Parents Requesting an Initial Evaluation for Special Education

Who is Eligible for Special Education Services?

To be eligible for special education, a child must have a disability and must need special education services and related services. If a child has a disability but does not need special education services, the child is not eligible for special education under IDEA but may be eligible for protections under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

As a parent, guardian or advocate, you have a legal right to request that your public school evaluate your child for special education. Federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as amended in 2004 (IDEA), gives you that legal right. Parents may request an evaluation in writing, with copies to the principal and the school district’s director or coordinator of special education.

ASK Resource Center provides an excellent resource for parents requesting an initial evaluation including a sample letter to the school district.

Click here to access the PDF!

At Turning Point Assessments, we are often asked by parents to provide an independent assessment in addition to the one done at the school. We always inform parents of their rights according to IDEA and how our services differ from those provided in the school setting. When an IEP assessment is in progress, we coordinate with the school to supplement their testing. Our assessments can dig deeper into other co-occurring conditions, explore the cognitive or neurodevelopmental underpinnings of the problem, and provide a diagnosis that can lead to services not be covered by IDEA. Some parents seek out our services instead of the school IEP assessment. In these cases, we provide the testing and assessment required by IDEA and also do a “differential” assessment to rule out other possible causes or co-occurring conditions. Parents are able to take our assessment back to the school to help determine what supports are possible as a result.

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