Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE): PRE-COLLEGE EVALUATIONS

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Libby:  My son who has a 2010 diagnosis of Aspergers and Movement Dx. First month of my senior year was August 2015. I know that he needs an updated diagnostic eval for college (disability services has spelled out it must be a real diagnosis that is no older than 3 yrs), so my bright idea was to request the IEE. However, since no eval had been done at all by anyone since 2010 the public school system asserted its right to do their own first. 11th Cir. has said they do have that right. The system admins disagreed with each other, one Superintendent wanting to give me the IEE with my choice of my own Neuropsychologist, and one of his subordinates wanting to deny my request. The subordinate went to the attorney for the system, who sent a certified letter saying the IEP committee had made the decision to deny my request. However, the Superintendent who was going to help me was told by that attorney he was “obligated to tell me no.” Feeling bullied into letting them do theirs first, I consented. Then my own evaluator brought up the problem that he’s been tested now and others will not be able to duplicate anything and measures would be limited due to what the school performed on him. I could potentially not be able to get him evaluated now for quite some time (time period unknown). He is applying to colleges, so this is a problem. I also wanted data from my neuropsychologist to help him this year as he’s had trouble with English class, almost failing.

I believe the attorney was butting into the IEP process making this decision for the county (as their agent), and then giving bad advice, in that they were “obligated to say no.” Are there ethical issues here, and what would be good strategy. I am looking at getting a diagnostic letter from my provider, but we are missing out on a meaningful IEE here, and I feel my child’s rights have been usurped.

  1. Regarding the testing, unless the school’s is truly inadequate, you would still be able to use it for college application/accommodation purposes.

    If you still want to have an evaluation by someone other than the school, the school’s evaluation would not prevent you from obtaining this. If this was the case, there would be no reason for IDEA to provide parents with the right to independent evaluations.

    A good independent evaluator would still be able to complete one of their own. They could find other tests to complete that the school did not use, and include in the report their own interpretations of the school’s data. If your evaluator says otherwise, maybe you should find a different one.

    • Hi Jill,
      My daughter just had a neuropsyche in 2015–specifically for college purposes as she is finishing up junior year. We paid for it as I was not going to take any chances with a public school evaluation. I had carefully researched what colleges needed for documentation–and talked with several college disability student support centers across the country over a three year period. There are certain documentation requirements for college accommodations which must be met. I would advise parents and students to carefully research and talk to college disability centers. I don’t discount public school evaluations but one should do a lot of research when it comes to college accommodations.

      • You’re is spot on!

        For students with disabilities who may or are planning to go to college, their transition planning should most definitely include researching the type of documentation needed to apply and the type of services that may be provided – for each prospective college.

        This can certainly be a transition-related goal in the IEP. I personally believe the student should take a lead on it, with help of parents, school guidance, a vocational rehabilitation counselor, etc.

  2. Libby –

    I think yours is an interesting post.

    First, the school has no obligation to provide you with either an in-house evaluation or independent evaluation if the purpose of the data is for anything other than finding you child eligible for special education or developing the IEP. This includes “pre-college” evaluations.

    I also don’t think that the attorney usurped any rights. The superintendent and “system administrators” were already involved in the discussion, and I’m assuming they’re not part of you’re IEP Team. In any case, it sounds like the attorney was giving the district guidance about their responsibilities, which is the attorneys role. But if you truly feel your rights were violated, you can certainly file a state complaint.

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