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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

What Do You Do with the Private Assessment Report?

Whenever you receive a private assessment, it must be reviewed, discussed, and considered by the IEP or 504 team. As soon as you receive it, write the date of receipt on the front of the report. If it is received at the meeting, write, “Received at IEP (504) meeting on (date).” If you receive the report at the meeting and it is of such length or complexity that taking a break to read it will not give you enough time to understand it, then state another meeting must be scheduled to review the report. At that point, schedule the meeting. Do not delay. However, if you can take a break to review the report and believe a quick reading is sufficient in order for the team to review, discuss, and consider the report, then go ahead and review the report. Your notes from the meeting should reflect your consideration of the report, and if it was just received, note that fact too in the notes.

In connection with scheduling a meeting to review a report you have received ahead of time, do not delay in scheduling the meeting. You have an obligation to review the report.

Make sure that when you are reviewing the report, you discuss not only the findings but the recommendations in the report. Some of the recommendations may already be in the IEP or 504 Plan, some may need to be added, and some may make no sense. Just because something is written in a report does not mean it is accurate or reliable, no matter how renown the institution that authored the report. It is not unusual to receive a private report filled with boilerplate recommendations. Sometimes, the reports are based just on parental input and include behaviors not seen in the school setting. Or, conclusions are reached by a private examiner based on the snapshot assessment of the child and do not match the child. It is important for the team to note these issues and to include them in the notes of the meeting.

If you have questions about something in the report, ask for consent to consult with the writer of the report. If consent is refused, note that in the notes of the meeting. Also, if part of the report is deleted or pages are missing, ask to see the missing portions. Explain that without reviewing the report in its entirety, it is difficult to give it the consideration needed. What is missing could be comments about the child’s health or behavior on the day of the assessment which would have a major impact on the outcome of the assessment, family trauma that could be the cause of behaviors, or prior medical findings. You need the entire report.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
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