What to do when teen refuses to be evaluated for IEP?


Hello, I would like to find out for a parent in our support group, if anyone knows what the school district's responsibility is when the teen refuses to be evaluated through school? Don't they have to do the evaluation anyway? The teen is 14 or 15 years old.

Thank you.


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Yes. I believe the school district has to do the evaluation. The consent is from the parent, not the child. That the child refuses itself can be an indicator of educational barriers.

There are other ways to evaluate even if the child is non-cooperative: parents' interview, current performance, current observation, physicians, a review of the child's past work, a review of child's past behavior in comparison to current, teacher's interviews, private therapists or psychiatrists, a neuropsychologist, Children's Hospital Child Development Clinic Evaluation, etc.

It is actually not uncommon that a child of that age resist cooperation, for reasons of opposition, fear of stigma, etc.

My child never refused, but I dealt with non-cooperative school districts. There are agencies, the one I worked with was called Disability Rights, that can provide assistance and possibly representation. In our case there was discrimination and bullying involved.


Well-Known Member
I think they have to. For clarity, call the state dept. Of public education and ask.

That being saud, if the child wont cooperate, there can be wrong conclusions drawn. I have a son on the autism spectrum. He was compliant but we did not trust school testing so we got private testing. Our insurance did cover it. This helped immensely with our son.the school still has to test but, in our state, they have to give weight to the private evaluator...in our case it was a neuro psychologist (this is not a neurologist) who had worked for over twenty years at Mayo Clinic, then on his own. He was amazing.

Do tell her to call the Dept. Of Public Education to employ a free advocate for her son. That really helped us in meetings with the schools. She was good. We got what our son needed. No school district wants to go to court and an advocate can do this. Ours had done this to a school district and won so she was carefully listened to. And didnt cost us anything.


Yes, they still have to. When you signed the consent for evaluation it stated the evaluations that the district proposed. Those are the ones the district will have to do. Some might be assessments filled out by you or the teachers, some might be file reviews. If your teen refuses to cooperate in evaluations that are directly with him they will just document their attempts to evaluate him and his refusal.
When you have the evaluation share , the IEP team (which includes you!) can decide if his refusal to participate means that you do not have sufficient data to see if he still qualifies. You could than ask redoing part of the evaluation with different assessments that won't depend on your son's cooperation. Small PIA but doable. Absolutely do not let anyone tell you that his refusal means that he can't be evaluated or won't qualify.


Well-Known Member
The evaluation must still proceed; if the case study is looking at behavior and emotional problems the child's participation is not necessary. It would be necessary for a student to cooperate in order to test for a learning disability but not an emotional/behavioral one.