My 10-year-old 4th grader will be in a new, grade-level building, in a gifted and talented classroom. He has been diagnosed severely ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and Tourettes. His doctor recommended a parapro in the classroom but the school principal said, “We don’t have the ability to provide a para.”
What is the obligation of the school to make that happen? Should I fight the school?
Should I get a private evaluation?
What would you advise…?
Sharon says: “I believe an evaluation should be done, but I would not pay for an outside evaluation. You should request an evaluation from the school. Sign their consent form immediately.
The 60 day requirement to get the testing done does not start until their consent form is signed.
When the test is complete you will sit down with the team and go over the results. Your son may test into getting help. If you do not like the results of the testing (you can request the results of the test ahead of time before the meeting to review with professionals) you do not have to sign. You can then request an outside evaluation be performed at the school’s expense. The school will give you places to go for the test but you can pick your own tester. This will usually get what you need for your child.”
Morning questions: “I agree with what you are saying about waiting for the school to evaluate. It is the proper procedure. In most cases, it does work.
Some parents with older kids cannot wait for failing schools to act as there is less time for help children in the higher grades.
For some parents, taking action and control by paying for outside evaluations on their own will wake-up schools systems that would have stalled or not provide the right services.
As a parent of an older child, I cannot afford to wait. I have been very successful getting her needs met with that strategy and collaboration with the school district.
I worked in school systems and see them fail many students who have independent evaluations so I don’t play around. Your advice is sound and my case may be individualized just to my child.”
David1 recommends: “If you have not already read From Emotions to Advocacy, I highly recommend it. I would never agree to a parent fighting the public school for their child’s education. You never hear of a fight where both participants win and a child’s education is a risky thing to put on the line.
My wife and I purchased this book as well as the Special Education Law book. We began learning how to advocate for our son when he was in middle school.
He currently has a 3.87 GPA in college and is his own advocate these days. It is worthwhile to understand the difference between a 504 and an IEP and the book talks about the importance of SMART goals in an IEP.
Wrightslaw suggests: “A comprehensive evaluation by an expert in the private sector is important because the evaluations used to make educational decisions must contain accurate information about what your child really needs – including changes that need to be made in curriculum, teaching methods, and/or school structure.
Often, the only people who will provide this information are experts in the private sector, independent of the school district.
We recommend that parents ask the evaluator to attend the IEP meeting to discuss their findings, explain their recommendations re: the type of program the child needs, and to answer other questions. It’s more difficult for the team to consider, then ignore, an evaluation when the person is sitting at the table with them. Read Why Parents Should Get a Comprehensive Evaluation by an Independent Evaluator.”
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