What is an IEE? And why is it so important?

An IEE is an Independent Educational Evaluation, performed by a qualified professional who does not work for the public school or school district.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides that parents of special education students have a right to an IEE when they disagree with the public school’s evaluation of their child.  20 U.S.C. §1415(b)(1), 34 C.F.R. 300.502.

A qualified expert assessment of your child’s needs is essential to understand and to prove what kind of educational program and services the school district should provide your child to meet his or her needs.

How Important is an IEE?

In a landmark ruling, The Supreme Court acknowledged that without an independent expert, parents really can’t challenge the school district’s program and can’t prove their case that the school district’s idea of what their child needs could be wrong.  The Court wrote:

“IDEA thus ensures parents’ access to an expert who can evaluate all the materials that the school must make available, and who can give an independent opinion. [Parents] are not left to challenge the [school district] without a realistic opportunity to access the necessary evidence, or without an expert with the firepower to match the opposition.” Schaffer v. Weast, 546 U.S. 49, at 60-61 (2005).

How do you get an IEE?

You can always obtain an independent evaluation of your child, paid for by you or your health insurance, and the IEP (Individualized Educational Program) team at your child’s school must consider the results and recommendations.  20 U.S.C. 1414 (d)(3)(A)(iii). And, if you disagree with the school district’s assessment of your child, you can request that the school district fund your child’s IEE.  34 C.F.R. 300.502.

What if the school district refuses to fund the IEE?

If the school district refuses your request, it can file for due process and take you to hearing to determine whether it is required to fund the IEE.  A qualified special education attorney can counsel you so you can get the independent evaluation you need, and secure the appropriate services and support that your child needs to learn and grow.

Expert Tip:  Make sure your independent assessor has both expertise evaluating children like yours, and experience testifying in due process hearings.

For a free consultation with Law Offices of Heather Zakson:  424-369-ZLAW or [email protected]

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