Does a diagnosis qualify my child for an IEP?

Recently, your child’s teacher notifies you that your child is not performing well in school. They seem uninterested in school completely and you are not sure what to do. Worrying that they might have a learning disability, you bring them to the doctor.

After a couple tests, the doctor informs you that your child has a learning disability. According to your doctor, the next step is to meet with your school board to see if an individualized education program (IEP) is necessary.

What is an IEP?

An individualized education program (IEP), maps out how the school intends to meet the unique needs of your child. The IEP lets school staff get a better understanding of your child’s abilities and what they struggle with. It should also lay out how the school staff intends to help your child succeed and develop in their weaker areas.

Requesting an IEP evaluation

Being diagnosed by a doctor does not guarantee that your child qualifies for an IEP. However, the process is simple. The first step is writing a formal letter to the school. In the letter you need to include the specific reason you are requesting an evaluation and give consent for the school to evaluate your child. After the school receives the letter, they have 60 days to complete your child’s evaluation according to special education law.

What if my request is denied?

If the school denies your evaluation request, another option available is to request an independent educational evaluation. The school will fund this evaluation still, but an outside professional will perform it. Another option would be to request a private evaluation. This option is more expensive because you would have to pay instead of the school.

While receiving a diagnosis from a doctor doesn’t automatically qualify your child for an IEP, the process is still simple to follow. If you run into any trouble along the way an experienced education law attorney will be able to clear anything up.

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