Special Education/Evaluation


I have a preschooler transitioning to CSE
What is the procedure if a parent doesn't like the schools observation and wants a private one.
Must I pay myself first and then seek reimbursement.
These things are so expensive I cannot believe it.

Dear Tara,
Thank you so much for asking me about how a parent can request an independent evaluation.  

I am reframing the language in your quesetion from 'observation' to 'evaluation' because likely, you wanted an evaluation but maybe the school district only decided to do an observation.

At this link from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, you will see this is the definition and procedure for parents requesting an independent evaluation at public expense.  You must be ready for the school to file a hearing request against you, though.  Most of the time, I advise parents to have an expert like me review the evaluation to determine as best as possible whether it was appropriate.  Regardless, the school has to respond with either a YES where it pays for the evlauation, or it will file a hearing request to prove to the judge or hearing officer that the evaluation was correct.  In that case, you would either withdraw your reqeust or you would obtain an attorney and experts and go to the hearing to try to prevail.

The request can be in a letter format.  In my Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book, http://www.amazon.com/Special-Needs-Advocacy-Resource-Book/dp/1593633092
there is a sample letter for this purpose and much more.  

So here is the link and information you are seeking, I hope!  

Parent right to evaluation at public expense.

(1) A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency, subject to the conditions in paragraphs (b)(2) through (4) of this section.

(2) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the public agency must, without unnecessary delay, either--

(i) File a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or

(ii) Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense, unless the agency demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to Sec. Sec. 300.507 through 300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria.

(3) If the public agency files a due process complaint notice to request a hearing and the final decision is that the agency's evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense.

(4) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation, the public agency may ask for the parent's reason why he or she objects to the public evaluation. However, the public agency may not require the parent to provide an explanation and may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent educational evaluation at public expense or filing a due process complaint to request a due process hearing to defend the public evaluation.

(5) A parent is entitled to only one independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the public agency conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees."

Thank you so much for using this service!  I will be happy to answer a follow up question after you review this, and I wish you the best as you advocate for your child!  

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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