Response to Intervention Model: No Excuse for Delaying or Denying a Special Education Evaluation

The response to Intervention model is generally referred to as RTI. RTI is a multi-tiered instructional framework that is designed to be used building-wide with all students to identify struggling learners and students with behavior problems. Students receive research-based interventions based on their level of need in order to reduce disruptive and distracting behaviors and maximize student achievement across the board. Schools that have solid RTI programs in place are better able to assist their students in being successful and better able to identify students who may need specialized instruction due to some type of disability.

Some school districts mistakenly interpreted this new regulation of the 2004 amendment to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to use RTI in the assessment process, as a way to delay or deny evaluating children with potential disabilities for special education. As a result of this problem, the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) under the United States Department of Education wrote a memorandum to all of the states in November of 2007 addressing this issue. The memorandum clearly states, “The use of RTI strategies cannot be used to delay or deny the provision of a full and individual evaluation to a child suspected of having a disability”.

What this means is that a school district cannot tell a parent that they cannot evaluate their child until they either begin implementing or see the results of the RTI process. After a parent formally requests for their child to be evaluated for special education, if the school district agrees that the child may have a disability that requires special education they must obtain parental permission to formally evaluate the child and begin the process. RTI may continue to be used during the assessment process to assess the child’s response to multiple interventions. The school district may deny evaluating the child, if they believe the child is not a child with a disability but they must write a letter of explanation as to why they are not evaluating the child and what information was used to make this decision. At this point, if the parents still disagrees and wants an evaluation for their child they can request a due process hearing.

The RTI model is an excellent tool used to incorporate more research-based strategies into the school system to increase student’s overall performance, both academically and behaviorally. The concept of a tiered model with different interventions based on the individual needs of the students is a sound educational practice. For example, children who struggle with math computation are struggling for different reasons and at different levels, so using a multi-tiered framework to address the needs of these students make sense. Many children are benefiting greatly from the use of good RTI models. The most important factor, as it relates to children with suspected disabilities, is that the implementation of RTI may not be used to delay or deny initial evaluation for special education.

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Special Education – How to Use an Independent Educational Evaluation to Benefit Your Child

Do you have a child with a learning disability or with autism that is
not making academic progress, even though they are getting special
education services? Would you like to know what educational and
related services your child needs in order to learn how to read, or do
other academics? This article will discuss what an Independent
Educational Evaluation (IEE) is, and how you can use one to benefit
your child with a disability.

The definition of an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) is:

An independent educational evaluation is an evaluation conducted by a
qualified person, who does not work for the school district. Parents
of children with a disability often get IEE’s so that they understand
what educational needs their child has and what services they require.
Most independent evaluations are parent initiated and paid for by the
parent.

Once you have decided to get an IEE, there are several things to
consider about the evaluator:

a. Make sure that they are qualified to perform the educational
evaluation. For Example: a registered Occupational Therapist could
conduct an Occupational Therapy evaluation. If sensory processing
disorder (used to be called sensory integration disorder) is an issue,
make sure that you find a registered Occupational Therapist who is
SIPT certified. If your child has autism, make sure the evaluator
specializes in educational evaluations for children with all types of
autism.

b. Whether this person is now, or ever has been an employee of
your school district. Talk to the person, and make sure that they do
not have a relationship with your school district. Be careful, even if
they used to work for another school district, make sure they are
truly independent, and willing to make recommendations for what your
child needs.

c. Make sure that the evaluator is willing to write a detailed
report, to include recommendations for related and educational
services. Ask the evaluator if they are willing to recommend specific
amount of minutes of service and specific methodology for educational
and related services. If they are not, consider going to a different
evaluator.

Once you have answered these questions, make an appointment and take
your child. Bring up any concerns that you have, and make sure that
you understand what tests will be conducted on your child. When the
report is finished, have the evaluator mail a copy to you. If you have
concerns about what is written, you may contact the evaluator and tell
them your concerns. Make sure recommendations are specific for
minutes, #of times per week, goals, methodology, etc.

Call the school district and set up an IEP meeting to discuss the
results of the IEE. If they request a copy up front, you can give it
to them. If possible, set up with the evaluator, a time that she or he
can participate in the IEP meeting by telephone. By having the
evaluator participate, special education personnel will have a harder
time not including the evaluators recommendations.

At the IEP meeting, if the school personnel will not put the
recommendations in your child’s IEP, they must give you prior written
notice (PWN), as to why they are not willing to accept, the evaluators
recommendations. This notice must include the reason that they are not
accepting the recommendations, and what evaluations they are using to
refuse. If at the IEP meeting the school personnel do include the
recommendations, ask for reimbursement of the independent educational
evaluation.

An independent educational evaluation can be invaluable to your child.
By understanding what your child’s educational and related needs are,
you may be a more effective advocate, for needed educational and
related services. If your child does not receive an appropriate
education their future may be in jeopardy!

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Independent Educational Evaluation – How and When to Request One

An independent educational evaluation is often referred to as an IEE. One of your parental rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is that you have the right to request an IEE at public expense if you believe that an assessment completed by the school district during the eligibility or re-eligibility process is inaccurate or invalid. The district has a choice at this point to file for a due process hearing or provide the parents with a list of approved independent evaluators. The parents do not have to pick from this list of providers but if they pick another provider the provider must have certain credentials.

Some parents misinterpret this law and go out and get assessments and bring them to IEP meetings and expect them to be paid for and adhered to. This is not how the process works. First, the school district personnel or contractors the school district hires must complete an assessment on your child. Then the assessment, which should include recommendations, must then be presented and explained to you. Finally, if you have a significant reason to believe that the school district’s assessment is invalid or inaccurate you may state that and request an IEE at public expense.

The school district may ask you why you are requesting an IEE but they may not require you to explain your rationale and they must quickly make a decision on how to act upon your request. The district will either give you a list of approved Independent Evaluators or if the school district feels strongly that their assessment is valid and appropriate and they have the documentation to prove that, they may choose to file a for a due process hearing. If it is determined at the due process hearing that the assessment is appropriate, the parents are still able to obtain an IEE, but not at the public’s expense.

Some school districts attempt to put pressure on parents to pick from their specified list of evaluators. In February 2004 the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) addressed this issue in a letter that states, “other than establishing these criteria (for the location and credentials of the evaluator), a public agency may not impose conditions or timelines related to a parent obtaining an IEE at public expense.” The criteria required are the same ones used by the school district. For example, if the school district requires that a Master’s level social worker complete the assessment in question, then the parents have to find a Master’s level social worker to do the IEE. If you have any questions about whether a certain practitioner meets the criteria check with the Special Education Office prior to getting the IEE.

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6 Important Things to Know About Special Education – Independent Evaluations at Public Expense

Are you the parent of a young child that you believe may have autism, but special education personnel disagree? Was your child recently tested, by school personnel and you disagree with the test results? Parents are entitled to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE’s) at Public expense, under certain circumstances. This article will discuss 6 things that you need to know about IEE’s at public expense.

An IEE is an Independent Educational Evaluation that is conducted by a qualified person who does not work for your school district.

Below are the 6 things that you must know about IEE’s at public Expense;

1. Parents are entitled to an IEE at public expense if they disagree with the school districts evaluation. You may disagree with the tests, how the tests were conducted, the results of the tests, or how the results of the tests were interpreted. If your child was tested and you believe that they have an undiagnosed disability, such as autism, then you would be entitled to an IEE at public expense.

Several areas of disagreement may be included in one IEE at public expense. For Example: If your child needs testing by a Neuro psychologist and an occupational therapy evaluation, these can be handled at the same time, though by different personnel.

2. School personnel may ask you what you disagree with, but they can not require you to answer.

3. If you ask for an IEE at public expense the school district has two choices; either pay for the evaluation, or file for a due process hearing to prove that their evaluation is correct. The problem is, that most states do not state how long special education personnel have to decide, which course they are going to take. If you feel that your school district is taking too much time making a decision, try filing a state complaint with your state special education department.

4. If special education personnel in your district, agree to pay for the IEE at public expense, they must pay for the entire evaluation.

5. In your request for an IEE at public expense include the qualifications that you want the evaluator to have. This is especially critical if you believe that your child needs to be seen by a Neuro psychologist; due to the cost of the evaluation.

Also include in the request the areas that you want tested. IDEA states that school personnel and parents must agree on areas to be tested, but does not state that they must agree on the tests. If the areas to be tested cannot be agreed upon, the school district should file for a due process hearing.

For Example: Because my child’s IQ dropped 40 points I am asking for a comprehensive independent evaluation conducted by a Neuro psychologist to include: testing for any undiagnosed disabilities or neurological problems, IQ testing, academic and functional level testing, adaptive behavior testing. I am also asking for an evaluation with a Registered Occupational Therapist because I disagree with the school’s evaluation.

6. School districts can make criteria for IEE’s at public expense but only under 2 circumstances. A. They must allow for parents to ask for a waiver of criteria if the situation warrants, and B. The criteria must not prevent the parent from getting an IEE at public expense.

An IEE at public expense can help diagnose undiagnosed disabilities, help you figure out what special education and related services your child needs, help you with placement recommendations etc. By knowing these important things about IEE’s at public expense, you will be able to help your child get the services that they need and deserve.

JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special education system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book “Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game.” The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled “The Special Education Spotlight” send an E mail to: [email protected] For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to: http://www.disabilitydeception.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/JoAnn_Collins/179260
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