How to request the district to evaluate (not screen) your child...
First things first, there is a HUGE difference b/w screening a child for a disability and evaluating a child as defined and meeting the criteria set forth under the Individuals w/ Disabilities Education Act (federal law)!!!!
If the school offered to screen your child or said they have to be screened first, said your child wouldn't qualify, screened your child and said they didn't qualify, refused to evaluate for any reason, or has not evaluated or notified you they would be evaluating your child after you have requested your child to be evaluated for suspected disabilities that may affect learning, your school/district is in violation of your state laws, and federal laws.
The district has 60 days to complete and evaluation from the date of receiving a signed consent to evaluate your child. If they are in violation I would send them a letter (see sample) reminding them of their obligation under IDEA to evaluate, if they continue to be noncompliant then I would file a state and or federal complaint for noncompliance (federal complaints can be filed with the US Dept of Ed's Office for Civil Rights).
Send the letter certified return receipt mail addressed to the principal and cc: the district special ed dept.. Maybe start something like this;
Mr. & Mrs. Child's Parents
101 Spec Ed Lane
Anywhere, USA, 000000
Attn: Principal (put principals name)
1000 school address
Anywhere, USA, 00000
CC: School District(put name of district), Dept of Special Ed
Attn: Pupil Appraisal Dept.
1000 School District Ave
Anywhere, USA, 00000
October 20th, 2006
Dear Principal (put name of principal),
I am requesting the district do full educational evaluation on my child, (write child's name), because I believe (child's name) has a disability that affects learning. Please ensure that the evaluation is fully compliant with the Individual's with Disabilities Improvement Act of 2004's standards.
Please do a comprehensive evaluation, that includes all aspects of learning including but not limited to all abilities and disabilities.
The following are specific areas that I suspect s/he may have a disability that affects learning, and I'm certain need to be evaluated. Please do not limit the evaluation to these areas though, as I wish to ensure we don't miss anything that may affect s/he ability to learn:
< Examples of areas that may be of concern to you that you may want to put here include but are not limited to some of the items/areas listed on the following websites:
If you believe you know which special ed disability category, you believe your child may fall under, you may also want to include it in your letter, such as;
The IDEA provides definitions of the 13 disability categories. These federal definitions guide how states define who is eligible for a free appropriate public education under IDEA. The definitions of disability terms are as follows:
...means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects educational performance. Characteristics often associated with autism are engaging in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to changes in daily routines or the environment, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term autism does not apply if the child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has emotional disturbance, as defined in #5 below.
A child who shows the characteristics of autism after age 3 could be diagnosed as having autism if the criteria above are satisfied.
...means concomitant [simultaneous] hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
...means a hearing impairment so severe that a child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
4. Emotional Disturbance...
...means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance:
(a) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
(b) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
(c) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
(d) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
(e) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
5. Hearing Impairment...
...means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance but is not included under the definition of 'deafness.'
6. Mental Retardation...
...means significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently [at the same time] with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
7. Multiple Disabilities...
...means concomitant [simultaneous] impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.
8. Orthopedic Impairment...
...means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly (e.g. clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g. poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).
9. Other Health Impairment...
...means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that'
(a) is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia; and
(b) adversely affects a child's educational performance.
10. Specific Learning Disability...
...means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of mental retardation; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
11. Speech or Language Impairment...
...means a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
12. Traumatic Brain Injury...
...means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not include brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
13. Visual Impairment Including Blindness...
...means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
This info was found on the following website:
Please consider this request as my consent to evaluate (child's name). I look forward to working with you on this evaluation, and reviewing the results upon completion (sixty calendar days as per IDEIA '04 from receipt of this letter).
Thank you for your time, and have a great day!
Mr./Mrs. (insert your name, then make sure to sign it underneath)
P.S.- Please reply to this request within ten calendar days of reciept so that I will know we have started the ball rolling.
I am in the process of I believe having my child assessed. When I first heard of any type of assessment it when I took my child to Kumon and I was speaking to one of the parents about my child. My child's 3rd grade teacher and I had discussed retaining my child. We have academic struggles and I just couldn't figure out why they school didn't have "more" help. The parent at Kumon told me about the IEP. I was literally in shock. I then sent an email to the school the next day about it and IMMEDIATELY the teacher said she would get right on it and complete the paperwork. WELL, to make a long story short, I now have an appt on Tuesday, after waiting over a month to get this appt. My question is why did it take so long for me to find out about the assesments the school has for low performing students. My child has struggled the last 2 years there and has gone to LAAP and summer school, but he struggles. I didn't think retaining him would solve the problem. So, Tuesday I will meet for an SST Student Study Team. This is so frustrating. I have prepared some questions to ask, but not sure what will happen after. I've also gone on a website www.task.com. They advised me to take a basic rights workshop and since I have signed up. But do you have any advise for me when I speak with the panel on Tuesday? Thank you so much for any additional information you have.40875
It was only after our child was still experiencing difficulties and two years after the school performed its evaluation, that we learned that the school did just a screening and not a full educational evaluation. Not knowing the difference, we thought that the evaluation performed by the school was a full educational evaluation. It wasn't until the privately hired independent evaluator brought to our attention that what the school did was just an screening, did we learn differently.
Informed parents are empowered. Thanks for posting this information.
I wish I could give you a reasonable explanation for your district failing to recognise your childs problems, but I can't. I can say that it seems to be a common problem nationwide.
Document everything in writing, including but not limited to; your request for a full educational eval, any verbal conversations and/or meetings (date time with whom and what was discussed). Paper trails are important!
If your unsure about something then either don't sign in agreement or list those items in which you do not agree next to your signature. You always have the option to think and/or research something before signing it. You can also withdraw your consent at any time.
If you don't agree with the districts eval findings you can request an independent eval at public expense (the district pays for it).
You have the right to be an equal partner in decissions.
I would also suggest reading over some of the links I posted here:
!!!!!!!! What every Parent and/or Advocate needs to know !!!!!!!
and contacting your local parent training and info center to work with an advocate and learn more, here is a link to find it:
Parent Training and Info Centers and Community Parent Resource Centers www.taalliance.org/centers/
Click onto your region then it will show locations in your state. Each state is home to at least one parent center. Parent centers serve families of children and young adults from birth to age 22 with all disabilities: physical, cognitive, emotional, and learning. They help families obtain appropriate education and services for their children with disabilities; work to improve education results for all children; train and inform parents and professionals on a variety of topics; resolve problems between families and schools or other agencies; and connect children with disabilities to community resources that address their needs. They have advocates, and advisors free of charge at these Centers. 40877
What is the purpose of the student study team meeting? Is it to determine if your child needs an eval, or is it the initial steps for the eval?
Did you make your request for an eval in writing, similar to above? If so how long ago did the school/district recieve it?
I would request a copy of your child's complete/entire educational records file both to the school and the district. This way you will be able to fill in any gaps you may not already have in your files at home.
I would look at your child's standardized and/or state test scores , grade level equivalents, and percentile ranks to see which specific areas your child has fallen behind in, and how much he has excelled in other areas. This is a good indicator.
First things first, it is important to accurately diagnose the source (area of disability) which is causing the problem, sometimes appearances can be deceaving.40879
I wish you could go with me. I'm a single mom and since the meeting is right after school at 2:15 - I don't know anyone that could go with me. I just have to have faith and trust in God that he will direct me. Thank you so much for the information. According to the letter the teacher is going to present samples of my child's work and discuss learning strategies currently being implemented. Then the student study team will either recommend additional interventions within the classroom or request my permission to further assess my child's needs. This is so confusing. I also placed a intra-district transfer to have my child closer to home, as he said he didn't like his teacher and has trouble making friends at times. My child is very emotional and he is sensitive. Tries really hard and feels disappointed in himself when he fails. ARG!40881
Corrections & elaborating to clarify the following two statements in initial post for this thread:
"If the school offered to screen your child or said they have to be screened first, said your child wouldn't qualify, screened your child and said they didn't qualify, refused to evaluate for any reason, or has not evaluated or notified you they would be evaluating your child after you have requested your child to be evaluated for suspected disabilities that may affect learning, your school/district is in violation of your state laws, and federal laws."
Clarification/elaboration: Federal regs under IDEA/IDEIA '04 say that the school/district is required to provide parents with "Prior Written Notice" (PWN) if they refuse to evaluate a child. If the district/school refuses to evaluate but does provide PWN then parents have the right to request a due process hearing. See the following link for more info on PWN requirements: http://community.greatschools.net/groups/11554/discussion/168191
"The district has 60 days to complete and evaluation from the date of receiving a signed consent to evaluate your child. If they are in violation I would send them a letter (see sample) reminding them of their obligation under IDEA to evaluate, if they continue to be noncompliant then I would file a state and or federal complaint for noncompliance (federal complaints can be filed with the US Dept of Ed's Office for Civil Rights)."
Clarification/elaboration: Federal regs under IDEA/IDEIA '04 say that school/districts have 60 days to complete eval once signed consent is received UNLESS the district/school/state has established a timeline to complete evals that is less than 60 days. 40882
Hi. I hope it's ok for me to chime in here? I'm new and this post caught my eye since I have had LOTS of experience with this for both my dd's. I learned all the 'tricks' and outright blatant bad things my school did that I have since learned are common all over the US.
I asked for an eval to see if both my dd's would qualify for sped (4 yrs apart). It's a very long story,but I did write the correct letter, did everything by the book according to IDEA law.
Over the years I put the peices together and learned that the school had me sign a consent form for the REAL eval, but actually did a 'screening', thinking I would not know the difference. It took me almost 8 yrs to learn the difference.
They said and did all the usual things, such as - 1. She had to be in SST first before the eval could be done. 2. Said they had to do a screening first to see if she could qualify to have the REAL eval done. This in itself is the most confusing thing for parents. Schools know this and they play on it. 3. When I asked for my youngest dd to be evaluated for the REAL eval after I found out they had just done a 'screening', the district sped director actually said - a. she isn't qualified to take this eval becuase she's not covered by IDEA law. In other words he's saying - a child has to ALREADY be in special ed in order to qualify to see if they QUALIFY for sped. b. This is the same eval that was done before, why do you want it done again? (It WASN"T the same eval, it was a 'screening' and they told me at the time it was done that it was the REAL eval)
I feel that the IDEA law contradicts itself about the school having the right to refuse to do an eval at the request of the parent. In the section 300.503 it states that when a parent or school requests an eval, it MUST be done. If I'm not mistaken, it does not state that the school can refuse.
In the section 'child find' it states that SCHOOLS must 'find and evaluate' all children that are SUSPECTED of having disabilities. I have NEVER heard of ANY school doing this.
When a SCHOOL wants to evaluate a child to see if they qualify for sped, each state has 'rules', not LAWS, that state the school has to have child in SST before they do an eval, to see if the child progresses with interventions.
I am not sure if IDEA law states schools are suppose to do this, but I dont' think it does.
IDEA law does NOT state that the school has to do this when a PARENT requests the eval to be done. But most, if not ALL schools say they HAVE to do all this when a PARENT requests an eval to be done.
I know when I filed state complaint for school refusing to do eval and refusing to give PWN, the state MADE them do the eval. This tells me that the school does NOT have a choice to refuse to do the eval.
As for school giving PWN for refusing to do the eval, even the top US sped attorney Pete Wright says in his 20 (or 30) years in practice, he has NEVER heard of a school give PWN without the parent asking for it first (they are suppose to give it automatically without the parent having to request it at all)
AND he says out of ALL the schools who did give PWN, not ONE of them did it correctly and legally. This to me says that the school got out of helping the child.
To justus - when you requested for the school to do an eval to see if your child can qualify for sped, did you do this in writing? It is SO important that you do it in writing. If you don't they can do the 'screening, SST, whatever and get away with it because there is no proof you asked for the REAL eval.
As for having a meeting because of your eval request, it is not legally necessary to have a meeting because of an eval request. IDEA law states that the first required meeting is held AFTER the eval is done. It is good to meet ahead of time though, to let the school know why you want testing done (even though IDEA law does NOT state you have to let them know) and to all be on the same page to help the child.
In all my years (8) of experiences with my own 2 dd's and grandson, being a member of many boards like this one, ALL of the parents who say they had this meeting because of an eval request was just ambushed by the school to have them to be 'talked out of' having the eval done. Stand your ground.
justus wrote - Then the student study team will either recommend additional interventions within the classroom or request my permission to further assess my child's needs.
This is illegal. You make an eval request in writing and they are to do it, end of story. They can do interventions WHILE the eval is being done, but they can't do them FIRST or INSTEAD of doing the eval. THis is just stalling on their part.
Lots of parents think the school can do testing to diagnose learning problems. Well they can, BUT schools don't do evals 'just to see' what the childs problems are. They ONLY do evals to determine if a child can qualify for special ed.
Now, they CAN do evals 'just to see' if a child has problems ONLY if a child is ALREADY in special ed, to determine if a child needs more help thru special ed.
UGH, after writing ALL of this I just saw this is a post from April!! Well, I'm posting it anyway, don't want to waste all this for nothing! I wonder whatever happened to JustUs??
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