The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if a child either IS or IS NOT eligible for special education services and, specifically, what services.
The parent/guardian must consent before evaluation can occur. Additionally, many other requirements for how it is conducted work to ensure that the process is unbiased, age-appropriate and valid. A complex picture of the individual child’s strengths and challenges is formed using a broad variety of input, including prior records and evaluation materials, interviews with adults familiar with the child and direct testing. Parents and evaluators are encouraged to work toward consensus during evaluation, but the District has the ultimate responsibility to determine eligibility.
The evaluation report is a detailed summary of the evaluation process and outcome. It states if a disability has been identified, how that conclusion was reached, and if special education services are needed as a result. Specific service and support recommendations will be provided within. The evaluation report will be shared with parents and guardians.
Federal Disability Categories
In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) eligibility will be based on one of fourteen disability categories.
- Developmental delay
- Emotional disturbance
- Hearing Impairment
- Intellectual disability
- Multiple disabilities
- Orthopedic impairment
- Other health impairment
- Specific learning disability
- Speech and language impairment
- Traumatic brain injury
- Visual impairment, including blindness
These areas of disability provide information about the student, but they are only one data point. Students are unique individuals and vary a great deal within any one area. With the exception of deafness, deaf-blindness, and visual impairment, services in Seattle Public Schools are not based on a student’s qualifying disability. Instead, it is determined by the totality of qualifying areas identified through evaluation.
Independent Education Evaluation
If the Parent/Guardian disagrees with the evaluation results they may request an independent education evaluation (IEE). This is one of IDEA’s procedural safeguards.
Prior Written Notice (PWN)
Prior Written Notice is a standard form to communicate any decisions made regarding a child’s eligibility, services, or placement in special education. It is one of IDEA’s Procedural Safeguards.