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Parents of Dually Identified Students

Frequently Asked Questions for Multilingual Families

Adapted from Colorín Colorado

If your child is a Multilingual Learner and needs special education services, or might need them, you may have many questions. Dually-Identified is a term that the state of California uses for students who fit into both of these categories. The information below can help you get started.

Getting Started

What is Special Education?

Special education is a free service that schools offer to students with disabilities. It might include instruction, therapy, behavior support, or social-emotional support.

Does my immigration status, or my child’s, affect special education?

No. As with all services offered to Hayward Unified School District students, your child is eligible for special education regardless of immigration status. Hayward Unified School District is a sanctuary district, meaning we do not collect your immigration status at any time, including at enrollment.

My child does not have a physical disability. Why does the school say there is a disability?

Learning disabilities aren’t visible. They relate to how a child learns, reads, writes, or pays attention. Students may need to work in small groups or use special learning strategies in order to have the most potential success in school.

Who will lead the special education process from the school?

Hayward Unified schools have a special education team, which might include:

Educator Role

Classroom teacher

Teaches grade level content
Special Education teacher Teaches students with disabilities, either in a self-contained classroom (such as SDC), or in a resource setting
Speech and Language Pathologist Provides support for students in speech and language, if included in the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP)
English Language Development (ELD) teacher Provides Designated ELD instruction
Dual Language teacher Provides instruction in two languages (if the student is enrolled in a Dual Language program)

In addition to the team members listed above, parents may opt to have an advocate present during any part of the identification or IEP process.

What is an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?

An IEP is a program the school and family create together. It explains:

  • how your child is doing currently, including your child’s strengths
  • goals for your child
  • a plan to reach those goals, such as services and accommodations for the classroom
  • who will provide this support (and when)
  • your child’s progress over time.

The school will schedule IEP meetings to create this plan. You have the right to:

  • help inform your child’s IEP
  • attend every IEP meeting
  • hear your rights before every meeting
  • reschedule IEP meetings
  • receive all updates
  • review or change the IEP
  • ask questions any time
  • receive all communication in your language.
Can my child exit special education services?

Yes. Remember that special education services can help students work more independently. IEP meetings are a good time to share your questions and concerns.

My child is struggling in school. Can I request special education services?

You can ask the school to evaluate your child. The school may or may not recommend special education services or other supports. Ask your child’s teachers about your options at any time.

My Role as a Parent

What is my role in this process?

In Hayward Unified, we want families to partner with their child’s school! You know your child best. Share ideas about your child’s, interests, personality, and behavior. Ask for ideas and help if needed.

I don't agree with the school’s plan. What should I do?

You have the right to refuse, change, or stop special education services. However, it is important to understand the school’s recommendations before you make a decision.


How do I get information in my own language?

You have a right to:

  • receive ALL information in your language
  • have an interpreter during any conversation or meeting.
What if my child needs both ELD and special education services?

If your child has been identified as a Multilingual Learner and has an IEP, then your child has a legal right to receive ELD, Dual Language (if you are enrolled in a Dual Language program), AND special education services. It is the school's responsibility to offer ALL services your child needs.

How can we be sure my child needs special education?

It can be difficult to know if a child who is learning a new language needs special education. That’s why it’s very important to have professionals who speak your language on the team, if possible. They can evaluate your child in your language. This gives them a better picture of your child's learning. If your child struggles in your language, please let the team know.

Child's wheelchair in classroom

Parents' Rights (from the California Department of Education)

Click the button below to be taken directly to the California Department of Education's website, where the rights of parents whose children are receiving Special Education services are fully explained.

CDE Parents' Rights

Multilingual Tip Sheets

Created by Colorín Colorado, these tip sheets are available in 14 languages and can help families to navigate the world of Special Education.

First page of the PDF file: ENGLISH_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: SPANISH_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: ARABIC_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: CHINESE_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
Diné (Navajo)
First page of the PDF file: NAVAJO_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: FRENCH_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
Haitian Creole
First page of the PDF file: HAITIAN-CREOLE_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: HMONG_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: KOREAN_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: PORTUGUESE_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: RUSSIAN_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: SOMALI_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: TAGALOG_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families
First page of the PDF file: VIETNAMESE_Special-Education-FAQ-Multilingual-Families