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(13.6) If I think my child needs services, who should I contact?

(13.6) If I think my child needs services, who should I contact?

You should write a letter to your local school district administrator (for example, the principal or special education director) to request an assessment or evaluation for your child.  [5 C.C.R. Sec. 3021; Cal. Ed. Code Secs. 56029, 56300 – 56329.]  Under state law, your district must give you an assessment plan within 15 days of receiving your written request for special education services, unless the district disagrees with the need for assessment.  If the request is made 10 days or less before the end of the school year, the plan must be developed within 10 days of the start of the next school year.  [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56321(a).]

You then have 15 days to respond to, or approve, the assessment plan.  During that time, you can request assessment in additional areas.  No one can assess your child unless you give consent in writing.  [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56321(c).]  See Chapter 2, Information on Evaluations and Assessments.

If a standardized test is considered invalid for children between the ages three and five years, evaluators should use alternative testing methods.  Alternatives might include scales, instruments, observations, and interviews, as specified in the assessment plan.  [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56441.11(e).]

An IEP must be developed as a result of the assessment within 60 days from the date the district receives your written consent for assessment (not counting days between school sessions, terms or vacations that are longer than five days). However, if the request was made 30 days or less before the end of the regular school year, the assessments and IEP must be completed within 30 days after the next school year begins.  [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56344(a).]