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.


  • |


    highlights

    Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
    Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

    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!

    10 Best Outdoor Toys of 2015
    Looking for an amazing toy that will keep your child playing outside until the sun goes down? See our picks for 10 hot new outdoor toys for all ages.

    Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
    Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

    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 Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

    editor’s picks