When you disagree with a special education evaluation performed by your child’s school district, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, you can always obtain an independent educational evaluation, which is commonly called an IEE, at your own expense.
What is an IEE?
An IEE is an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by your child's school district. Basically, it's usually a second opinion.
What may an IEE assess?
The IEE may be an evaluation of any skill related to your child's educational needs. Parents often obtain IEEs of their child's neurological functioning, academic or cognitive skills, sensory needs, fine or gross motor skills, behavior, or even the need for music therapy. A special kind of evaluation, neuropsychological evaluation, may help identify learning and attention issues. This kind of evaluation is usually not offered by school districts.
Is the IEP team required to consider the IEE?
Once you obtain the assessment report, your child's IEP team is required to consider the IEE that you obtain in determining your child's educational needs but is not required to accept the findings or recommendations. If the school district refuses to accept the findings or recommendations, you have the option of requesting a special kind of hearing called a due process hearing to show that your IEE is appropriate.
Can you ask the school district to fund the IEE?
As an alternative to paying for an IEE, you may write to the school district and tell them that you disagree with their evaluation and you would like them to pay for an IEE. The school district cannot require you to explain why you disagree with their evaluation.
If the school district assessed your child, but not in a particular area, can you ask for an IEE in this area?
If your child's school district has conducted an evaluation, but not in a particular area, you have a right to request an IEE to assess your child in that area to determine the nature and extent of the special education and related services that your child needs. As is true of all of your written communications with the school district, be sure to keep a copy of your request.
Can the school district impose limitations on the selection of an evaluator?
If the school district agrees to fund your child's IEE, under the law, the school district may impose limitations on the selection of the independent examiner, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner.
How soon after you request an IEE must a school district respond?
Once you ask your child's school district fund an IEE, under the law, the school district is supposed to “without unnecessary delay” either provide the IEE at public expense or initiate a due process hearing to show that their evaluation is appropriate. The term "without unnecessary delay" may require you to wait at least two or three weeks for a response from the school district.
Martha Millar Law
A California special education law firm
Please contact a special education attorney before you request or obtain an IEE for advice regarding your specific situation. And please review our disclaimer.