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Request to Evaluate teen for Emotional Disturbance



So I submitted a letter asking to have my daughter evaluated for special education and related services, and got confirmation that they received my request.  I got an email this morning from the school psychologist saying the first step is for her to have a phone call with me going over my concerns or what I might specifically be looking for before they do an evaluation. Is this normal? I'm kind of concerned because I don't do great with phone calls it's hard for me to keep track of exact questions asked and answered and make sure i know for sure how I word my responses.  I'm in PA. 

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When you do a request for an eval in PA or any state, they want to know what areas you see concern with.  There are 100's of special ed evals that a school can do and there's no way to do them all on every student - no reason to do it either.  (You can ask for the school psychologist to 'talk' to you via email rather than a phone call.  This way you have time to plan what to say as well as a record of what was said.  Not sure if they would agree to this.)

Parents need to give the school a clue where to start.  Do you have concerns about reading, math, handwriting, etc?  I'd say it's 'normal' for the school to make sure they understand the parent's concerns so they can do the evals that are needed.  There can be meetings to talk over with parents which evals the school is looking to do.  The wording in IDEA (federal law) is to 'evaluate in all areas of suspected disability'.  You do need to list out what areas you see where you 'suspect a disability'.

You called your post "Request to Evaluate teen for Emotional Disturbance", so I'm assuming this is what you want the school to look at.  They do have IEPs for ED but I've seen school psychologists be reluctant to check this box on the IEP.

When a child has ED, It really needs to be a team effort between home & school.  In other words, your child probably needs an outside clinician to work with and have the school offering similar support during school hours.  Schools are educational and supportive.  They shouldn't be the primary help when a student has an emotional disturbance.

ED is a disability.  In PA, every child who is disabled is eligible for Medicaid.  Medicaid will cover a clinician to work with your child.  If your child is working with a clinician who has already done some evals, you should let the school know this for a few reasons.  (1) You can't redo an eval if it's been less than a year since it was done.  (2) Sometimes, the school will use an outside eval to provide services where the school doesn't do an eval.  (3) You want everyone on the same page with treatment.  (4) No need to reinvent the wheel either.  If there is an approach that helps, that info should be shared.

Feel free to post back with questions.

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