Paula Flower, Parent Advocate, provides the following instructions on writing a letter to request evaluation of your child:
Write a short letter to the director of special education services in your school district stating who you are and who your child is (eg. I am the mother of Jane Doe) and where she attends school. State that you are making a referral for assessment for special education services as required by 5 C.C.R. Sec. 3021(a) and describe briefly why you are making the request for assessment - - the areas in which your child is struggling in school. Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested - - because this will begin a timeline.
Each state has slightly different timeline requirements in which they must get the assessments done and an IEP scheduled, so you should Google your particular state's DOE (department of education) and then go to the special education link and they should have this information on-line. If you can't find it there, google your state's Protection & Advocacy Agency (eg. Louisiana Protection and Advocacy) and track it down that way.
My little form letter looks like this:
Your Name Address City, State Zip telephone number
Mr. John Wayne Director of Special Education Local Unified School District Address City, State Zip
Dear Mr. Wayne,
I am the mother of Jane Doe who is currently enrolled in Regular Elementary School in the 3rd grade. My daughter has been struggling in school and I am concerned about her educational progress. <i>(You may want to add here exactly how she is struggling)</i>
I am writing to make a referral for assessment for special education services for Jane, as required by 5 C.C.R. Sec. 3021(a). She may be eligible for special educsation assistance. I am requesting that Jane be given a comprehensive assessment by the school district and that an IEP meeting be scheduled for her.
As part of the assessment process, I also request that my child be assessed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to determine whether she should be identified as "handicapped" pursuant to that law and to determine what, if any, accommodations might be required in her educational program in the event that she does not qualify for special education services or in addition to special education services. Therefore I would also like to request that the Unified School District's Section 504 Coordinator be present at the IEP meeting to discuss the results and recommendations of the Section 504 assessment.
I look forward to receiving an assessment plan with 15 days. I understand that after I sign the assessment plan the school district has ___ days (look this up) in which to complete the assessment and schedule an IEP meeting. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your cooperation and assistance.
Send everything certified mail, return receipt requested. MAKE A PAPER TRAIL. This I cannot stress enough.
One more bit of advice: they may try to "stall" the whole process by having you attend what is called an SST, sometimes called a Student Study Team or Student Success Team. They cannot escape their obligation to assess within your state's timelines by having you go through the SST process, and frankly, until they assess, SSTs are a waste of time -- like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.