Your parental role is crucial in the formation of your child’s Individual Education Program (IEP). While the school district may have your child’s best interests in mind, that doesn’t mean that disagreements won’t occur. For example, you may take issue with how the district qualified your child for an IEP, or you may not agree with the goals written in your child’s IEP.
When you disagree with your district’s evaluation of your child, it is important for you to pick up your copy of A Guide to Parents Rights in Special Education: Special Education Procedural Safeguards Notice – April 2017, page 8. Understand that you have the right to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), an outside evaluation supervised by a qualified examiner who is not employed by your child’s school district.
To begin the IEE process, you must present your district with a letter explaining your concerns. Keep in mind that you are entitled to only one IEE at the time your district conducts an evaluation. There is no exact timeline for the district to reply; however, it needs to be without an “unnecessary” delay.
Upon approval of your request for an IEE, your school district will recoup the IEE expense and offer a list of criteria that will include qualifications of evaluation, reasonable cost, and geographic limitations.
Your district will provide you with a list of qualified examiners. We recommend you review the given list while asking yourself, “Why are we requesting this IEE?” If your concerns are regarding your child’s reading and writing level, research a qualified examiner in those specific learning disabilities. If you are questioning the school’s decision that your son or daughter is on the spectrum, you need to find an examiner who is an expert in Autism. Typically, the list the district approves is generic. You are the expert and know your child’s delays, so do your research to determine which qualified examiner will be the most efficient. If you decide not to use a name from the district’s list, give the examiner the contact information of the expert of your choice. The district contacts the individual and requests additional documents.
Be aware that your district can file a due process complaint if it disagrees with your opinion regarding the district’s evaluation.
We cannot stress enough the importance of understanding this process and the choices available to you. You have the right to disagree with your district; however, you need to be clear and transparent.