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Lulu:  Can I choose Independent Educational Consultatn?

3.5 years old with ASD, got rejected with IEP (MA district). The district conducted eval on Speech, OT, Behavior observation and Developmental. IEE on Overall psychological eval and OT conducted by Children Hospital (private expense) was performed and shared. Report recommended IEP. The district not consider recommendation cause educational vs medical. He is in integrated classroom as typical child.The district offered to fund an independent educational consultant to do classroom observation. I requested to have someone to perform the classroom observation (a referral from a friend) but the district provided me with a particular person who has Phd in Neuro physiologist. Do I have a choice?

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Jill G
01/11/2016 5:42 pm

That depends. Did the school conduct an initial evaluation? Was an observation similar to the one they are proposing conducted as part of this?

If no, then my thinking is that you would NOT have a right to choose the evaluator. But this observation would be considered the school’s evaluation, and you would still retain your right to an independent evaluation at public expense if you disagreed with the outcome of it (where you could choose the evaluator).

If the answer is yes, the school did conduct a similar observation already, then you DO have the right to choose the evaluator. This would be considered your independent evaluation, and you can choose whom you want to conduct it as long as they accept the “state rate.”

Jill G
01/11/2016 5:42 pm

I want to go back to the question of the initial evaluation. Did you ask for and did they complete a full initial evaluation before finding your child not eligible for special education? Or did they just rely on the information that you provided?

If the answer to the first question is no, do ask that they complete one now. Massachusetts gives districts little leeway when it comes to parent requests for initial evaluations.

If the answer to the second question is yes, then this is improper unless you gave them permission to not conduct additional testing. You can now go and ask them to complete additional evaluations.

Jill G
01/11/2016 5:42 pm

Your question (and my response) clearly has a lot of variables. I encourage you to reach out to your local parent center ( to help you navigate this, if you have not already.

You can also contact Program Quality Assurance Services ( They can answer technical questions about the law, and intervene informally if you get stuck. They are also whom you would file a state complaint with, if it came to that.

I would also suggest that, for future independent evaluations, you avoid Children’s – and Tufts and MGH. They provide great medical care (my son’s been a patient at Children’s for 10+ years), but – in my experience – schools just don’t seem to give their evaluations much weight.

01/11/2016 5:41 pm

Yes, you do have a choice. Make sure your person has the required license (probably needs to be licensed in your state). Check your district policy.