Initial & Re-eval Team Reports
Ohio recognizes many different types of disabilities when determining whether a child is eligible for special education:
Speech or language impairment;
Traumatic brain injury;
Other health impairment;
Specific learning disability;
Multiple disabilities; or
If you suspect that your child has a disability that affects them educationally, you should formally, and in writing, request a comprehensive evaluation by the school. You will meet with the school, including your child’s teacher, a school psychologist, the school nurse, sometimes an occupational therapist, speech therapist or physical therapist, and perhaps a principal, to see if the school agrees that they also suspect a disability. This can be a huge hurdle.
If the school agrees, you will need to meet within 30 days of your request to have a planning meeting to determine what kinds of tests and observations will be done. Once you give your written consent, the school will have 60 days to test, observe, gather data, and then write the Evaluation Team Report (ETR). You will need to meet within those 60 days to go over the ETR.
During that ETR meeting the school will talk about why they do or do not believe that your child has a disability. They will also talk about why they do or do not believe that disability affects your child educationally. This can also be a huge hurdle. For example, your doctor may have diagnosed your child with ADHD, but the school may not believe that the ADHD affects him or her in school. Any information or data, including private evaluations, can be a huge help at this point in the process.
If the school agrees that your child does have a disability that affects they educationally, then they have 30 days to write up an IEP and hold a meeting to discuss it. The ETR is good for 3 years, at which time the school must reevaluate your child.
If the school does not agree, you may appeal that decision. Alternatively, you could request an Independent Education Evaluation.
Important: If the ETR is sloppy or does not accurately describe your child’s difficulties, it is almost impossible to get an appropriate IEP written. For example, schools do not diagnose dyslexia, but use the more general “specific learning disability.” A child with dyslexia needs a very specific type of program or curriculum to learn to read (Orton Gillingham and Wilson are two). If dyslexia is in your ETR then the school must teach them according to a scientifically based curriculum that addresses dyslexia. However, someone with a specific learning disability does not necessarily need such a program, and schools can legally use many different programs. Those programs will probably not help your child to read.
For more information:
Ohio Operating Standards, 3301-51-05(G), page 103-116 at https://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Special-Education/Federal-and-State-Requirements/Operational-Standards-and-Guidance/2014-Ohio-Operating-Standards-for-the-Education-of-Children-with-Disabilities.pdf.aspx
Questions? Call us. 614.368.5100