STEP 6 Request an Evaluation

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How the process works

Once you have spoken with your child's health care professional and have a basic understanding of your child's educational rights, the next step is to start a dialogue with administrators or teachers at your child's school.

  • Place your request for an evaluation in writing.
  • Sign a permission slip for testing of your child.
  • The school has between 30 days and 6 weeks to complete its evaluation of your child's need for educational services (varies by state), although implementation may take longer.

How does the school decide whether to grant services to your child?

To determine eligibility for services under Section 504, a school may consider several sources of information on your child, including:

  • Grades over the past several years
  • Teacher reports
  • Information from parents, caregivers, or agencies
  • State assessment scores or observations from other school-administered tests
  • Discipline reports
  • Attendance records
  • Health records
  • Adaptive behavior information

Writing your child's school

To request an evaluation, write a letter to your child's principal. If it's accurate and appropriate, consider including phrases that make clear what you are requesting and why, such as:

  • "Struggling in school"
  • "May need special help"
  • "Requesting an evaluation"
  • "Develop an IEP or a 504 Accommodation Plan, depending on my child's needs"

Can a school deny services?

Yes. A letter from your child's physician is helpful, though not sufficient, to get accommodations. Your child must also meet eligibility requirements.

There are many reasons why learning accommodations may be denied. Some may include:

  • The school may not agree that special services are necessary.
  • The evaluation process may not have been done properly.
  • The school may lack sufficient funding.

If your child was denied learning accommodations, it may be because he or she didn't qualify for IDEA. Your child may be eligible for accommodations another way: Section 504. If your child is struggling but does not qualify for an IEP, ask that he or she be considered for accommodations under Section 504.

What happens if you do not agree with the results of the evaluation process?

You can request follow-up meetings to provide additional information and/or obtain an advocate in support of your child's application.

You may also ask for another evaluation. It will require working with the school through appeal procedures. You may be responsible for some costs during the appeal, although some of these expenses may be paid or reimbursed by the school.