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What You Absolutely Need to Understand Before You Request that the School Evaluate Your Child 

Schools do not diagnose anything. NOTHING. Not ADHD, Autism, Down’s Syndrome or dyslexia. For some reason they are much more comfortable using the terms ADHD, Autism, Down's Syndrome than they are using the word dyslexia, which can give the impression that they do diagnose; they do not.

So, if you are requesting assessments hoping to get a diagnosis, then you are heading down the wrong road.

The assessments determine if the student is eligible for services and if so, what level of services they require,
but you will not be given a definitive diagnosis.

Although a school has to ‘consider the potential of every student, they do not have to help them reach their potential.
This effects twice exceptional kids the most.


US Department of Education encourages schools to use the words dyslexia, dysgrahia, dyscalculia in IEPS

​Watch this video! 

In 2015 the US Dept of Ed Asst Secretary of Education Michael Yudin speaks with Understood.Org and encourages schools to use the terms dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia. Michael Yudin discusses the need for more specificity in IEPs: higher expectations for all students and the need to bridge the gap between general & special education.



Use the word Dyslexia!

Naming dyslexia is a critical first step in demystifying and destigmatizing the condition. How can we expect students with dyslexia to self-advocate and overcome their academic challenges if their teachers and administrators don't even use the word?                     https://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/reaching-all-students/2015/09/go_ahead_say_dyslexia.html

504 Plan
Ask the Expert Video: What is a 504?
By the National Center for Learning Disabilities (6 Minute Video)
Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

(The difference between an IEP and a 504 Plan)
http://www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/form/prise/prise.pdf  (Parental Rights in Special Education)
(Communicating with Your Child's School Through Letter Writing)
(The Special Education Charade: Pitfalls of IEPs in Our Country)

Do IEPs Expire? Should I agree that an IEP is no longer needed?

  • IEPs do not expire.

  • An IEP remains in effect until a new one is written or you agree an IEP for specialized instruction & related services is no longer needed.

  • Removal from special education requires prior written notice from the school.

  • You need to be sure there is a reason to discontinue the IEP.
                       -   Make sure you know what you are agreeing to - and why.
                       -   A learning disability is not something a person outgrows.

  • An evaluation is needed to show the IEP team (a parent is a team member) that special ed. & related services are no longer needed.
                       -   Did the IEP team evaluate your child?
                       -   What testing did the team use to determine that your child does not have a learning disability?
                       -   What does the evaluation say about how he/she is learning compared to other children her age?
                       -   Has your child mastered all the goals in his/her last IEP?
                       -   If the team did evaluate your child, did you understand the evaluation results?

  • If you understand the evaluation, and agree in writing that an IEP is no longer needed, then ask the school to carry the accommodations from the IEP over to a Section 504 plan.

  • But, Remember:
                     -   Parental permission, signature, and agreement is not needed under Section 504.
                     -   You will be giving up all your rights to participation if you agree to discontinue the IEP.
                     -   A 504 plan is available only to students who have a disability that limits a major life activity, such as learning.
                     -   If the school agrees that your child has a disability that limits his/her ability to learn, then why discontinue the IEP? 

(From "Parental Rights in Special Education": see attachment above)

How is eligibility for an IEP determined?

When the evaluation is completed, eligibility is determined collaboratively at a meeting according to N.J.A.C. 6A:142.3(k)1.8 To be eligible for special education and related services:

  • A student must have a disability according to one of the eligibility categories;

  • The disability must adversely affect the student’s educational performance; and

  • The student must be in need of special education and related services.

The school district must provide a copy of the evaluation report(s) and documentation to be used to make a determination of eligibility to the parent (or adult student, when applicable) not less than 10 days prior to the meeting.

What is an individualized education program (IEP)?

  • After your child is determined to be eligible for special education and related services, a meeting will be held to develop your child’s IEP.
  • The IEP is a written plan that describes in detail your child’s special education program.
  • The IEP should describe how your child currently performs and your child’s specific instructional needs.
  • The IEP must include detailed and measurable annual goals and shortterm objectives or benchmarks.

How often must my child with an IEP be reevaluated?

  • Your child must be reevaluated within three years of his or her last evaluation unless you provide consent to waive the three year reevaluation.

  • If you provide consent to waive the three year reevaluation, the next three year time period for reevaluation begins on the date you provide your written consent to waive the reevaluation.

  • A reevaluation may be conducted sooner than three years if conditions warrant it or if you or your child’s teacher requests it. However, a school district may deny your request for a reevaluation that is made within one year of the date the last evaluation of your child was completed.

  • In addition, the school district must reevaluate your child before it may determine that your child is no longer a child with a disability and no longer eligible for special education and related services.

What are the requirements for a reevaluation?

  • The IEP team must meet to review the current data and decide whether additional testing is required to determine if your child’s eligibility for special education and related services should be continued.

  • The IEP team may decide that no additional information is needed to determine your child’s continuing eligibility for special education.

  • As a member of the team, you may disagree with the decision and you may request that the school district conduct an assessment of your child. Then, the school district must assess your child to determine eligibility (or ineligibility).

Does the school district need my consent to conduct testing as part of a reevaluation?

  • The school must obtain your consent before conducting any testing as part of a reevaluation of your child.

  • However, if the school can show that it tried to get your consent for the reevaluation of your child and you did not respond, then the school may proceed with the testing as planned.

Ask the Expert Video: What is an IEP?
By the National Center for Learning Disabilities  (6 Minute Video)