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  #1  
Old 06-04-12, 03:28 PM
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Letter to request assessments/evals for services

Hi All,

Please forgive me if this type of post is not allowed. If it is, I'll gladly remove it.

I'm looking for input on the written letter I plan to deliver to my daughter's school district requesting various evals. I had read that all necessary evals needed to be performed, but I feel like I am asking too much in one shot. My letter is below. It may be too verbose to get my point across. Thanks to anyone who can actually make it all the way through.

=====================

Dear __________ School District Special Education Field Office:

My child, _________, whose date of birth is _________, attends first grade at _________. I believe that _________’s academic, social and behavioral health is beginning to interfere with her ability to learn and to reach her goals and objecives. She has been officially diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder-Combined type with and emphasis on impulsivity and hyperactivity. I am writing to make a referral for assessment for additional assistive services as allowed under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and California Education Code Sections 56029, 56301, 56302, and 56321(a) and 5 California Code of Regulations (C.C.R.) Sec. 3021. She may be eligible for additional assistance. I am requesting that _________ be given a comprehensive assessment by the school district in all areas of suspected disability, and that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting be scheduled for her. The following difficulties observed and reported by myself, multiple mental health professionals, school and _________ faculty are the basis for my request:


• She exhibits significant difficulty in the area of mathematics;
• She does not understand social cues;
• She does not know how to effectively or accurately communicate her needs or intentions;
• She does not know how to respond constructively to perceived negative feedback;
• She is not cooperative in groups;
• She needs assistance to distinguish between socially acceptable and unacceptable behavioral responses to various situations and environments;
• She does not recognize situations in which her self-control is needed;
• She does not know how to cope with stress-provoking situations she cannot avoid;
• She has great difficulty in dealing with unexpected distractions;
• She experiences extreme anxiety in common situations and in response to common sensory stimuli (fear of certain colors, lights, textures, sounds or sensations that would not normally trigger a fight or flight response in other children);
• She cannot consider the consequences of inappropriate expressions of her feelings due to her impulsivity and social challenges;
• She demonstrates a pragmatic language delay or dysfunction as suggested by multiple educational and mental health professionals.


Please provide _________ with a speech and language evaluation, psycho-educational evaluation, psychological assessment and functional assessment of behavior as is outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Please consider this letter my formal request for and consent for the school district to provide the speech and language evaluation, psycho-education evaluation, psychological assessment and functional assessment for behavior. A Student Study Team (SST) was assembled in January of 2012 to create a behavior support plan to assist _________ in achieving both academic and behaivoral goals at school, however, she has not made significant improvement. I am requesting that this team reconvene to review the previously documented behavior support plan. I request to be included as an active participant on the team. Please provide me with copies of all speech and language evaluation, psycho-educational evaluation, psychological assessment and functional assessment of behavior data and results as soon as they become available to you.

As part of the assessment process, I also request that my child be assessed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to determine whether she should be identified as disabled pursuant to that law and to determine what, if any, accommodations might be required in her educational program in the event that she does not qualify for additional assistive services under IDEA, or in addition to those services. This is also to request that the San Juan Unified School District’s 504 Coordinator be present at the IEP meeting to discuss the results and recommendations of the Section 504 assessment.

I hope that this request can be expedited as _________ has already received multiple official behavior reports, temporary suspension of _________ services and removal from class on several occasions.

Thank you for giving this request for a and functional assessment of behavior, functional assessment of behavior your immediate attention. I understand that the school year is coming to a close, but I would like to ensure that any plans going forward based on _________'s evaluation results will be in place by the time she starts second grade at _________. I will work with you to address and achieve _________'s educational goals using positive behavior support and an effective behavior intervention plan.


Sincerely,
__________________
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  #2  
Old 06-04-12, 04:08 PM
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Re: Letter to request assessments/evals for services

Here's a few resources to help you critique your sample. I'd have to read them myself to give you an answer. So.. here ya go!



http://www.educationlawadvocates.com/Forms.shtml

http://www.autism-pdd.net/guidep.html

http://www.bridges4kids.org/IEP/SampleLetters.html

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/iep.index.htm

http://www.ldonline.org/indepth/pare...r_writing.html
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  #3  
Old 06-04-12, 04:49 PM
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Re: Letter to request assessments/evals for services

Ginniebean's links should be your first stop. Lots of good info there.

The letter is a bit confusing. Are you looking for an IEP or for your DD to qualify for accomodations under a 504? Often accomodations can be included in with services in an IEP so there is no need for both. Wrightslaw will give you more guidance there.

The sentence that begins, "Please consider this letter my formal request for and consent for the school district to..." perform psychological/educational testing should be your first sentence.

In your letter you say that your DD has not make significant progress--that can't be the basis for assessment. Assessment is called for when the student fails to make adequate progress or falls behind.

You are an active participant in your child's team--no need to ask for permission. If you feel that you are being excluded you could say, "As an active participant in my child's team, I request ..." if you want to signal that you don't plan on taking any crap from them. I don't believe that they have to make the reports available to you on your timeline, however they should be providing them prior to the meeting.

You can ask for them to expedite testing but chances are it won't happen. I found this online:

http://www.anacalifornia.org/diastat...dtimelines.pdf

Even if you were to hand deliver the letter tommorrow, most of the testing wouldn't take place until next school year. I think Wrightslaw also has some state-by-state info on this. "Days" means different things in different states--calendar, school, weekday, holiday--once you get that for California grab a calendar and your district's school calendar and you'll have a better idea of the time frame you're looking at. Your meeting will most likely be next fall.

You may have anyone you want at the meeting by requesting that they be added to the agenda.

Most of your bullet points can be summarized as problems with math and problems with communication/social cues. There's lots of repetition there and throughout your letter. Ask for what you want--once.
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Old 06-05-12, 09:38 AM
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Re: Letter to request assessments/evals for services

I think it is perfect. You are not asking for too much. The only thing I would add would to request that you be given written copies of all reports 5 days before the IEP meeting is held.

I believe they have 10 days to have a meeting to discuss the plan for which tests will be done and who will do them, but unless you are in a year round schedule it will definitely be fall before the evals are complete and the IEP meeting happens -- the clock stops during summer break.

If you can afford it, I would recommend you also seek a private evaluation for Aspergers using the ADOS. If it results in a diagnosis, give the report to the school as an input in developing the IEP.
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DS9 has Aspergers, ADHD, and mild dyslexia

I highly recommend:
Lost at School and The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene
http://www.livesinthebalance.org/walking-tour-parents -- video
Essential Ideas for Parents by Russell Barkley (video on youtube)

Parenting Children with ADHD by Vincent J. Monastra
Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson
Parenting Your Asperger Child by Alan Sohn
Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy by Peter Wright
Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz
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  #5  
Old 06-05-12, 09:40 AM
zette93 zette93 is offline
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Re: Letter to request assessments/evals for services

You might make the SST it's own paragraph, so it is clear you are requesting to be part of that team.
__________________
DS9 has Aspergers, ADHD, and mild dyslexia

I highly recommend:
Lost at School and The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene
http://www.livesinthebalance.org/walking-tour-parents -- video
Essential Ideas for Parents by Russell Barkley (video on youtube)

Parenting Children with ADHD by Vincent J. Monastra
Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson
Parenting Your Asperger Child by Alan Sohn
Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy by Peter Wright
Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz
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  #6  
Old 06-06-12, 11:18 AM
happytexas happytexas is offline
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Re: Letter to request assessments/evals for services

Part 1

I’m not sure how much you’ve read and how cooperative your school has been, so I may be posting things you already know or are not particularly relevant to you situation .

After digging around a bit I found that SST is California’s version of RTI.
[/quote]
Response to Intervention (RTI): A Primer for Parents
RTI is a tiered process of instruction that allows schools to identify struggling students early and provide appropriate instructional interventions. . . When IDEA was reauthorized in 2004, RTI was added in an attempt to bring IDEA in line with NCLB and Reading First. . .


OSEP Memorandum - RTI process cannot be used to delay-deny an evaluation for eligibility under IDEA. Office of Special Education Programs to State Directors of Special Education, 01/21/11. . . The RTI process does not replace the need for a comprehensive evaluation (you don’t need to justity your request—though the school would need to justify a denial in writing).

In the Commentary to the federal special education regulations, many people expressed these same concerns. Because of these comments, and to ensure that parents are notified of their right to request an evaluation at any time, the US Department of Education added the following to the federal regulation Section 300.311 (Commentary in the Federal Register at p. 46658): [/quote]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In addition (or to reiterate) what Ms. Mango said here: #3


I think your letter could be trimmed then divided into three separate letters: 1) Letter to Request Evaluation for Special Education Services, 2) Letter to Request a Meeting with the SST team, and 3) Letter to Principle to Request Educational Records. I think I’d also submit a 4th letter requesting an IEP meeting so that you may discuss your concerns and the forthcoming evaluation. I’d also review the procedural protections (below, subpart E) and Manifestation Determination Guide‎ (since it appears she is being punished for disability derived behavior).

I can't recommend this book enough: "Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy". You can buy the Kindle version for $10 at amazon and read it on your PC for instant access if you like. Much of the information from the book can be found on their site as well (Table of Contents). Reading "Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition," would be a good idea as well—it’s actually in a pretty easy to read format. I also recommend “Wrightslaw: Smart IEPs,” and “The IEP from A to Z,” and doing some research (take notes) on how ADHD and Asperger's may present differently in girls than in boys. Frequently, if a girl's symptoms do not present in the typical (boy) way people (teachers, providers) deny their relevance.

At the end of chapters 23 & 24 of "From Emotions to Advocacy" are sample letters. I recommend reviewing: #7. Letter to Request Evaluation for Special Education Services; #1. Letter to Principle to Request Educational Records; and #4. Letter to Request a Meeting with a Teacher/evaluation team, Includes Educational History. You said in your letter that your dd has had private evals? You could include copies of the results as "enclosures" to your letter to avoid vague referenced to “experts” or providers, and to keep your letter from being too long.


Wrightslaw's "Rule of Adverse Assumptions" says (among other things) to assume that you will one day end up in a due processes hearing with only your documentation (like letters) to speak for you; they need to speak clearly (one topic with supporting evidence) and briefly (for short attention spans).

Persuasive Request p219 – Indirect (Effective Communication for Colleges 11e)

o Open—Begin with an attention-getting statement to encourage continued reading or listening.
o Middle Sections—
§ Choose an appropriate appeal. Present the key ideas and supporting information to show that the situation is of consequence and that the situation can be resolved or controlled with the receiver’s help.
§ Present the details that relate to the receiver’s needs and wants and that lead to the request.
o Closing—Close with a call for action and give an easy way for the receiver to respond.


I suggest avoiding the “to whom it may concern” greeting and find out the specific person to address the letter to; usually it is a person within the school the child attends (wrightslaw addresses the principal), but it looks like your district does thing differently? In my regular public school district the resource teacher and principle are the go to people (I didn't get any further than that before we left). My current (charter) contracts with an LSSP (school psychologist) who coordinates evaluations and services for the school.

I'd consider consulting with an advocate this summer, particularly if your school has been difficult or reluctant (your state dept of education website may have a list of free/low cost advocates). Getting "spun-up" on special education law and IEPs takes a lot of time; an advocate can fill in the holes while you're working on that. Also, since CA "stops the clock" during the summer a good advocate may help you get the most out of your school within those 90 days, when school is back in session.


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Old 06-06-12, 11:21 AM
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Re: Letter to request assessments/evals for services

Part 2

A few notes:

  • · Under IDEA/IEP, if your child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance, your child is entitled to an education that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and from which your child receives educational benefit.
  • · Evaluations determine the necessity for an IEP. Though your dd could qualify as OHI (other health impaired), it seems possible that she may actually qualify under AU (autism). My ds (ADHD Combined) was initially categorized as OHI but this year’s evaluation resulted in being categorized as AU (mainly due to his social skills deficits, which is consistent with his hospital eval last year).
  • · A 504 (from section 504 of the American's with Disabilities Act) is helping your child get the same education that everyone else is getting--more for a student that needs accommodations to help them learn (like sitting next to the teacher) or for behavior, and that they are not punished for things that they cannot control due to the ADHD (like needing to work standing up or not sit inside a group). An IEP has a section for accommodations that are not specifically related to the annual goals.
Key Differences Between Section 504 and IDEA - Wrightslaw
  • · Parents are, by law, part of the IEP team; you do not have to ask and they cannot exclude you. The IEP team essentially forms at the time of the request for an evaluation (now), not “if” the evaluation results in an IEP.
  • · Federal regulations and state law lay out the procedure (and time requirements), you don’t have to request them (Subpart E). Once you give consent for the evaluation the appropriate steps and timeline should be followed automatically. However, ignorance, carelessness, or motivation to stall proceedings may result in the procedure not being followed. I would print out a copy of http://www.anacalifornia.org/diastat...dtimelines.pdf and put it on the front cover of your wrightslaw style “master file” binder for easy reference. Get a 3-hole agenda-style calendar and mark the dates for the legal deadlines the school must meet and put it in a second binder with your own reference materials (like the CA special education law). You may want to use a version of letter #3, Sample Letter to Express Appreciation and Document Problems, in e-mails to document/clarify information conveyed in conversations/meetings, or your understanding of procedure (ex. Today I delivered to you a letter of request and consent to evaluate my daughter, Michelle Smith, for special education services. It is my understanding that the evaluation must be completed within 60 days of receipt of parental consent when school is in session, which would be October 15, 2012. Is this correct?)
  • The psycho-educational evaluation (that you are requesting) is an education record, access by parents prior to an ARD/IEP meeting is not governed by personal policy but by federal regulation 34 CFR 300.613 Access rights. My state education law says that the evaluation has to be provided to me (I’m not required to ask) prior to the meeting (I think it specifies 3 days) so check your state law.
  • Dyscalculia (dyscalculiaforum.com) is a specific learning disability in mathematics. Dyscalculia is a word you use to describe when people have significant problems with numbers - but still have a normal or above normal IQ. (Dyscalculia at LD Online). My ds is weaker in math when compared to language (and he’s hyperlexic) but he’s not a dyscalculic; we have him in the summer program at Mathnasium to work on this.

Independent Education Evaluations: What? How? Why? Who Pays?


Rights of Parents and Children

Parents' Rights
(Posted 23-Jul-2007)
A brief summary of Procedural Safeguards for students with disabilities receiving special education services.
Special Education Rights of Parents and Children Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B - Notice of Procedural Safeguards (English) ( Updated 22-Jan-2009; DOC; 107KB, 13pp .) | PDF (Updated 22-Jan-2009; DOC; 59KB, 13pp .)
Available Translations of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards
(Updated 02-Feb-2009)

Mistakes People Make: Schools.
Mistakes People Make: Parents.
Mistakes Independent Experts Make.
Mistakes People Make: Independent Evaluators.
Mistakes People Make: Advocates.

Based on Wrightslaw's "Letter to Request Evaluation for Special Education Services":

Quote:
500 Oak Lane
Centerville, CA 60010
(###) ###-####
June 5, 2012

George Williams, Principal
Grove Elementary School
1000 Main Street
Centerville, CA 60010

Reference: Michelle K. Smith
DOB: 01/02/2005

Dear Mr. Willams,

Please consider this letter my formal request for and consent for the school district to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of my daughter, Michelle Smith, for special education services. Michelle attends first grade at Grove Elementary School.

A brief summary of Michelle’s education history follows: Michelle…
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