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When would I request an evaluation for special education services?

If your child has been consistently struggling in school, and the school has tried to respond to your child's problems through several interventions without success, your child's problems may be due to a disability. If the school personnel thinks your child may have a disability, they must contact you to request your written permission to evaluate your child. The purpose of the evaluation, called an initial evaluation, is to see if your child has a disability and needs special education services. This evaluation is free of charge.

You also have the right to request an initial evaluation. However, the school does not have to perform an initial evaluation just because you ask for one. If the school refuses to evaluate your child, it must tell you this decision in writing, as well as the reasons why it has refused.

The school must send you a notice, either agreeing or disagreeing to perform the initial evaluation, within 30 days of receiving your request. If the school agrees to perform an initial evaluation, it must complete the evaluation within 60 days of receiving parental consent. Providing your consent to an initial evaluation in your request letter may speed up the process.

If your child has been identified by your doctor or other professionals as having a disability, you will want to include this information in your letter to the school. You should also provide copies of any reports you have received that explain your child's condition.

You can request an initial evaluation by mailing or emailing the below letter to your school principal or special education administrator.

Sample Letter

Date (include month, day, and year)

Name of Principal/Administrator
Name of School
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear (Principal's Name):

I am writing to request that my (son/daughter), (child's name), be evaluated for special education and related services. I am concerned that (child's name) is having problems in school and believe (he/she) may need special education services in order to learn. (Child's name) is in the (number of grade) grade at (name of school). (Teacher's name) is his/her teacher.

Specifically, I am concerned because (child's name) (explain what your child does or does not do and give a few direct examples of your child's problems at school).

We have tried the following to help (child's name): (If you or the school have done anything extra to help your child, briefly state it here).

This letter serves as my request and consent for an initial evaluation of my child. Please provide me with the name and email or telephone number of the person who will be forwarded this letter and who will be coordinating the initial evaluation. You can send me the information or call me during the day at (daytime telephone number).

Thank you for your prompt attention to my request. I look forward to hearing from you within five school days of the date you receive this letter.

Your Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Daytime telephone number

Note: If your child has been identified as having a disability by professionals outside the school system, add the following sentence to the end of the first paragraph above:

(Child's name) has been identified as having (name of disability) by (name of professional). Enclosed is a copy of the reports I have received that explains (child's name) condition.

Return to list of Sample Letters

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