"I think my child may need Special Education services, what do I do next?"
If you think that your child has a disability and needs special education, you should ask your school to evaluate your child's need for special education services.
- Put your request for evaluation in writing.
This request should be in writing and should include your consent for evaluation. Sending a letter will document your request for evaluation of your child and will establish a time line for services to begin should your child be eligible.
In Mississippi, the school district has 60 days from the date you, the parent, sign the consent to evaluation to determine if the child qualifies for services.
It is helpful if you provide any supporting documentation you may have such as I.Q.test, psychological evaluations, communication evaluations and hearing and vision assessments
"What happens after I submit my request in writing?"
If your school decides not to conduct an evaluation for your child, you must be given notice of the reasons why an evaluation will not be provided and your right to appeal this decision.
- If the school decides not to conduct an evaluation:
You will have to give your consent in writing. Your informed consent to conduct the first evaluation for your child is required before evaluation can begin.
- If the school decides to conduct an evaluation:
Informed consent means that you understand what your school is going to do regarding the evaluation of your child. To be fully informed, you should ask the school what assessments and evaluations will be performed for your child's evaluation.
You have the opportunity to participate in any meetings with your school for the purposes of determining if your child is eligible for special education, evaluation, where your child will receive services, and the provision of an appropriate education to your child.
As part of the initial evaluation of your child, the evaluation team is required to develop an evaluation plan that will review existing information available about your child. This can include information you provide, classroom assessments and observations, and information about interventions tried and their success. The evaluation plan must also determine what additional information is needed to determine if your child is eligible for special education.
The evaluation team must determine whether your child meets the eligibility criteria for special education.
CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF ELIGIBLE DISABILITY CATEGORIES UNDER IDEA
"What if I disagree with the evaluation done on my child?"
If you disagree with an evaluation conducted by your school you can pursue an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE). You may choose the evaluator as long as the evaluator meets your school's criteria for IEEs. Your school must either pay for the IEE or file for an impartial due process hearing and prove that its evaluation was appropriate.
If your school wins this hearing you will be responsible for the cost of the IEE.