Data is so very important, but do not just accept data given to you for data sake. Any information shared to about your child’s progress should be evident across multiple settings (e.g. school, home, evaluators, unfamiliar observers, etc.) not just in the classroom or testing environment. If this is not the case, it is fair to question the reliability of the data being shared and in that the assessment and/or the assessor.
Over the course of my girls’ schooling there have been times when my husband and I disagreed with evaluations conducted by the district and believed additional examination was warranted by an outside evaluator. In order to accomplish this we requested Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) at public expense so that we could obtain a comprehensive view of where the girls’ skills actually stood.
A request for an IEE must be made in writing to your district’s Director of Special Services (or its equivalent) the specific evaluations you want. I also recommend you copy your child’s case manager as well. Once received your district has 20 days to respond to your request and then after that 45 days to complete evaluations. If your request for an IEE is initially is denied, the district is required to file for a due process hearing and convenience an administrative law judge (ALJ) that the IEE is not appropriate.
In my most recent experience with IEEs, I provided the names and contact information of the professionals I wanted to conduct my daughter’s evaluations after my request for IEEs was accepted. (Note: The district can provide you with names of evaluators also, but you do not have to choose one from their list). From there a district representative contacted the evaluators for copies of their credentials (i.e. resume’, certifications and degrees) and other information needed for payment once the evaluations were completed. Once this portion of the process was done I was free to have the evaluations completed.
In my opinion IEEs have been invaluable in shaping my daughters’ programming at critical junctures in their development. If you have doubts regarding the data being used to shape your child’s programming, I encourage you to consider the completion of your own independent educational evaluations. If your child has been denied special educational services but you disagree based on your own observations, then it is appropriate to request IEEs.
For us, the IEEs we have had done have served as resources to not only us as parents advocating for our children, but also the entire child study team which moves forward with the charge to provide our children with a free and appropriate education. I share this last part with you because I want to make sure that I convey the idea that well executed IEEs are of benefit to everyone working to educate your child.