Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > School and Learning > Learning Differences > Special Education > Special Education Laws > Special Education Evaluations and the Law
|

Special Education Evaluations and the Law

Your school system, under IDEA and its state counterparts, is required to fully evaluate any child who may need special education services ""in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities."" (34 CFR Sec. 300.532)

Before the school does so, and before providing or changing special education services, it must notify you in writing. For the first evaluation and placement, schools must also obtain parental consent. IDEA's requirements for parental consent vary depending on whether the LEA is seeking an initial evaluation or a reevaluation and on whether the parents affirmatively respond to a request for consent, simply do not respond, or cannot be located.

IDEA (20 USC Ch 33 Sec 1414 (c)(3)) provides that an LEA must ""obtain informed parental consent . . . prior to conducting any re-evaluation of a child with a disability, except that such informed parent consent need not be obtained if the local educational agency can demonstrate that it had taken reasonable measures to obtain such consent and the child's parent has failed to respond.""

Thus, while an LEA may proceed to re-evaluate without parental consent, that is true only if it has first taken reasonable, documentable measures to obtain consent. This means the LEA must be able to show documents such as records of attempts to call the parents, correspondence to and from the parents, and/or records of visits to the parents' home or place(s) of employment. (Per 34 C.F.R. sec. 300.345(d)) If parents do respond, but affirmatively refuse to consent to the LEA's re-evaluation, the LEA would have to seek an order to override the parents' refusal to consent. (34 C.F.R. sec. 300.505(b))

For an initial evaluation, it appears that even with documentable reasonable efforts to obtain consent, if the parents do not respond, the LEA cannot go ahead with the evaluation without further steps. In that case, if the reason consent could not be obtained is that the parents cannot be identified or located, presumably the LEA could seek the appointment of an educational surrogate (see 20 U.S.C. sec. 1415(b)(2)), or seek an order from the due process agency (presumably, this would be a ""matter relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child"" and thus within the agency's jurisdiction.) If parents respond but refuse to consent to the initial evaluation, the LEA can seek an order from the due process agency to permit the evaluation. (34 C.F.R. sec. 300.505(b))

Your never-ending role

As a parent, you must make sure that all areas of possible need are assessed as quickly as possible. While some parents would rather not allow their school system to evaluate their child, a refusal to cooperate at this stage of the process can backfire if you need to ask for more or for different services later. It may also affect your ability to have the school system pay for an independent evaluation.



Next: Due process >>
|


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!