, educational placement of the child or provision of FAPE to the child.
  3. Parents must sign an Informed Consent (provided by the school) following the written notice. No evaluations or services can be provided without said consent.
  4. Evaluation/ Assessment: The school has 40 "school days" to complete this step. This is the time for parents to complete and submit the '6 Questions to Answer' on the back of the brochure. This in-depth process helps the IEP Team determine eligibility, services needed, and placement.
  5. The IEP Team & IEP Development: The team creates/develops an Individual Education Plan (IEP) based on your child's present levels of academic achievements and related developmental needs including: goals, modifications, related services, assisted technology, and transition services.


Preparing for an IEP Meeting

Questions to ask:

  1. What are your child's strengths?
  2. What are your child's needs?
  3. What goals do you have for your child's education this year?
  4. What related services does your child need?
  5. What modifications and adaptations does your child need to be successful this year?
  6. What is the most appropriate placement for your child this school year?

Special Education Definitions

  • IDEA- Individuals with Disabilities Act: Purpose- to meet developmental goals, and to the maximum extent possible, the challenging expectations that have been established for all children... & to prepare students for further education, employment, and independent living.
  • FAPE- Free Appropriate Public Education
  • Special Education- Specially designed instruction
  • IEP- Individual Education Plan
  • LEA/SEA- Local Education Agency (your school system)/ State Education Agency (TN Division of Special Education)
  • LRE- Least Restrictive Environment
  • IEP Team- Team that develops the IEP and makes all educational decisions 


Special Education Department Contacts

Rutherford County:
Lynn Ferrell, Pre-School Coordinator
P.) 615.893.5615 ext. 22057

Murfreesboro City Schools:
Priscilla VanTries, Special Education Supervisor
P.) 615.893.2313

Outside of Rutherford County:

  • Contact your local school transportation department to determine school zoning.
  • Call your school and request to speak with the special education coordinator.
  • Contact your local school board of education and request the contact information for the special education coordinator. 


Helpful Special Education Websites

Click the name of the resource to visit their website and learn more.

Bridges 4 Kids
Building partnerships between families, schools, and communities.

Early Childhood Developmental Standards
Developmental standards set by the state of Tennessee.

Tennessee Department of Curriculum Standards
Curriculum standards set by the state of Tennessee.

Wrights Law
Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.

Special Education Options for Cerebral Palsy
National organization provides free educational information, financial options and emotional support for parents and children affected by cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy Group
Cerebral Palsy Group is an online resource for anyone who has been affected by cerebral palsy, brain injuries, or birth injuries.