• Sean McCormick

How To Request An Evaluation For Special Education Services From Your Child’s School

Dear Sean: My child is entering 4th grade this year and I am overwhelmed. Although his teachers tell me that he is a uniquely gifted student, simple things like writing a card overwhelm him to the point of tears. Additionally, we spend hours each day helping him to manage his homework. What can we do?

-Overwhelmed in Austin

Dear Overwhelmed in Austin: Your child is what we describe as twice-exceptional, or 2e, in the special needs community. A twice exceptional student is considered exceptional both because of their giftedness and because of their special needs. Oftentimes, 2e students require specialized services from the school to fully access their education.

In your case, I recommend requesting a (free) assessment to be done through the school. The school will assess whether or not your child is eligible for special education supports that might include support with writing challenges (also known in some cases as dysgraphia), support with emotional outburst or emotional dysregulation that might include school-based counseling, and executive function supports which generally falls under the umbrella of a service termed “specialized academic instruction”. All these services require an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in order to start.

The first step to obtaining an IEP is to determine if your child is eligible for special education services. To do this, you need to request that your child be evaluated by the school, for free. Here is a sample letter that you can use to make the initial request for an evaluation:

Today’s Date (include month, day, and year)

Your Name Street Address City, State, Zip Code Daytime telephone number

Name of Principal Name of School Street Address City, State, Zip Code

Dear (Principal’s name),

My name is (name) and my child, (child’s name), is in (__) grade in (name of teacher)’s class at (name of school).

I am writing to you about my child’s struggles in school. I would like my child to be evaluated for special education services and I would like this record to serve as consent, from me, for my child to be evaluated. Please also send me a “Consent to Evaluate” letter at your earliest convenience, although I would like the receipt of this letter to begin the evaluation process.

I know there is a process to follow in order to request a referral for evaluation for special education services. I would like to know more about how that works.

Can you please send me information about the referral process and about how I can initiate a referral for evaluation?

Thank you for your assistance. Should you have any questions, I can be reached at (give your phone number). I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely, Your name

Copy sent to:

 — your child’s teacher

 — your child’s education record

After four school days, if you have not heard anything, send a follow up email to the school. ALWAYS send these things in writing to ensure they are following the special education timelines. Sometimes, the school may deny your request for an evaluation. If this happens, refer to this article to learn what to do next.

What do if your school denies your request for an evaluation:

Do you have specific questions about education you would like answered? Send me an email at: and I’ll do my best to answer your questions in a timely manner.