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Expert Q&A

How can I get the independent evaluator who tested my son to remain involved in the IEP process if the school does not want her involved?

Hello Mr. Cohen,

I am the parent of a child diagnosed with PDD-NOS and ADHD. He is in second grade with a history of behavioral issues. We just completed an IEE in which a comprehensive FBA was completed by an excellent professional.

I wanted the professional to continue working with the IEP team to ensure appropriate IEP development, implementation, and documentation of behavioral issues as well as training for the staff. The special education director indicated that her role was strictly to do the FBA as part of the IEE and that her role ends there.

For two years, this school has struggled with providing FAPE for my son. I want her to continue her work through the IEP. The school disagrees…now what?

Thank you, Catherine

Dear Catherine:

From your question, I presume that the school district paid for the independent evaluation. Unfortunately, an independent evaluation at district expense does not typically involve an ongoing commitment from the evaluator and there is nothing in the IDEA provision regarding independent evaluations (either at district expense or your expense) that requires the ongoing involvement of the evaluator. However, there is nothing legally to prevent you from asking for the evaluator to remain involved or to prevent the school from agreeing to it, or even having the district pay for it.

If the school is not willing to agree to pay for the outside expert’s continued involvement, you have several options. One is to see if the evaluator is willing to be hired directly by you to provide some type of continuing consultation, though his/her ability to work within the school would be constrained by the school’s willingness to cooperate.

Another option is to seek a due process hearing over the failure of the school to provide a free and appropriate education to your child generally and/or to adequately consider and implement the findings and recommendations of the evaluator.

Hopefully, if you requested a hearing, the school might conclude that it was made more sense to pay for the evaluator to remain involved than to have an expensive fight over whether they should be involved. However, you should consult a knowledgeable attorney to fully assess the situation.

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