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Special Education Tip #8: Provide Consent for School Evaluations

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Special Education Tip #8: Provide Consent for School Evaluations

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When a school district requests consent to conduct evaluations of a child receiving special education services, many parents’ first inclination is to say no. This is especially true for parents who recently hired an independent evaluator to assess their child’s abilities and make recommendations. Many parents fear that the district will skew evaluations to only show their child’s strengths, making it harder for them to prove that their child is in need of additional services or an out-of district placement. However, it is important to realize that allowing the district to perform its own evaluations is a vital to step in getting your child the necessary services or succeeding at a due process hearing. Therefore, it is important to always provide consent for school evaluations.

When facing the possibility of a hearing, parents should do everything possible to be cooperative. By rejecting the district’s requests to conduct its own evaluations, a parent is opening up the possibility that the school district will argue that they could not determine an appropriate placement for the child due to the parent’s refusal to provide information or access to the child.

In addition, it is always best for your child’s educational team to have as much information as possible about what your child needs. Providing consent for the school to conduct additional evaluations when requested is one way to ensure that more information about your child’s needs and strengths and weaknesses will be available to all members of your child’s team.

In the event that the school district’s evaluations result in recommendations contrary to what you think your child needs, you may request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) for a second opinion or seek out your own private evaluation. And remember, it is completely possible that the district’s evaluations will reinforce what your private evaluator already stated, making your case stronger.

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