As the parent of a student who has special learning needs, you know how difficult it can be to ensure that your child has everything they need for an appropriate education. Special education exists to provide necessary supports and services for students with disabilities, but that does not mean it is always easy to secure this support. One of the first steps to getting your child what they require are assessments in all areas of suspected need.
This initially starts with an evaluation conducted by your child’s school. This initial assessment should give you information about your child’s needs and what types of learning supports and services are required. However, sometimes assessments are not conducted appropriately, the school failed to evaluate your child in all areas of suspected need or you may not agree with the results of the assessment. If this is the case, you may be entitled to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).
Expectations for an IEE
Not only do you have the right to ask for an IEE if the assessment wasn’t conducted appropriately, it should occur at public expense (paid for by the school district). This is a right outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). Any IEE you request must meet the same requirements of a school evaluation, and a qualified and trained professional must administer it. Reasons why you may want to request an IEE include:
- The evaluation performed by the school did not find evidence of a disability requiring special education services, but you disagree.
- The school’s assessment did not properly evaluate in all areas of unique need (i.e. speech/language, occupational therapy, behavior, academics, processing & social-emotional).
- The tests were administered inappropriately.
You also have the right to privately fund an IEE at your own expense. In that instance, if you decide to share the results with the school, they are required to at least consider the results of your privately funded IEE.
If you have concerns about the educational support your child is currently receiving in their California school, or you believe that your child could benefit from an IEE, you have the right to speak up. Parents are the most important advocates for their children, and you can fight for the specific things your child needs for a full and fair educational experience. It may be useful for you to seek the guidance of an experienced professional as you fight for what your child requires for success in the classroom.