Updated: Apr 26
Do you have an IEP plan, but have noticed that your child needs an additional service or support which was not included in the original IEP?
The best way to determine if your student would benefit from another service or support would be to conduct additional testing in the area of concern.
In this article, I will walk you through how to request the additional testing, what your rights are in the process, and provide you with a template for how to make this request.
Note: The sample letter and guidelines are drawn from the resources found on the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) website.
Table of Contents:
What are reasons to request additional assessment(s) for a student who has an IEP already?
The IEP may not be appropriately serving the student’s needs
The IEP team is struggling to know how to appropriately address the student’s unique needs
There are new needs
A current need has become more serious or challenging
The student is not making progress or is regressing
The triennial (3-year) evaluation date is approaching
How do I request additional assessment(s) for a student who has an IEP already?
To request assessment, submit a WRITTEN LETTER to the School District Special Education Director. Cc the principal, teacher or others involved with your child’s education. Tell the school district that you are concerned about your child’s educational progress, and briefly why you believe additional information is needed.
How do I know my request has been received by the school?
You will want PROOF of the letter’s delivery.
You may send “certified/ return receipt requested” from the post office.
You may hand deliver and ask that your letter be date stamped, initialed and a copy of this given to you before you leave.
You may fax your letter, print the “successful transmission” fax report, follow up by phone to ensure the entire letter was received, and write a note to yourself about who confirmed it was received and when.
What are my rights in this process? When is the school required to respond to my request?
A WRITTEN letter triggers important timelines in the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA):
From the date the school district receives your letter, the school district has 15 calendar days to present you with an Assessment Plan for your consent.
From the date you receive an Assessment Plan, you have at least 15 calendar days to ask all the questions you need to feel comfortable to give “informed consent” by signing the plan.
From the date you consent to the Assessment Plan by signing it, the district has 60 calendar days to assess your child and hold the first Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting.
NOTE: Calendar days means that weekend days are counted. These timelines pause when the school is out of regular session in excess of 5 school days.
Template for requesting additional assessment
REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL ASSESSMENT(S) FOR A CHILD WHO HAS AN IEP
Parent/Guardian/Education Rights Holder Name
City, State, Zip Code
Date: _____________ [NOTE: This process is driven by timelines. Get receipt to show proof of delivery.]
Delivered via: ___ Fax ___ Registered Mail ___ In person ___ Email
Director of Special Education
Street Address of Special Education Office:
City, State, Zip:
Student Name: Date of Birth:
Name of Current School: Grade:
Dear [Administrator Name]:
I am concerned about my child's educational progress. Although my child has an IEP for which services are currently in place, I feel my child’s [current concerns, for example: behavioral difficulties] are the direct result of a need for additional services and that his current IEP is inadequate to protect my child’s right to a free and appropriate education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
I am writing to make a referral for additional assessment for special education services as required by 5 C.C.R. Sec. 3021(a). I am requesting that my child be given a comprehensive assessment in the areas of...
[Specify ALL areas of concern, for example: academic performance, fine and/or gross motor challenges, the need for assistive technology (AT), socialization, communication, transition, behavior, sensory challenges, vision, hearing, health, mental health, adaptive P.E., etc. If behavior is an important concern, ask specifically for a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA).]
...so that we can develop an appropriate plan based on his needs and strengths and individualize his education so that he can make progress toward his IEP goals.
[If you are requesting specific assessments, it might be worded like this – FOR EXAMPLE:]
I am requesting that my child receive Assistive Technology (AT) assessment by a certified Assistive Technologist to determine necessary AT tools and strategies to help remediate my child’s identified challenges.
[IMPORTANT NOTE: You may list specific concerns and examples that explain the reason for requesting assessment and to drive what the Assessment Plan should include. EXAMPLES below, but you should put your own concerns and examples here.]
My child is being disciplined for behavior that results from his inability to understand and follow social rules.
My child is being excluded from recess and lunchtime activities so he is being restricted from participation in the environment of the school.
My child is increasingly upset and his behavior is worse the more he is disciplined. The current behavior plan is not meeting his needs, and he is not receiving appropriate social learning opportunities with his non handicapped peers.
My child's developmental pediatrician feels his/her problems may be related to more serious speech pragmatic issues rather than only articulation problems, so his current speech plan may be inadequate.
[You may give specific examples of difficulties you, the teacher, or doctor have noted. Wherever possible, get the teacher involved in the process, and ask the teacher to provide examples from specific classroom situations. EXAMPLES:]
Educational Performance Issues:
My child continues to perform below basic in math, despite having received tutoring for 6 months.
My child cannot read beyond a 4th grade level and is in 7th grade. We have already tried outside tutoring or school level 2 interventions.
My child is experiencing significant anxiety and depression over the level of work he is being asked to complete. The IEP team needs to develop appropriate support and accommodations so that my child can continue to keep up and make progress.
Transition Services (mandatory by age 16 and above):
I am concerned that my child does not have the skills necessary to successfully transition into: the community and live independently, obtain post-secondary education, and land a career after graduation or completion of high school. For example, my child cannot balance a checkbook; take public transportation, or independently explain or manage the health-related needs of his condition. I request functional vocational assessment and assessment of transition skills and interests necessary to identify my child’s social- emotional, post-secondary education, career/training, and independent living strengths and needs in order to develop an appropriate Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) in the IEP.
I look forward to receiving an Assessment Plan within 15 calendar days for my review and consent so that the evaluations can proceed. I look forward to evaluations being completed and an IEP meeting held at a mutually agreeable time and place within 60 calendar days of my consent to the Assessment Plan so that we may discuss the results and plan for my child’s supported education. Please ensure that I receive copies of the assessment reports at least 5 business days before the IEP meeting so that I will have adequate time to review them, prepare any questions I may have for the team, and to ensure my parent participation. I understand that if evaluation is refused that I am required to receive Prior Written Notice (PWN) that meets the requirements of IDEA.
[Parent/Guardian/Education Rights Holder Name]
Copies to: [School Principal and other members of child’s educational team as needed]
Enclosed: [list attachments to this letter you may want to include to help the district understand child’s needs]
About the author:
Sean G. McCormick is a parent, husband and international executive function coach. He is the founder of Executive Function Specialists, an online coaching business which guides middle, high school, and college students in overcoming procrastination, disorganization and anxiety by teaching time management, prioritization and communication skills so they feel motivated, prepared, and empowered.
He has also spoken about executive function at prominent venues including the Association of Educational Therapists' National Conference, at the Athenian School and on the Qualified Tutors Podcast.
And last but not least, Sean has hosted over 50 episodes the Earn More Tutoring Podcast with a mission to eradicate educator poverty. The show recently surpassed 8,000 downloads.
Sean is regularly featured across media channels for his expertise on executive function, ADHD and special education.