When would I request an evaluation for special education services?
If your child has been consistently struggling in school, his or her problems may be due to a disability. If the school thinks your child may have a disability, they will contact you to request your written permission to evaluate your child. Under the IDEA, you also have the right to ask the school to evaluate your child. The purpose of the evaluation is to see if he or she has a disability and needs special education services. This evaluation is free of charge. (For more information on evaluation, see NICHCY’s publication, Your Child’s Evaluation).
If your child has been identified by your doctor or other professionals as having a disability, you will want to include this information in your letter to the school. You should also provide copies of any reports you have received that explain your child’s condition. If you decide to write the school and ask that your child be evaluated, here’s an example of what you may want to say.
Sample Letter 2: Requesting an Initial Evaluation
Today’s Date (include month, day, and year)
City, State, Zip Code
Daytime telephone number
Name of Principal or Special Education Administrator
Name of School
City, State, Zip Code
Dear (Principal’s or Administrator’s name),
I am writing to request that my son/daughter, (child’s name), be evaluated for special education services. I am worried that (child’s name) is not doing well in school and believe he/she may need special services in order to learn. (Child’s name) is in the ( _ ) grade at (name of school). (Teacher’s name) is his/her teacher.
Specifically, I am worried because (child’s name) does/does not (give a few direct examples of your child’s problems at school).
We have tried the following to help (child’s name): (If you or the school have done anything extra to help your child, briefly state it here).
I understand that I have to give written permission in order for (child’s name) to be evaluated. Before the evaluation begins, I have some questions about the process that I need to have answered (list any questions you may have). I would be happy to talk with you about (child’s name). You can send me information or call me during the day at (daytime telephone number). Thank you for your prompt attention to my request.
cc: your child’s principal (if letter is addressed to an administrator)
your child’s teacher(s)
Note: If your child has been identified as having a disability by professionals outside the school system, add the following sentence to the end of the first paragraph above:
(Child’s name) has been identified as having (name of disability) by (name of professional). Enclosed is a copy of the report(s) I have received that explains (child’s name) condition.
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Publication of this document is made possible through a Cooperative Agreement between the Academy for Educational Development and the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
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