You think your child may need special education services but where do you start? Does your child qualify for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), or 504 accommodations? Can you ask for an evaluation to start the process? How do you request an evaluation? Let me break down the special education evaluation process into smaller action steps to make it more manageable. In this first post, we discuss requesting an evaluation.
First things first, trust your instincts as a parent. If you think your child has a disability that is influencing their ability to succeed in school, talk to their classroom teacher, guidance counselor, Director of Special Education or other school professional to request an evaluation.
The request for an evaluation should be made in writing. Documentation throughout this process is very important. I recommend you send an email but if you choose to send a physical letter instead, make sure to keep a copy. Use a 3-ring binder to keep and organize all your correspondence (including emails), evaluations, reports, and notes.
The evaluation request should describe the reason(s) why you want your child evaluated and the areas requiring attention. Are they having challenges in a specific area like reading or speech? Are they having trouble socially or emotionally? Are they having behavioral challenges? Provide a few examples of challenges noticed from homework, teacher comments, papers coming home, etc. If you have a medical diagnosis already, provide the specifics of the diagnosis in the letter as well.
The school should respond and provide you with paperwork to consent to an evaluation. Once you consent, the school must complete the evaluation within 45 school working days.
If you need help getting started or unsure on next steps, contact me.