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Special Education Tip-of-the-Day: Evaluations/Meetings


by Amanda Glass, Equal Justice Works Fellow

In order for a child to qualify for and receive special education services at school, the child must be evaluated. An evaluation is how a school decides whether or not a child is eligible for special education, and is also the way the school understands a child’s needs and decides how to address them.

If you suspect your child has a disability that is impacting her ability to access her education, or if your child is already receiving special education services but you believe those services are not meeting her current needs, you should ask the school to perform an evaluation. We recommend that you make the request in writing and hand-deliver, email, or mail the request to the school special education director or another administrator.

The school must respond in writing within 15 school days of receiving your evaluation request. The school may want to meet with you before deciding whether or not an evaluation is necessary—this is sometimes called a Review of Existing Data (RED) meeting.

If the school agrees to evaluate, it must finish the evaluation within 60 calendar days of receiving your informed written consent, at no cost to you. If the school refuses to evaluate your child, it must explain its decision to you in writing, which is called giving prior written notice (a requirement we will explain further in a future post!).

For more detailed information about the IDEA’s requirements for evaluations, visit the Center for Parent Information and Resources.

You can also find a sample letter requesting an initial evaluation and a sample letter requesting a reevaluation on DRAZ’s website in the appendix of our special education guide.

Tomorrow’s Tip-of-the-Day: Procedural Safeguards Notice

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