Special Education and Regional Center Blog
Helping Parents Navigate the Special Education, the Regional Center, and IHSS program.
In general, the school district has an obligation to “identify, locate and evaluate” all children with disabilities who may be eligible for special education, including those who are attending private schools or are homeless or wards of the court. 34 Code of federal Regulations [C.F.R.] Sec. 300.111; California Education Code (Cal. Ed. Code) Secs. 56300 & 301. This is called “child find.”
In reality, the school district does not often "find" children to evaluate through child find. However, you can ask the school district to assessment your child at any time.
The best way to request the district to assess your child is to draft a letter to your local school or special education director. The letter should outline your areas of concern about your child’s suspected disability and request an “evaluation” or “assessment.” (See below sample letter.)
After you have written the letter, take the two copies of the letter to your home school. Tell the receptionist what it is and that you would like one of the letters date stamped.
After the district receives your request, the school district must give you an assessment plan within 15 days of their receipt of your written request for special education services. (If the request for assessment is made 10 days or less prior to the end of the regular year, the assessment plan must be developed within 10 days after school commences the following school year.)
After you receive the assessment plan, you have at least 15 days to respond to or approve the assessment plan. (Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56321(c)(4).)
Once the district has received the signed assessment plan, it has 60 days (excluding days of school vacation in excess of five and days that school is not in session) to complete the assessment and develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). (Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56344(a).) If the assessment plan is signed and returned 30 days or less before the end of a school year, the district must hold a meeting to develop an IEP within 30 days after the beginning of the next school year. (Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56344(a).)
If these timelines are not met, or the district refuses to assess your child please, please contact me to discuss your options.
Director of Special Education
__________ School District
Re: CHILD’S NAME
I am the parent of ___________, who is currently enrolled at the ________Elementary School in the _______ grade. My child has not been doing well in school and I am concerned about his educational progress.
I am writing to make a referral for assessment for special education services for _______, under 5 C.C.R. Sec. 3021(a). He may be eligible for special education assistance. I am requesting that John be given a comprehensive assessment including but not limited to the areas [remove as necessary] of social / emotional, academic, recreational therapy, behavioral, occupational therapy, sensory integration, speech, psycho-educational, adaptive P.E.
[Optional] 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 he should be identified as "handicapped" pursuant to that law and to determine what, if any, accommodations might be required in his educational program in the event that he does not qualify for special education services or in addition to special education services. This is also to request that the Unified School District’s Section 504 Coordinator be present at the IEP meeting to discuss the results and recommendations of the Section 504 assessment.
I look forward to receiving an assessment plan in 15 days. After, we can have an IEP meeting to discuss the results of these evaluations and plan for _____’s educational program.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation and prompt assistance.
Very truly yours,