When California parents move forward with an independent education evaluation (IEE), there are a few steps they must take. In some cases, their child’s school might move forward with due process to challenge their request. In others, the school might provide a list of evaluators who can conduct the IEE.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that a “qualified professional” should conduct the evaluation, while other sources refer to the evaluator as a “qualified examiner.” Regardless, many parents wonder: who exactly is the qualified professional that will evaluate their child?
What does “qualified professionals” mean?
The term “qualified professionals” purposefully includes a wide range of individuals. After all, children have a wide range of needs.
Since the IEE is an independent evaluation, it is generally necessary that the qualified professional does not work for the child’s school. They are an independent, objective evaluator. Aside from that, the type of qualified professional who evaluates the child often depends on the child’s needs. These qualified professionals frequently include:
- Clinical psychologists
- School psychologists from other districts
- Speech-language pathologists
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
The IEE can include many evaluations. Some assess a child’s reading or thinking skills, while others analyze a child’s physical skills. In some cases, agencies might have a team of these professionals to conduct these different evaluations for the child.
Remember: Parents choose the examiner
It is important to note that parents reserve the right to choose which agency or qualified professional examines their child in the IEE. Their child’s school may provide a list that they can choose from, often factoring in location and cost. But parents have the final say.
Therefore, parents should make sure they also evaluate and understand their child’s needs beforehand. That way, they can choose someone who will evaluate their child properly. This decision and process require great care to support the child’s education and help them obtain the special education services they need.