Special Education Evaluation Process

 

10 Basic Steps in Special Education

There's a lot to know about the process by which children are identified as having a disability and in need of special education and related services. This brief overview is an excellent place to start. Here, they have distilled the process into 10 basic steps.

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Parent Orientation to Special Education

This video from the Heartland Area Education Agency offers a brief overview and introductory information for families who are new to the Special Education process.

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Special Education Process

Understanding the Special Education Process - An Overview for Parents: This chart offers an overview of the special education process. It shows what happens from the time a child is referred for evaluation and is identified as having a disability, through the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

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Sample Letter Requesting an Evaluation for Special Education Eligibility

In Iowa, the initial evaluation process to determine eligibility for special education services begins with the suspicion of a disability and/or per parent request. If a disability is suspected, a team of educators will seek informed parent consent and begin planning the full and individual Initial Evaluation. During this comprehensive evaluation, the team gathers and documents data about a student's progress and needs. The team also looks at how the student's levels of performance and progress compare to those of classmates or same aged peers. At the end of the initial evaluation, the evaluation team will meet with the parent(s)to review the information gathered during evaluation and determine if a student is eligible for special education.

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The Suspicion of a Disability - The First Step in the Special Education Evaluation Process

In Iowa, the first step when an evaluation has been requested for a student is for a team to decide if there might be a disability that is impacting educational performance or if there is enough reason to move forward with the evaluation process. If there is enough evidence that a disability is suspected then the team should move forward with the evaluation process.

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Independent Educational Evaluations

In Iowa, evaluations for special education eligibility are usually done by Area Education Agency personnel, together with the educators at your child's school. However, parents have the right to other options if they believe the information described in the Educational Evaluation Report (EER) is incorrect or incomplete.

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La Evaluación Gratuita de Niños

Cada Estado debe identificar, localizar y evaluar a todos los niños con discapacidades que necesitan educación especial y servicios relacionados. Esta página describe el proceso de obtener y participar en una evaluación gratuita de un niño sospechado de tener una discapacidad o retraso en el desarrollo.

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Reevaluation

When a child has an IEP, the federal law requires IEP teams to consider reevaluating the student at least every 3 years. Parents can also request that their child be reevaluated up to once per year. This is most often helpful when there are new issues coming up at school related to the disability or the child has received a new diagnosis that may impact him or her at school.

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Sample Letter Requesting a Re-Evaluation

In order to ensure students continue to be eligible to receive special education services and that their unique educational needs are being appropriately met, IDEA requires that re-evaluations of at a least every three years. The reevaluation process includes the review of existing information and if necessary, or requested, the collection of additional information.

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Medical and Educational Models - Why and how they are different

It is helpful to understand that sometimes the difference between medical and educational recommendations for the same student is due to different standards and obligations, not because of wrong data or bad intent. The medical recommendations that are made by doctors and therapists are always going to aim for the maximum growth, but could be limited by insurance approval. The school IEP team is not obligated to provide services that will maximize a student's potential but instead must provide students with disabilities with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

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Performance Domains - Areas to consider for Special Education evaluations

Both the initial evaluation and reevaluation include testing and observations requiring parent consent. The student should be evaluated in all areas - referred to as performance domains - related to the disability or area of concern. Performance domains are the skill areas in which a student can be evaluated; they provide a framework for consideration of the individual's instructional needs. The seven performance domains are: academic, behavior, physical, health, hearing/vision, adaptive, and communication.

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