The purpose of a special education evaluation is to get a concrete, detailed understanding of the educational support your child needs.
This video from Alison Morris, a special education attorney at Cuddy Law Firm, explains what a special education evaluation should cover.
Special education evaluations should gather more comprehensive information than informal observations or impressions can provide.
An evaluation should include:
- A review of services that can address your child’s disability
- And a review of any other needs your child may have, even when there is no formal diagnosis of a condition
Special education evaluations come in two major types:
- Initial evaluations identify your child’s special needs for the first time. These can include numerous parts, such as physical evaluations, psychological evaluations, academic evaluations, speech language evaluations, attention assessments, behavior assessments, a social history compiled by you, evaluations on using assistive technologies, occupational therapy evaluations, eating evaluations, social skill assessments, assessments for upcoming transitions out of school, and classroom observations of how your child functions on a daily basis.
- Reevaluations to determine whether your child continues to need special education services. These should happen at least once every three years. They should repeat the evaluations you received initially or in the previous round, so you can check for changing needs. They should also include any new evaluations that reflect new needs your child may have.
Ultimately your child’s evaluation should identify the types of special education services and learning settings your child needs, so those resources can be outlined in your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
You’ll want to make sure to carefully read your child’s evaluations before you go into meetings to create their IEP. If you haven’t received evaluations that you know should be coming, ask the school district to provide them and give you time to study them, so you’ll be fully prepared for an IEP meeting.
For a full picture on getting the right evaluations for your child, watch the full video from Cuddy Law Firm, a national team of special education lawyers.