If you think your child may be eligible for special education, you should write a letter to your school’s principal, or to the Superintendent, asking the school to evaluate your child. The school may also believe that your child has a disability and request an evaluation. In some cases, the evaluation must be done at no cost to you. An evaluation will determine if your child has a disability and if your child needs special education to deal with that disability.
The School Refused to Evaluate My Child, What Can I Do?
The school does not have to evaluate your child just because you ask. If the school believes that your child is not eligible for special education, you will be notified and no evaluation will be held. If you strongly believe that the school is mistaken and your child needs special education, there are some options available to you:
- You may ask the school for information about its special education policies
- You may contact your state’s Parent Training and Information Center, where you can learn more about your rights, and the laws pertaining to special education
- You may request mediation or a due process hearing
How Does the School Evaluate My Child?
The school should evaluate in all aspects that might affect his academic performance. This includes:
- Your child’s overall physical health, including eyesight, hearing, physical ability and strength
- Your child’s intellectual ability
- You child’s emotional state
- You child’s social skills
The school will evaluate these factors by:
- Conducting tests
- Interviewing you and other interested parties (teachers, counselors) about your concerns about your child’s education
What if the School Needs More Information about My Child to Make an Evaluation?
If your child’s school needs extra information about your child’s history and performance, they may conduct further testing and evaluation. However, to do this extra evaluation, the school must get your informed written permission. Some of the ways the school may collect extra information include:
- Reviewing your child’s medical history
- Reviewing the observations and opinions of professionals who may have worked with your child
- Having your child evaluated by a psychologist, physical therapist, or speech therapist
What Are My Rights if I Disagree with My Child’s Evaluation?
If you disagree with the results of the school’s evaluation of your child, you have to right to have someone outside your school perform an Independent Educational Evaluation. You may be able to request that the school pay for this evaluation.
Should I Contact a Lawyer?
If you have questions or concerns about the evaluation process, you may want to consult a lawyer experienced in education and schools. An experienced government lawyer will be able to tell you more about your rights and advise you on a course of action. If necessary, a lawyer can represent you and your child’s interests in a mediation or due process hearing.