The Special Education Evaluation Process
Parents can find support and guidance through Springer's referral and consulting services, which can help with identifying obstacles to learning and determining next steps.
When parents see signs that their child is struggling, they can be overwhelmed and unclear how to get their child help at school. Springer can help guide parents through this complex process.
When a student is struggling, for academic or behavioral reasons, a school will first put interventions in place to address those concerns. The school will collect data on the student’s performance to see if he or she is making expected progress with the interventions in place. This system of interventions and monitoring student progress is typically referred to as Response to Intervention (RTI) or Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS). If a student is not making expected progress despite increasingly intensive interventions, a teacher or parent might suspect that the student has a disability and may be in need of special education services.
When a teacher or parent suspects a disability, the student is referred for a special education evaluation. The team, including parent(s), general education teacher(s), a special education teacher, a school psychologist, a principal, and/or a speech pathologist, will come together to make an evaluation plan. The team will decide what types of information the school already has and what additional tests or assessments are needed as part of the evaluation. In addition, the parent will be asked for input, including any additional evaluations that have been done outside of school.
After the evaluation planning meeting, the school has 60 days to conduct the evaluation. At the end of this process, the school will present the parent with an Evaluation Team Report (ETR), the official special education evaluation. Information in the ETR may include measures of academic performance, cognitive ability, social/emotional and behavioral functioning, speech and language skills, fine and gross motor skills, or other assessments needed, as determined by the team.
When the team meets to review the ETR, the members must use the information included in the report to see if the student is found to meet the criteria of one of 13 disability categories. In addition, the disability must adversely affect the child’s education. In order to determine this, the evaluation team reviews the ETR to answer these two questions:
- Does the disability adversely impact the child’s educational progress?
- Does the child need specially designed instruction in order to make progress?
If the answers to these questions are “Yes,” then the school will proceed to writing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to address the student’s needs.
Navigating the special education process and paperwork can be confusing to parents. Special education has a language of its own, which can be difficult to keep track of. In the next blog, I will write about the IEP and what that means.
Contact Springer at 513 871-6080 ext. 402 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about consultation and referral services.
Blogger Stephanie Dunne, Ed.S., is the Center Director at Springer School and Center. Prior to coming to Springer, Stephanie practiced as a school psychologist in public and private schools for ten years. If you have questions, please contact Stephanie at email@example.com.