July 12, 2018
Do you suspect your child may need special education services due to a disability but the school district has not yet evaluated your child for special education services?
With the new school year quickly approaching, many parents may feel overwhelmed and have concerns regarding his or her child’s educational performance and progress in school. Parents of a special needs student may even experience the additional pressures of advocating adequately on the child’s behalf so that he or she may get the extra help at school in order to make academic progress.
For parents of a child diagnosed with a mental or physical impairment that HAVE NOT been found eligible yet for special education or for a 504 Plan, you will want to begin with a request to evaluate. A parent must submit a written request to the school district for his or her child to be evaluated.
After the school district receives the parent/guardian’s written request to evaluate, an evaluation must be completed within 80 days of parental consent. If the school district does not agree to evaluate the child, the district must provide the parent with written notification of their refusal to evaluate and the parent may then file a complaint with the WV Department of Education.
We have an evaluation conducted by the school. Now what? The Eligibility Committee (EC) will meet to review the evaluation results and determine whether a student is eligible for special education services. In WV there is a three-prong eligibility test. 1) The student must have a designated exceptionality as listed in WV Policy 2419. 2) The student must experience an adverse effect on educational performance. 3) The student needs special education. All three must be met for a student to be found eligible for special education.
If the Eligibility Committee determines that your child qualifies for special education, an IEP meeting must be held and a written IEP must be developed within 30 days of the eligibility determination. The parent is a member of the IEP Team responsible for developing the child’s IEP. An IEP is an Individualized Education Program that details the special education services your child will receive from the school system. It is a legal document that is tailored to meet your child’s individualized needs by providing accommodations, services, and modifications to eligible students.
Accommodations may include--allowing a student extra time to complete an assignment, providing a student with the use of assistive technology, a change in the formatting of an assignment, modifying the way an assignment is presented to a student, or allowing a student to take a test in an alternate setting. Examples of modifications--may include shortening the assignment of a student, or altering assignments based on a student’s needs and abilities. Services and supports provided to a student in an IEP--may include physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, nursing services, or music therapy.
If a parent disagrees with the initial evaluations considered by the Eligibility Committee in determining that their child was ineligible for special education services, a parent may request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). An IEE is an evaluation at the school district’s expense completed by a qualified examiner not employed by the school district.
Parents still not satisfied with the ineligibility determination results may request mediation or a Facilitated IEP meeting, or file a state complaint or due process complaint with the WV Department of Education. If a parent would like to seek legal services or specific advice on special education related issues, a parent may contact our intake specialists at 1-866-255-4370.