Home > School and Learning > Learning Differences > Special Education > Special Education Laws > Special Education Evaluations and the Law
|

Special Education Evaluations and the Law

  • Once you have an excellent evaluator (or team of evaluators), stick with them. The more an expert sees of your child, the more convincing her recommendations will be. (Remember that the school system's experts -- the classroom teachers and other service providers -- see your child every day, while the independent evaluator normally only sees her for the time it takes to test her.)
  • Don't ask an independent evaluator for legal advice. Unless she has studied the decisions issued by courts and hearing officers and the rules and regulations that govern special education process, she can't advise you reliably on your options and strategies.
  • Be skeptical -- even of an indepedent evaluator's findings and recommendations. You know your child best. Remember that an evaluator sees her for brief, though intense, periods of time and can only get a snapshot. Also remember that the evaluator's advice is only as good as the information available to her. For example, if she suggests that a particular program would be a good fit for your child, find out how well the evaluator really knows the program: Has she seen it recently? Does she know what the program's population and/or staffing and/or approach is like?
  • Remember that special education law requires a school system to provide a ""free appropriate public education"" which must be provided, to the maximum extent appropriate, in the ""least restrictive environment"" (LRE). The preference for the LRE applies even in Massachusetts -- where state law requires that an IEP provide ""maximum feasible benefit."" Some independent evaluators are quick to assume that no school system can provide the kind of program she is recommending. Despite the evaluator's opinion, in most cases you will have to seriously evaluate the services available within the school system before having a chance to win an outside placement at a hearing. Accordingly, you should work with the evaluator to assess how much can happen right in your child's school system.


  • |


    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

    happy holidays

    Find gift ideas and
    party tips for every
    celebration.

    GO

    highlights

    Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Teachers
    Offer a genuine "thank you" to your child's teacher halfway through the school year. Give one of these extra-nice holiday gifts for teachers.

    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 Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
    Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

    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!