HOW TO REQUEST AN IEP EVALUATION

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As a parent, requesting an IEP evaluation may be an important step if your child is struggling in school. If your child qualifies for an IEP in South Carolina, he/she will receive special education services and accommodations. An IEP evaluation, also known as an educational evaluation, can be requested by you, the school, or your child’s teachers.  If your child is struggling in school and you believe your child needs special education services, and in turn, an IEP, the first step is to write a letter. The purpose of the letter is to request an educational evaluation. Your letter should be sent to the school district’s special education coordinator/director. You should also send the letter to the principal so more than one person is aware of your request.

Here is what to include in your letter request for an IEP evaluation:

  1. Explain your concerns, the challenges your child is having in school, and any steps you and your child’s teacher are taking to try to help your child.
  2. Request your child be tested in all areas including social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, as well as speech and occupational therapy, if you believe these may be areas of concern.
  3. Include any documentation that supports your concerns, including work samples, report cards, behavior reports, etc.
  4. You may send the letter by email, but also hand-deliver the letter to the appropriate people. If special education director and/or principal is not available when you drop-off the letter, make sure you write down the person’s name and title who takes the letter.

What happens when the school district receives your letter?

Once the school receives your letter requesting an IEP evaluation, you will be asked to sign a release giving the school permission to conduct the evaluation. As soon as you sign the release, the school has 60 days to complete your child’s individualized evaluation. The 60 day timeline starts immediately upon you signing the release.

When the evaluation is complete, the school district must provide you a copy of the evaluation and explain the results to you. Ask questions until you understand the evaluation completely. The school has a responsibility to explain the evaluation to you. The school’s explanation should include the evaluation process, results, special education process, the IEP or 504 process, and all your legal rights. As the parent, please never feel embarrassed to ask questions until you understand everything.

You and the school will meet to discuss the evaluation results and decide if your child qualifies for special education. If the evaluation shows your child does not qualify for special education, do not be discouraged. Your child may still qualify for a 504 plan and you may request an IEE, as explained below.

If your child qualifies for special education services, you and the school will work together, as a team – the IEP team – to develop an appropriate IEP for your child. The IEP must be written within 30 days of the evaluation. Always remember – you are an important member of the IEP team. Your thoughts, ideas, and firsthand knowledge of your child must always be considered by the entire IEP team. And, you must be invited to all IEP meetings so you can be a meaningful participant.

What happens if you do not agree with your child’s IEP evaluation?

If you do not agree with the IEP evaluation, you may request an independent educational evaluation (IEE). An IEE is conducted by someone not employed with the school district and is paid for by the school. You have the right to choose the outside evaluator. The school may give you a list of evaluators, but you do not have to use someone suggested by the school. In fact, we typically advise parents to use an evaluator not suggested by the school. If you request an IEE (in writing), the district only has two choices – 1) to pay for the IEE or 2) to file for due process and defend their reasoning on why their evaluation is sufficient.

Sample Letter Requesting IEP Evaluation

If you would like a sample letter to request your child be evaluated for special education services, email us at welcome@swannfamilylaw.com – we will be happy to send you a template.

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