Requesting a Special Education Eligibility Evaluation

IEP Guide

In the excerpt below from Autism Speaks Guide to Individualized Education Programs, experts share information about how to request an evaluation if you have concerns about your child:

If you or your child’s pediatrician know or believe that your child may have an autism spectrum disorder  or if you otherwise believe your child is having  difficulty in school, then you can formally request for your child to have a special education evaluation through the special education administrator of your child’s school. Your school district may also initiate  a special education eligibility evaluation, however, you do not need to wait for this to occur.

In advance or in addition, you may decide to pursue a private evaluation (i.e., one conducted by a private  practitioner and not through the school district), particularly if you have requested a special education eligibility evaluation and your school district has not accommodated this request in a timely manner. If you pursue a private evaluation, be sure to check with your insurance provider to determine if the cost of such private evaluation will be covered. Your consent is required prior to any evaluation.

Your school district should send you an evaluation plan including the names of any tests that will be used in the  evaluation, an area for you to suggest additional methods of evaluation and a space for you to provide written approval or disapproval of the evaluation plan.

To prepare for the initial eligibility evaluation, you should gather all relevant information, including:

  1. feedback from your child’s teacher regarding your child’s development and behavior in the classroom and any recommendations your child’s teacher may have to address your child’s needs;
  2. input and medical records from your child’s pediatrician relating to your child’s development;
  3. speak with other parents that have children with autism spectrum disorders to find out information on how your school district is addressing the needs of other similarly situated children; and
  4. obtain your child’s school records (i.e., report cards, medical data, attendance records, disciplinary reports, testing data, evaluations, teacher comments, school photos) – make this  request in writing and retain a copy for your  records

Read more about the eligibility evaluation and other steps in the IEP process in the Autism Speaks IEP Guide.