Before your child can qualify for special education services or an IEP at school, he or she will have to be evaluated by the school district. Evaluations can be done by many people, but often a psychiatrist or psychologist is used. His evaluation and subsequent recommendations for the school district may not match up with what you believe your child needs. If this happens to your family, you do have several options.
An independent evaluation is a separate evaluation not performed by the school district. It is often performed at your own expense. However, in some cases, you can ask for the school district to cover the cost. Once again, a psychiatrist is often employed for evaluations. Depending on your child’s limitations and needs, other professionals, such as occupational therapists, may get involved as well.
An independent evaluation may help overturn the initial decision of the school district. However, this can be difficult to do because school districts do not have to agree to your evaluator’s recommendations. If you are not getting what you need from the district, you still have recourse.
- First, understand that the district is required to pay for an independent evaluation unless it turns to a due process hearing. You will have to notify the district of your wishes for a new evaluation in writing.
- Second, the school may schedule a reevaluation on its own. Sometimes, the reevaluations are performed to show that your child no longer needs special services. Once again, you may ask for an independent evaluation or schedule one yourself if you disagree with these findings.
- Third, if your child currently has an IEP but does not seem to be making progress, he or she probably needs an evaluation. The school district is required to evaluate the child at a minimum of once every three years at your request. If the timeframe does not warrant an evaluation by the school district, but you still feel that one is necessary, you can get an independent evaluation.
Finally, if the school district refuses to work with you in these matters, you may need legal help to get your child the evaluations and services that he or she needs. A special education attorney from Newman, Aaronson, Vanaman can help you walk through this process, and give you legal insight so that your child is properly evaluated at correct intervals.