You've gone through the MTSS process, the referral process, and completed the evaluation. Maybe your child qualified for an IEP or maybe they did not. There may be some circumstances in which you should consider pursuing an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE):
You disagree with the district's most recent evaluation of your child;
The school district conducted an evaluation or re-evaluation but did not fully identify all areas that need to be evaluated and you disagree with the evaluation; or
The school district has denied your child special education eligibility or a necessary service or support based on the recommendations of an inadequate school district assessment.
If any of the above situations apply for you, your next steps are listed below.
Send a written request for an IEE at public expense. Write an email or letter to your district's Special Education Director or your child's Case Manager stating you disagree with the district's evaluation and are requesting an IEE at public expense. After it receives your letter, the school district may ask you to explain why you disagree with its assessment. You do not have to give any reasons for your disagreement to the school district. Also, the school district cannot use your refusal as an excuse for delaying its response to your request.
Wait for a response. The school district must respond "without unnecessary delay" - generally 15 school days is acceptable. School districts typically agree to the IEE to avoid taking parents to due process. They may suggest certain providers, but you may choose any providers you wish. If you do not receive a response, you may write them again indicating you understand their lack of response to mean they agree to the IEE and pursue it on your own accord.
Schedule intake, testing, and follow-up appointments with the private provider. Most private evaluations are broken up into several sessions: Intake meeting to discuss background history, review your concerns, and review the evaluation completed by the district to understand your disagreements and make a plan for the evaluation that aligns with your concerns. One or more testing sessions for the provider to administer the assessments agreed upon at the intake. Follow-up meeting with the private provider to discuss the results of the private evaluation and make a plan regarding how to move forward with the district.
Schedule a follow-up meeting with the school district to review the results of the IEE and make relevant recommendations. Ideally the private provider will attend this meeting, but may not always be available. The school psychologist should be able to interpret the results of the private evaluation adequately if the private provider cannot attend.
Resolution or mediation. Hopefully, the results of the IEE will lead the team to agree on providing the necessary services for your child. If that does not occur, you may wish to consider taking your child's case to mediation or due process with the state Department of Education. Should you reach this point, please give us a call and we can refer you to some excellent parent advocates!