To be determined eligible for special education services, each student must be evaluated to determine if they have a disability; and, if so, are in need of specially designed instruction. IDEA requires that students referred for special education receive a non-discriminatory, multi-faceted evaluation. Evaluations must be conducted by a multidisciplinary team made up of professionals who bring a wide-range of perspectives and expertise to the evaluation. A student’s eligibility and need for specially designed instruction should not be determined based on only one source of information. Evaluations must be comprehensive and must use tools and strategies that are reliable and valid. Most students receive formal and informal assessments that measure:
- Cognitive Abilities (including intelligence)
- Academic Skills (achievement)
- Social/Emotional Competence (including behavior)
- Communications Skills
- Physical, Health and Medical Status
In addition, information from parents, teachers, state and school based assessments, as well as observations in school settings will be considered as part of a comprehensive evaluation. Students must be evaluated in all areas of suspected disability.
It is important to note that parents often obtain private evaluations that are not conducted by a multidisciplinary team, are not comprehensive, and do not include input from teachers. These evaluations must be considered by the ARD committee but may not provide adequate information regarding eligibility and programming. When this happens, the ARD Committee may recommend further evaluation.
If you feel that your child needs to be evaluated for special education eligibility, please contact your child’s teacher. Your child’s teacher will discuss your concerns and a meeting to address any needed supports prior to a referral for evaluation will be scheduled. You may also contact the campus administrator or the district’s Special Education Coordinator, Lisa Johnson, at firstname.lastname@example.org. All evaluations must be completed within 45 days of the school receiving your written consent for evaluation.