Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
May 18, 2005


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Issue - 310
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue


1. Message from the Editor: Evaluations & IEEs

2. My Child is Being Evaluated - What Tests Should I Request?

3. Independent Educational Evaluations: What? Why? Who Pays?

4. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004

5. Your Requests for Help

6. Can We Get an IEE by an Evaluator of Our Choice?

7. What Parents Need to Know about Evaluations

8. Mistakes Independent Evaluators Make

9. Wrightslaw Programs in MI & Hawaii

10. Subscription & Contact Info
 

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At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the changing world of special education.

Highlights: Child will be evaluated - what tests should parent request?; independent educational evaluations - what? why? who pays?; coming soon - Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004; your requests for help; can parents get an IEE by an evaluator of their choice; what parents need to know about evaluations; mistakes independent evaluators make; Wrightslaw programs in MI & HI.

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free - please forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and colleagues so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. We appreciate your help!
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. Newsletters Published in 2005


1. Message from the Editor: Evaluations & IEEs

Many parents and teachers have questions about tests and evaluations. In this issue, we answer your questions about evaluations and independent educational evaluations (IEEs), test selection, how to get an independent evaluation by an evaluator of your choice, mistakes independent evaluators make, requests for help, and more.


2. My Child is Being Evaluated - What Tests Should I Request? by Pat Howey

"I think my child has a learning disability - what tests should I request?"

"My child has Down Syndrome - what tests should I request?"

You decided to get an independent evaluation of your child. How can you find a good evaluator? What tests should you request? What mistakes and pitfalls should you be aware of? How can you avoid them?

In My Child is Being Evaluated - What Tests Should I Request?, Pat Howey offers advice about evaluations, test selection, state laws governing evaluations of children with special educational needs, and the special responsibilities and duties of advocates. Read article.

More articles by Pat Howey.

Answers to more frequently asked questions.


3. Independent Educational Evaluations: What? Why? Who Pays? by Wayne Steedman, Esq.

Parents and school personnel are often confused about what constitutes an independent educational evaluation (IEE) and how the evaluation should be used.

In Independent Educational Evaluations: What? How? Why? Who Pays?, attorney Wayne Steedman describes independent educational evaluations, the value of IEEs for parents and school personnel, what the law requires, and who is financially responsible. Read article.

More articles by Wayne Steedman.

Learn more about tests and evaluations.


4. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004

Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004 (ISBN: 1-892320-05-3) is the new publication by Pete and Pam Wright that will be published this summer (2005) by Harbor House Law Press.

Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004 includes the full text of Parts A and B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004), extensive commentary, strategies, changes from IDEA 97, and cross-references. The format, layout, and statutory explanations are similar to Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind.

Subscribers to The Special Ed Advocate newsletter will receive advance notice before Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004 is available to the public. Watch your email box - we'll keep you posted.

Learn more about IDEA 2004.

More Wrightslaw publications - and one cool DVD!


5. Your Requests for Help

"I'm from New York. I need an advocate who can help me get a better program for my child. Can you help?"

"I need to find a good ABA program in Texas? Can you help?"

"I need to get an evaluation of my child - Please held me find a good evaluator?"

Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

To answer your requests for help, we built Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities for every state and territory.

Your state Yellow Pages includes listings for psychologists, educational diagnosticians, therapists, health care providers, academic tutors, special education schools, advocates, attorneys, support and study groups, and others who provide services to parents and children.

If you are looking for help, please visit the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities!


6. Can We Get an Independent Evaluation by an Evaluator of Our Choice?

"I am not satisfied with the school evaluation of my child - the evaluator minimized problems and did not make recommendations about services. When I requested an independent educational evaluation, the school said I have to use an evaluator from their "approved list." Is this true?"

No. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act includes procedural safeguards to protect the rights of children and their parents. These procedural safeguards include the right to examine all records, participate in meetings, and the right to an independent educational evaluation:

"An opportunity for the parents of a child with a disability to examine all records relating to such child and to participate in meetings with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child, and the provision of a free appropriate public education to such child, and to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child." 20 U.S.C. § 1415(b)(1).

The procedural safeguard about independent educational evaluations did not change when the IDEA was reauthorized. Learn more about IDEA 2004

Advocacy Strategies

When you read the law, you saw that it included the right "to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child." The law does not require parents to use an evaluator approved by the school. But you do not want to start a war over this issue. Here are two strategies you can use to deal with the "approved evaluator list" issue.

In response to school policies requiring parents to select an evaluator from a list of "approved evaluators," the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) published a Policy Letter clarifying that parents have the right to choose their independent evaluator. If your team claims parents must select an evaluator from an "approved list", provide team members with copies of this Policy letter from the U. S. Department of Education. Be polite.

Tip: This strategy will be more effective if you download and print the policy letter from the U. S. Department of Education website.

In How to Compromise with Your School District Without Compromising Your Child, parent attorney Gary Mayerson (who represented the family in Zachary Deal v. Hamilton County TN and other cases) describes a strategy parents can use to get an independent evaluation by an evaluator of their choice. The strategy uses a letter that you can tailor to your circumstances. Read Mr. Mayerson's strategy.

Learn more about Mr. Mayerson's book,
How to Compromise with Your School District Without Compromising Your Child

More advocacy strategies to resolve problems.


7. Evaluations: What Parents Need to Know

Why Parents Should Get a Comprehensive Evaluation from an Independent Evaluator - Pete & Pam Wright describe benefits of a comprehensive evaluation by an independent evaluator.

What You Should Know About Evaluations
by Bob Crabtree, Esq. "As a parent, you must make sure that all areas of possible need are assessed as quickly as possible. While some parents would rather not allow their school system to evaluate their child, a refusal to cooperate at this stage of the process can backfire . . . "

Measuring Progress: Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Educator, Advocate & Attorney. To successfully negotiate for special ed services that provide educational benefit, you need to know how to interpret test scores. (To ensure that you have the graphics in this article, print the article from the screen.) What do standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, and age and grade equivalents mean?

More articles.


8. Mistakes People Make: Independent Evaluators by Bob Crabtree, Esq.

To make their case for services or a specific program for their child, parents need a competent, credible independent evaluator. Mistakes by evaluators can make undermine their credibility or render their opinions useless. To learn about mistakes independent evaluators should avoid, read Mistakes People Make: Independent Evaluators by parent attorney Bob Crabtree.

Learn more about parent advocacy in Advocacy 101.

9. Coming Up! Wrightslaw Programs in Michigan & Hawaii

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training Programs focus on four areas: special education laws including significant changes in IDEA 2004; how to use the bell curve to measure educational progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and advocacy tactics & strategies.

Oakland Schools, Waterford, MI - May 24, 2005 (Special Education Law & Advocacy Training) - Attorney Wayne Steedman and advocate Pat Howey present a full-day Wrightslaw training program - NEW!

Hilo, HI - July 29, 2005 - LDA Conference (Keynote Speakers & Presenters)

Hilo, HI - July 30-31, 2005 - Boot Camp

Schedule l Programs l Speakers l FAQs


10. Subscription & Contact Info

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.

Law Library Seminars & Training
Advocacy Yellow Pages for Kids
No Child Left Behind Free Newsletter
IDEA 2004 Newsletter Archives

Contact Info
Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com


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