Regardless of whether a district agrees to pay for the Independent Educational Evaluation, it must consider the results of any evaluations parents have obtained when making decisions about a child's special education needs.
October 17, 2007, To Whom It May Concern: It gives me great pleasure to write a letter about my experiences with Dr. Margaret Kay in her role as an independent evaluator. In my role as Director of Special Education at Southern Lehigh School District, I receive many requests by parents for an independent evaluation. The parents usually have an independent evaluator that they want to use. I honor their requests and pay for the independent evaluation. Usually, an independent evaluation is not what I get. I can honestly say that in the case of Dr. Kay, she did a totally independent evaluation.
Dr. Kay was willing to come to our school district and observe the specific student. This surprised me because the independent evaluators that our district has worked with previously were not willing to do this. Prior to her coming to our school district, Dr. Kay examined extensive paperwork on the student. It was obvious from the paperwork that the student involved had an extensive medical history. The student also used a communication device that Dr. Kay was not familiar with. Prior to her first visit to observe the student, Dr. Kay had researched the communication device and also had spoken to the assistive technology consultant at our Intermediate Unit so that she had a better understanding of the communication device. So before Dr. Kay first observed the student, she had become familiar with the student as well as her communication device.
Dr. Kay also worked collaboratively with the school team in order to get a true and accurate picture of that student. After she did her first observation, she sent a written report of the observation to the school team to ask for their input. She wanted to make sure that what she had written down was as accurate as it could be. This was also something totally new for us. The team was very positively surprised. Throughout the entire evaluation, there was the utmost collaboration between Dr. Kay, the school team, and me. When Dr. Kay had completed her observations of the student and reported back to the team, the team had the utmost respect for Dr. Kay.
Dr. Kay also did extensive individual testing on the student in order to get accurate assessments of the student. She met with the parents of the student as well, in order to get information from them. Dr. Kay also spoke again to the assistive technology consultant from the Intermediate Unit just to get additional information. At the end of the process, Dr. Kay sent a very thorough and useful report to the District which was shared with the school team. The school team used information from the report to revise the student's IEP(Individualized Education Plan). The school team also asked for input from Dr. Kay in regards to ESY (Extended School Year) for the student. Dr. Kay gave input that was then used in recommendations for ESY for that summer.
I can honestly say that my experience with Dr. Kay was very positive. She truly is an independent evaluator who looks thoroughly at a student and collaborates both with the parents and the school team. Her report was extremely thorough and very useful to the team. I would use Dr. Kay again as an evaluator. Morag Christie-Churm, Director of Special Education
Margaret J. Kay, Ed.D. Psychologist
Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP)
Licensed Psychologist in PA and DE
Fellow American College of Forensic Examiners in Educational and School Psychology
Lancaster Office Phone: (717) 569-6223
A parent's right to request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) is one of the strongest rights in Federal and State education law and it is highly recommended that a parent ask for and receive approval by the school district for an IEE before requesting an educational due process hearing.
Many students encounter difficulty in school because the methods used to teach them are inappropriate for the way they learn. Although schools can test children for learning disabilities and other conditions that may adversely affect learning, recommendations are often geared to what the school has available rather than to what the student needs.
..there is nothing in the regulations prohibiting a Local Educational Agency (LEA) from providing parents with a list of qualified examiners. If, however, the LEA wants to limit parents to using the examiners on the district's list, the list must be exhaustive... Also, the LEA must include in its policy that parents have the opportunity to demonstrate that unique circumstances may justify the selection of an IEE examiner who does not meet the LEA's qualification criteria and are not on the LEA's list of examiners".
An Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) can be obtained at school district expense if-
If a parent requests that the school district pay for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), there are two and only two answers that are legal under state and federal statutes:
The Office for Special Education (OSEP) 34 CFR 300.502(a) (2) wrote in "Letter to Young"
"No. We think our evaluation is appropriate".
In that case, the school district must file for a due process hearing and prove that its evaluation is appropriate and that the parent's request for an IEE is unwarranted.
"Yes. We'd be happy to pay for an IEE. Will you be picking the person to do the evaluation on your own or do you need an all-inclusive list of every possible qualified evaluator?"
If the school district says it will pay for the IEE but wants the parent to pick from a list of evaluators it has approved, all qualified examiners in the geographic location must be included on the list.