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You’ve just had your child’s first Parent-Teacher Conference of the year. You’ve noticed your child is struggling in a subject or subjects, and you think more needs to be done, but you’re not sure which steps need to be taken next. You are not alone.  As second semester approaches, many parents are having the same thoughts.  

What should you do?

Talk to your child’s teacher about additional supports he or she is receiving. Many students can get additional assistance (interventions) without a special plan. If your child is receiving assistance and is still struggling, it may be time to consider evaluating your child for Special Education services.  

An evaluation can be triggered by:

  1. A diagnosed condition that impacts performance
  2. Not meeting standards despite intervention
  3. Meeting standards but intervention requires substantial and ongoing resources

If any of the above three is true, then your child should be evaluated for Special Education services.

The term Special Education can be intimidating and even frightening. It’s important to understand that Special Education services are intended to function as extra support for your child. Special Education is not a place but rather services that are designed specifically for a student. Many of these services can be provided in General Education classrooms. If your child is eligible for Special Education services, parents can work with special educators to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP will outline your child’s educational needs and goals along with how services will be designed to address those needs.

How do I request an evaluation?

A parent may request an evaluation at any time. However, a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether or not the child is eligible for special education services is only required if a child is suspected of having a disability that impacts them at school.

All evaluation requests should be in writing.

Requesting an Initial Evaluation for Special Education Eligibility will explain the evaluation process in more detail.

If the school denies the request, then the parent should request an explanation in writing.

You can learn more about IEPs and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the law that creates, funds, and provides special education guidelines, on the ASK website:

http://askresource.org/resources/iep/

You may refer to the following ASK Newsletters for more details specific to Evaluation:

Understanding the Evaluation Process, Part 1 – Winter 2012

Understanding the Evaluation Process, Part 2 – Winter, 2012

Hit the comments with your personal evaluation stories, or with questions you may have regarding evaluation. We will answer your questions in upcoming blogs. 

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