Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)
Do you disagree with the school’s recent special education (i.e., Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team [MET]) evaluation?
If so, federal and Arizona regulations state that parents/guardians of a child with a disability have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE) paid for at public expense (i.e., no cost to you). This allows your child to be evaluated by an independent licensed psychologist (and in the case of Dr. Andersen, also a state [AZ] and nationally certified school psychologist [NCSP]) that is not employed by the school district.
IEEs have the value of providing parents with added authority at the IEP meeting. In many cases, IEEs can provide support for the parents’ opinions and requests. IEEs can help ensure that a program is individualized and provides a “check” on the judgments being made by school officials regarding the child.
For school districts:
IEEs can be of particular value when the district lacks the personnel or expertise to conduct a particular type of evaluation (e.g., complex medical conditions, neuropsychological functioning, vocational assessment, etc.). Moreover, school districts may seek an IEE to mitigate parental concerns about the fairness or accuracy of an evaluation.
When you (the parent) chooses to place your child in a private school, the public school district in which you reside is not required to pay for the cost of education, including special education and related services (provided that school district made free and appropriate public education [FAPE] available to your child). However, if your child requires special education, then the school district where the private school is located must include your child within the population whose needs are addressed under Part B of IDEA (i.e., special education regulations; 34 CRF § 300.131 though 300.144).
Moreover, students with disabilities that are parentally-placed in a private school do not receive an IEP. Rather, they receive an Individual Service Plan (ISP). ISPs and IEPs, while similar, are also notably different. For example, IEPs include general education accommodations and modifications, whereas ISPs generally do not.
Importantly, public school districts, in consultation with private schools within its boundaries, can determine how much money they will devote to various special education services. A public school can determine to fund only speech services (and to a certain amount). Thus, even if the student could benefit from resource instruction, OT, or PT, the school district is not responsible for providing it (34 CRF § 300.137]. And once all of that money is spent, then the public school is no longer obligated to provide special education services for that school year. This is referred to as proportionate share.
What is included in an IEE?
It depends on the case. Under law, (20 U.S.C. § 1414(b)(3)(B) the assessment must occur in all areas of suspected disability. This may be in the same areas as assessed by the school or if the school’s evaluation did not address other concerns raised by the parents, the parents have the right to insist on a comprehensive evaluation in all areas of concern. General domains that may be assess include general intelligence, academics, social/emotional, adaptive behavior, vocational/occupational/transition, functional behavior assessment, and autism.
Who can conduct IEEs?
Parents can request an IEE at the district’s expense by a qualified person who is not an employee of the district. Sometimes school districts have a list of evaluators who can perform IEEs; however, IEEs can be performed by someone who is not on the district’s list provided the examiner’s qualifications are the same as the criteria the public agency uses. Since Dr. Andersen is a state and nationally certified school psychologist (and a Licensed Psychologist), his qualifications will exceed the criteria the public agency uses in the majority of cases. Dr. Andersen also maintains a current fingerprint clearance card (IV) and all of Dr. Andersen’s credentials and IVP card can be readily produced upon request.
Need more information with requesting or navigating an IEE?
If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Andersen (602.699.4543). He can help navigate special education law and advocate on your behalf. Also, be sure to check out my blog post on Independent Educational Evaluations. In the blog post I discuss all of the logistics from who is responsible to pay for the IEE, how often one can obtain an IEE, who can conduct an IEE, how to request an IEE, and beyond.