What to do with your Child’s IEE

As a child psychologist and school psychologist in Phoenix, AZ, I often work with parents who are concerned about their child's academic performance or behavior in school. Sometimes parents are not pleased with the evaluation that the schools have completed.  One tool that can be helpful in identifying a child's needs and ensuring they receive appropriate support is an independent educational evaluation (IEE).

An IEE is an evaluation of a child's educational needs and abilities conducted by a qualified professional who is not employed by the child's school district. It is every parent’s right to request an IEE after a school based evaluation has been completed if they either do not agree with the findings or they feel the school team has not addressed all the areas of concern appropriately. An IEE can provide an objective view and valuable information about a child's strengths and challenges, and can help parents and educators develop a plan to support the child's academic and social-emotional development.

Here's what you can expect during an independent educational evaluation:

  1. Initial Consultation: The process typically begins with an initial consultation with the evaluator, who will gather information about the child's background, history, and current concerns.
  2. Assessment: The evaluator will conduct a variety of assessments to evaluate the child's abilities and needs. These may include standardized tests, interviews with the child and parents, observations of the child in different settings, and review of academic and behavioral records.
  3. Analysis: The evaluator will analyze the results of the assessments and develop a report summarizing the findings. This report may include recommendations for educational accommodations or interventions, as well as suggestions for additional evaluations or services.
  4. Feedback and Discussion: The evaluator will typically meet with the parents and/or school district to discuss the findings of the evaluation and provide recommendations. This discussion can help parents and educators develop a plan to support the child's needs and ensure they receive appropriate educational services.

It's important to note that any parent who does not agree with the findings of an evaluation or feels that all areas of concern were not appropriately addressed, can request an IEE and this is done at the expense of the district. Sometimes, parents wish to pay out of pocket for comprehensive evaluations, which is another option. 

If you receive a report from your educational agency that you do not agree with, it can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. However, there are resources available to help parents navigate the situation and ensure their child receives appropriate support. Here are a few resources that may be helpful:

  1. Advocacy Groups: There are many advocacy groups and organizations that specialize in supporting parents of children with special needs. These groups can provide resources, guidance, and support to help parents navigate the education system and advocate for their child's needs.
  2. Second Opinion Evaluations: If a parent disagrees with the results of a school based or independent evaluation, they may consider seeking a second opinion evaluation from a different evaluator. This can provide a fresh perspective and may uncover additional information or recommendations that were not identified in the initial evaluation.
  3. Counseling and Support Services: It's important for parents to take care of their own mental and emotional well-being during a challenging time. Counseling and support services for parents can include parent coaching , workshops, or even having their own therapists which can provide a safe space for parents to process their feelings, gain perspective, and develop coping strategies.

It's important for parents to remember that they are not alone in their journey to support their child's needs. By reaching out for support and utilizing available resources, parents can advocate for their child's education and well-being and ensure they receive the support and services they need to thrive.

In summary, an independent educational evaluation can be a valuable tool for parents and educators providing an objective and comprehensive view into the child's needs and developing a plan to support their academic and social-emotional development. By understanding what goes on during this evaluation process, parents can feel more confident and informed about their options for supporting their child's educational journey.