A formal evaluation is one of the first steps in getting your child the school services she needs. The general rule is that a school must evaluate your child if it knows or “suspects” she has a disability—this covers many learning and attention issues. But sometimes a school will refuse to evaluate. Here are steps you can take if that happens.
Ask the school why it refused to evaluate.
If the school refuses to evaluate, it must tell you why in writing. Ask for details about why the school doesn’t suspect your child has a disability. Remember that school evaluators can’t refuse to evaluate your child because they want to use response to intervention (RTI) first.
Call a meeting with the school.
Discuss your concerns face-to-face and on the record with school officials. If they still refuse to evaluate, ask for information on your legal rights.
Consider an independent educational evaluation.
Contact a Parent Training and Information Center (PTI).
File a due process complaint.
Make sure your request was in writing.
You can ask for mediation with the school. This is when a neutral third party works with you and the school to reach an agreement.
Talk to an advocate or lawyer.
For a fee, an advocate or lawyer can help you navigate the evaluation process and decide what to do next.
Consider filing a state complaint.