Allowing Evaluations Despite Distrust

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When you disagree with your school district about your child’s needs – and dialogue between you and the school gets tense, it is easy to distrust the school. And you usually have reason to distrust them. They often lie, deceive, delay, and manipulate parents in order to withhold services.

It can be tempting to refuse to allow your district to evaluate your child at a triennial or other evaluation they may suggest. You may fear that they will manipulate the data or the tests themselves. This is understandable. I recommend against refusing to allow an evaluation for a few reasons:

If the staff is competent, you can often get good information from school evals. You can bring them to a private evaluator and ask for his or her thoughts based on the information from the school. Often an outside professional can glean valuable information from reviewing the current evaluations which will support your desires for your child.

Also, if, for any reason, you don’t agree with the school’s evaluations, you are entitled to an Independent Educational Evaluation at the school’s expense. This Independent evaluation can be invaluable in obtaining unbiased and crucial information about your child to help develop a good IEP.

Finally, if your disagreement goes to a due process hearing, parents who don’t allow the school adequate access to your child to obtain information, often will not prevail because they are perceived by the hearing officer as uncooperative, obstructing the school’s ability to understand your child’s needs.

Don’t be afraid to let your school district evaluate your child. Even if they have been devious and deceptive. You are not giving away power to them – but gaining more ammunition to create a strong, compelling case for your child.

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