A written referral from you, a doctor, or teacher was made to assess whether or not your child qualifies for an IEP (Individualized Education Program) at their school. You now have 30 days to consent, via signing a document, to allow your child to receive a Standardized Assessment. Once consent is given the school has 60 days to conduct the assessment. In the meantime here are things to consider as you begin the IEP process.
- Brainstorm things you want your child to learn and bring that list with you. Include anything about your child’s behavior that may hinder his/her learning in school and any successful tactics you have found for managing this behavior. Also you may want to bring any other medical records, past school records, or test/evaluation results with you that the school would not have,
- If you feel speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc. would be beneficial to your child request an assessment for the support service. If the assessment recommends the support services you and the school have the information to put those services in place.
- Put everything in writing. Even make a brief note about phone calls related to the IEP to avoid miscommunication. It establishes a timeline for the school to follow through on and creates a paper trail. This keeps the IEP Team accountable for its decisions, i.e. if it denies a request say for an assessment, they have to provide Prior Notice (see Badger law link below for more information on notice) to the parents stating why.
- Seeing/Understanding Standardized Assessment results prior to an IEP meeting. You are entitled to receive and discuss the Standardized Assessment results before the IEP meeting. The Standardized Assessment determines the child’s areas of deficit and if treatment services are necessary. This way you can understand the results and recommendations prior to the IEP meeting. Contact the person who administered the assessment and request to meet a few days prior to the scheduled IEP.
- If you disagree with a school administered assessment, you can request an IEE or Independent Educational Evaluation. This is an evaluation by a professional/examiner not employed by the school district, this is comparable to getting a second opinion on a health matter at the doctor. If you decide to request an IEE you may want to also review the school district’s policy on guidelines and qualifications for their examiners.
- Trust your instincts. Don’t feel intimidated by the other people involved in the process. You are an expert when it comes to your child. Your input may prove very beneficial in deciding what may work or not work with your child. You also have a global picture of your child not just in a school environment and know your child’s history, which can be a great asset to ensuring your child’s education is best suited to them.