IEE Questions

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by klmno, Sep 29, 2009.

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  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    1) Can an IEE be done by someone who is MORE qualified than the sd psychiatric and still be at public expense even if they charge more than typical psycho-educational evaluators?
    2) Can the IEE be done by difficult child's previous therapist who is qualified/licensed to do both clinical psychochology and testing? (He is not one of the few that was on the list provvided by the sd and he obviously knows difficult child better than the sd.) (Update: I called difficult child's old therapist and he's going to pursue doing an IEE at public expense.)

    3) The sd psychiatric and director of Special Education want me to sign full release forms between them and the IEE evaluator so "they can discuss information provided, the findings of reports, and payment". Obviously, they need to discuss payment and the IEE evaluator needs access to sd records, but I don't want them telling the IEE evaluator their impressions prior to his/her own evaluation and opinion being formed. How should I address this? The director of Special Education is at the central office- she does not have difficult child's records. It appears to me that the release form for access to records will be one I sign at the school itself.

    4) I was told that when difficult child is released and goes back to a school wherever we are living, it is considered a transfer, therefore, that sd can choose to evaluation difficult child again. If they do that and have their own sd psychiatric evaluation difficult child, what happens as far as a parent's right for an IEE if a parent is only allowed to get one IEE paid for per year?
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
  2. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    1) Absolutely. You can choose anyone you like (best NOT to choose someone from the sd list) as long as they have the qualifications required by the sd and your State (i.e. licensed to do the evaluation). Cost is not a factor since you are not paying (assuming it is the IEE at public expense you are asking about). The sd has to negotiate that with the independent evaluator. Since you only get one IEE a year you want to be very sure that you have chosen someone who will give you the most bang for your buck and who will

    a) do a good job - thorough, pursue any stuff that comes up during testing that could not have been anticipated in advance, use appropriate standardized tests, perhaps do a school observation, review previous testing and academic records prior to starting any testing

    b) provide a solid report with an opportunity for you to review the report for accuracy prior to its submission as an official report; all details included and presented appropriately - not just summary but also subtest scores presented in standardized format; defensible findings and recommendations; accurately summarize your child's history (health, school, psychiatric), your concerns, previous testing and academic records

    c) will do a good job defending his/her findings at IEP meeting or at a due process hearing - do not assume that just because a person has little letters behind their name they can do this well. If they can't succinctly and forcefully defend their findings and/or their credentials then it may not matter what they found out. So, if possible, ask the person you are considering if they have done this before, how many times, what was the outcome, would they be willing to give you a reference for this particular kind of work like an advocate that they worked with on a couple cases; if they haven't done this before but are certified as an expert witness with the courts that may be good enough but I would be leery. You are putting all your eggs in one basket - make sure the basket doesn't have any holes.

    2) See #1. If the therapist is a psychologist (PhD or PsyD) then the answer is almost certainly yes. If he's not then probably not. It depends on your state's licensing requirements and sd rules.

    3) This is one reason for having an advocate if you are in serious disagreement with the sd. They know the answers to picky little legal questions like this and whether the legal answer is the one you want to put your money on. I am just a laymom so you need to check this out yourself. But it is my understanding that if you want the sd to pay for the IEE you have to agree to give them full access to the person you have chosen to do the report and to the results of the IEE.

    The SD owns the report since they paid for it - not you. This is the greatest advantage to paying yourself - you can tell the SD what you do and do not want the SD to know.

    Have you reviewed your child's school records? Is there something inaccurate in them that you feel will prejudice an independent evaluator? If so, then I would go through the sd procedures to get that corrected or removed ASAP.

    If it's more that the current sd school psychiatric et al have opinions that are at odds with yours - well that's why you've asked for an IEE. I think that you need to discuss your concerns with the evaluator prior to naming that person as your choice. A good psychologist will try to hold an open mind about things and not jump to conclusions too quickly. Hopefully you will choose someone who has done IEE's before and can address your concerns effectively.

    I think it is unrealistic to expect the evaluator to go into an evaluation blind. Part of the evaluator's process is deciding what testing (if any) to do based on past records and current concerns. They can't do that if they don't know anything about your child's past. It would be unethical for them to listen only to you and not the sd too.

    You are perfectly free to tell the independent evaluator why you disagree with the sd findings, or why you think they chose certain tests to get the results they want (be careful though, that is unethical and making an accusation you can't back up may backfire). The later is best posed as an "innocent" question like "gee, the sd results just don't make sense to me given what I know about my child. How do you decide what tests to use? Do you choose tests so that they fit your expectations or some other way?".

    First this gets you the info you want about how your evaluator decides what tests to use and second, without actually accusing the sd, you have not so subtly shared your concern that the sd cherry picked the tests to use in their own evaluation.

    4) Bad words go here. Again, this is why you need an advocate if possible. They can answer that specific question for you. I believe that IDEA only guarantees one IEE per year regardless of transfers etc. But I could be wrong.

    Even if you could get a second IEE out of a new district legally, I would not be surprised if they took you to due process rather than agree to pay for one. And yes, the sd can take YOU to due process over anything at any time if they decide it is in their best interest to go on the offensive with you and they believe they can defend their proposal of FAPE effectively.

    Sit down, take a deep breath and think about having to defend yourself against the SD in court. You don't want to go there. $$$$ in advocates fees at the minimum. On the other hand the sd doesn't really want to go there either for a similar reason - $$$$$.

    This, however, is another reason to get a really well-qualified evaluator who can write an airtight report and defend the report and his/her qualifications. You can always pay the previous evaluator to come to the IEP meeting with the new district. Much cheaper than a new IEE or due process proceedings.

    Changes in districts means that the whole IEP is up in the air again after he transfers. They must honor the existing IEP for a set period of time (here in California it's 30 days) and then must hold an interim IEP meeting at which they can throw out the existing IEP and do a whole new one.

    This can be good or bad depending on the situation. If you have a bad IEP and they are a good district then you may end up with a better IEP. Unfortunately the reverse is also true.

    I would strongly recommend that you get an advocate ASAP. They don't have to be a lawyer but make sure it is someone who has won cases in due process in your judicial area against both school districts if possible (current and future sd). You may be able to work everything out in mediation (we did) but you may not. In that case you will need an advocate. You will NOT win if you try to DIY unless you are an attorney yourself.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I read the release form more carefully- it has one area to sign to allow sd to release info to the evaluator. It has another, separate area to sign allowing evaluator to release info to sd. I will sign allowing sd to release all info. This isn't a problem because the therapist already has it- it was difficult child's therapist. Then, in the section for the evaluator's release, I will clarify that he can release the evaluation information only- but not information related to previous private therapy. The sd didn't pay for that, it's confidential, and does not pertain to psychoeducational assessment.
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