As a parent, you want your child to have everything he or she needs for a full and fair educational experience. You know how important it is to advocate for your child, and that may mean seeking extra support for your child if he or she has specific types of learning needs. The first step in securing special education services is an initial evaluation of your child to determine if he or she qualifies for an Individualized Education Program.
An IEP is a learning plan designed for children with disabilities. Each IEP is customized according to the individual needs of the child, based off the findings of the initial evaluation. As a parent, you have the right to request an evaluation of your child, and after that, you have the right to know the details of his or her IEP and types of provided services.
The details of a special education evaluation
The intent of a special education evaluation is to determine if the individual child needs special education services. The assessment will determine a child’s strengths and his or her challenges, providing insight regarding the types of support he or she needs. When seeking a special education evaluation for your child, the process will generally follow these steps:
- The school and the family need to agree that the child needs a special education assessment.
- You and the school can gather the necessary data, such as test scores, discipline records and behavior reports.
- As the parents, you can talk to your child’s education providers to seek insight into how your child is struggling in the classroom.
- Ask if the evaluator can observe your child while he or she is at school.
According to federal special education laws, the evaluation needs to take place within 60 days. You do not have to remain silent if you believe a California school or others are not taking your child’s situation seriously.
The best outcome for your child
You are your child’s best and most important advocate. If you believe that your child qualifies for special education services, you will benefit from seeking professional insight regarding the most effective way you can support him or her. An assessment of your concerns could provide you with insight regarding the most effective way you can pursue a beneficial outcome to your child’s educational needs.