Recall the Law: Schools must ensure that:
“All children with disabilities … who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated.” 300.111(a)
“A free appropriate public education (FAPE) must be available to all children residing in the state between the ages of 3 and 21”. “Each State must ensure that FAPE is available to any individual child with a disability who needs special education and related services, even though the child has not failed or been retained in a course or grade, and is advancing from grade to grade.” 300.101(a)&(c)
The IDEA includes the concept that students with disabilities should be taught in such a way that they can learn the general curriculum and progress toward the achievement level of their peers and also meet their IEP goals. If waiting would delay any of these things from occurring, then it would be inappropriate to wait.
The Response: Parents should build a case that waiting will prevent their child from receiving FAPE and they will fall further behind. This concern needs to be made in writing and discussed in an ARD/IEP meeting if the child is currently served in special education.
Requests that are turned down require specific explanation for the refusal in a prior written notice of refusal. When a parent makes a written request for an initial evaluation for special education, the school must respond within 15 school days of receiving the request.
Possible Parent Responses:
- “Research says that appropriate instruction needs to be provided when the student is as young as possible.”
- “We have already waited (xx period of time), and I believe that waiting longer only prevents them from receiving an appropriate education now and in the future.”
- “I am requesting that we try this for xx weeks, and then the committee meet to evaluate the results?”
- “If not, I am requesting that the school research and discuss my request, and the ARD/IEP team reconvene in xx days/weeks.”
- “I have or will request in writing an initial full and individual evaluation for special education services.”
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