Every Child Deserves A Meaningful Education

What parents need to know about the IEP eligibility evaluation process

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Special Education Law |

Embarking on the evaluation process for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) can seem daunting. But, knowing what to expect can empower you as a parent to advocate for your child’s learning effectively.

The initial steps

The evaluation process often begins when you or your child’s teacher notices learning difficulties and suggests an evaluation. Remember, schools must seek your consent to proceed. It is crucial to provide written consent to avoid any delays. Once you give permission, the school has a specific timeframe, generally 60 days, to complete the evaluation. This timeline ensures that the evaluation is prompt, preventing any unnecessary delays in receiving support.

What happens during the evaluation?

The goal of the evaluation is to determine if your child qualifies for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Professionals will use a variety of assessment tools to understand your child’s educational needs. These tools aim to provide a well-rounded perspective of your child’s abilities and challenges.

An important consideration

It is essential to ensure that the evaluation is thorough and nondiscriminatory. The assessments must cover all areas related to the suspected disability and must be conducted in your child’s primary language or mode of communication unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. If the evaluation does not meet these standards, you have the right to request an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense.

After the evaluation

Once the evaluation is complete, you will meet with the IEP team to discuss the results. This meeting is a critical opportunity for you to voice any concerns and ensure the proposed IEP meets your child’s needs. If the school denies your child an IEP, and you disagree with this decision, you may appeal through several avenues, including mediation and due process hearings.

Stay informed and involved

As a parent, you play a crucial role in this process. Stay informed and engaged, and do not hesitate to seek guidance if you feel overwhelmed. Understanding these steps and legal protections will help ensure your child receives the appropriate support to thrive in school.