The parents or the school district may request an evaluation to determine if the student qualifies for special education services.
School districts must create an IEP for any "child with a disability." Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), a "child with a disability" must be found to have one of the following:
- intellectual disabilities,
- hearing impairments (including deafness),
- speech or language impairments,
- visual impairments (including blindness),
- serious emotional disturbance,
- orthopedic impairments,
- traumatic brain injury,
- specific learning disabilities, or
- other health impairments.
The child must need special education and related services due to their disability to qualify under the IDEA. "Other health impairments" may include anxiety, epilepsy, leukemia, Attention Deficit Disorder ("ADD"), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ("ADHD"). That a child has a high IQ or has progressed from grade to grade does not preclude them from being classified as a "child with a disability."
Evaluations conducted by public school districts are often perfunctory and may fail to incorporate adequate tests or provide the information necessary for the school to create an appropriate program for the child. If the parent disagrees with the evaluation, the IDEA allows parents to seek an independent educational evaluation ("IEE") at the school district's expense. The school district must then either ensure that the IEE is provided or contest the request in an administrative hearing.
The Law Office of Justin Shane can assist parents in obtaining obtaining an initial evaluation from the school district as well as seeking funding or reimbursement for an IEE from the school district.