When building a plan to advocate for your child’s special education, it is important to also build a team that is competent and that you feel you can trust. Of course, that could include the attorneys at Holloway and Kimberlin, LLC, but you will also want to find an expert on your child’s disability.
You should center your master plan on a comprehensive evaluation by an expert evaluator or evaluators who are not affiliated with your school district. Ideally the evaluator you choose will work with you and your child over several years. The evaluator should be able to conduct evaluations of your child. This person will often be a psychologist or psychiatrist.
This consultant will become a valuable member of your child’s advocacy team. This person can help to:
Teach you about your child’s disability and educational needs
Explain how to interpret test scores and test results
Help you learn about tests, how tests measure educational progress
Evaluate your child’s progress toward IEP goals and objectives
It is important that you attempt to establish a good working relationship with your evaluator or consultant, as this person(s) will serve as a reliable source of information for you.
Finding the right person to fit the needs of both you and your child can be challenging. You should interview at least two or three individuals for the job. When meeting an evaluator for the first time, explain to them exactly what you are looking for. Tell them that you are looking for an independent professional who can evaluate your child. Other things you can make known during this interview could be that you want someone to help you design an appropriate educational program for your child, someone to assist you in monitoring your child’s progress in the program, or someone who is extremely knowledgeable in working with kids who have a particular disability.
Be sure to ask if the independent evaluator will do collateral interviews with other professionals and assessors, and is willing to conduct thorough student observations. Also ensure that you and the evaluator share the same goals and philosophy when it comes to advocating and helping your child.
To begin your search for the perfect educational consultant or evaluator, start by contacting advocacy groups and organizations that represent individuals with your child’s disability and ask if they are willing to recommend any consultants to you. You can also contact non-profit organizations or tutors who work with children with your child’s disability and inquire about their recommended consultants. You can also look at university medical centers, children’s hospitals, and child development centers.
Before long, you will have a list of potential educators and consultants you can begin to narrow down and choose from.
If you feel that your child may be entitled to more special education services than they are currently receiving, the attorneys at Holloway and Kimberlin, LLC would be happy to offer a free consultation to you and your family.