The ABCs of IEPs Part 1: The Screening IEP
The Individuals with Disability Act was made into law in order to provide students with qualifying disabilities – be they physical or emotional – the right unfettered an complete in attending public schools in the United States with a free and appropriate public education regardless of expense. Kids who qualify to receive SPED services under the IDEA are each afforded their own individualized education plan (IEP) furnished through the school’s special education services department and implemented by special education teachers, therapists, counselors, school psychologists, pathologists and many more in addition to the general education teacher.
In the process of having a student considered for special education services the student’s parent/guardian should know that before their child can be provided special education services there must first be a formal evaluation. In the case of kids with a chronic and long standing disability, there is typically an existing body of documentation already in place before the child reaches school age. Often these records will stand in place of the otherwise required, initial/screening evaluation. However, for all other kids not previously identified with a disability (and even for many of the kids with pre existing disability), the public school will insist on a formal evaluation before providing an IEP and special education services for your child.
Therefore, the evaluation of the student’s disability, whether a new problem is under investigation or the disability is well known to the child’s family, is of paramount importance.
However, most special education attorneys will advise a family that it is generally far preferable to hire a private provider, typically an educational psychologist, for the job of the evaluation. There are any number of reasons for this universal advice, running from accessibility considerations through to questions of competence and the evaluator’s advocacy skills. The point is that if your child is in need of an evaluation, one you expect to provide to the school in hopes of gaining its help and assistance in the education of your child, be sure and very carefully consider who is doing the evaluation and do not simply accept the advice of the school system which will offer to provide to do the evaluation of your child (assuming that the school agrees that you child should indeed be evaluated for a suspected disability).
Look for part two in nexth month’s HooverLaw, LLC e-newsletter. Thanks for reading!
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