Sunday, June 12, 2016

Special Education Series: Evaluations

Evaluations are important tools  that will help you and your child in their journey. Evaluations are observations, reports, and tests that information about your child's academics, cognitive, social, linguistic, and emotional status. The evaluation report will be a key factor in decisions made at an IEP meeting about your child's program. For example, if you feel that your child needs speech therapy, your chances of securing that are increased if the evaluation report recommends it.

There are two kinds of evaluations: an initial evaluation to determine whether your child qualifies for special education and a follow-up evaluation to get up to date information on your child.

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act) requires the school district to complete your child's first evaluation for special education within 60 calendar days of receiving your consent to do the evaluation.  IF your child is found eligible for special education, he or she must be evaluated every three years.

Depending on your child's disability, many tests are available including ones to evaluate general intelligence, reading, psychological state, social, and physical abilities. An evaluation should also include teacher and parent reports, doctor information, work samples, etc.

The school district has to get your consent to evaluate your child.  If you do not give consent to have your child evaluated the school district can still test your child they just have to go through other routes such as due process.

After your child is evaluated, the evaluator will issue a report. I recommend that you ask to see the report before the IEP meeting. This will help you keep a sense of control over the process and prepare for the IEP meeting.

If you do not agree with something, you have the right to reject it. I would wait till the IEP meeting to state why you do not agree with it. Hopefully, you and the rest of the IEP team can come up with a plan. Like I mentioned earlier, your child will be re-evaluated every three years. You have the right to ask for your child to be evaluated earlier than that but no more than one time a year.

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