Parents always have the right to have someone from outside the school district conduct an evaluation. This is called an independent educational evaluation (IEE). It is important to know that insurance companies often do not cover the cost of educational evaluations because they are not medically necessary and these evaluations can be expensive. Parents may want to check their insurance policy first.
If you disagree with the results or determination of the school’s evaluation, you may ask for an IEE at the school district’s expense. School districts must have written policies regarding IEEs. However, these policies cannot be so restrictive as to limit parent choice. Requesting a copy of the district policy before formally requesting an IEE at the district’s expense or obtaining the IEE may be helpful to ensure that the district will consider the results. When you do request an IEE, best practice is the make the request in writing and list some evaluators that you wish to do the evaluation. See our Sample Letters for examples.
The school district must respond to you in writing (provide you with Written Prior Notice) as to whether they are granting your request or taking you to a Due Process hearing to prove that their evaluation was appropriate. Regardless of whether you or the school district has paid for the IEE, the IEP team only needs to consider the results and/or recommendations given in the IEE of the evaluation. This means that they do not have to implement or follow service or program recommendations. The IEP team must consider them and provide you with Written Prior Notice as to why or why they are not accepting the recommendations.
For more information on IEE’s and help in determining what type of evaluator would be appropriate for an IEE please contact the Parent Information Center on Special Education staff.