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Need help with IEP

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Our 7th grader who has RAD, BIPOLAR, ADHD, MOOD DISORDER needs an IEP for next year. I am a much older parent & am unsure how to go about this. She refuses to do any work & has pretty much flunked 7th grade. I hope to have something in place by the start of next school year. Can anyone help? 

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Your first step would be to request an evaluation (in writing - email is fine).  Ask that all areas be evaluated in which you and teachers - reach out to them, as well - have concerns.  I would suggest communication skills/speech, social/emotional, general intelligence, adaptive behavior, and academic.  You will receive a consent form with a checklist.  If something isn't checked that you think should be evaluated, ask for it to be checked.  School districts have 60 days from receiving the consent form (so turn this is quickly) to put an IEP in place, IF found eligible.  It's 60 SCHOOL days, so it might be a little after the start of the next school year before it's implemented.  I would include in my request for an evaluation the reasons why you are asking for one - attach outside evaluations showing all her diagnoses, as well as specific instances that have occurred at school.  What the school is looking for is proof that the disabilities are affecting her access to the general curriculum.  For instance, if she's not paying attention in class due to her ADHD, that means she is not learning.

If she is not found eligible by the school district's evaluation, request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).  This is a third party provider that evaluates your child at no cost to you.  The school has to honor this request or else take you to court (so 99% of the time they agree to the IEE).  Once that is complete, request another eligibility meeting to go over the new evaluation and hopefully determine eligibility.

There are many steps after eligibility is determined, so keep us posted on where you are in the process and what information you need.  In the meantime, I would suggest going to your state department of education's website and looking for anything you can find regarding the process for special education.  They might even have agencies listed that can assist you free of charge.

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The "60 days to do an eval" varies by state.  I'm in PA and it is 60 calendar days.  Most states do no count summer break - not part of the calendar for the purpose of 60 calendar days in PA.  Yes, it is confusing and a huge learning curve to climb but we are here to help.  Putting things in writing - on paper or via email - creates a paper trail so you can count the days from your request as well as having documentation of the school's response...in case there is a question in the future.

Do write your request ASAP so you get the clock ticking.  The last page of this has a template for your written request:  https://www.elc-pa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/getting-a-special-education-evaluation.pdf  This format should work in any state.

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