If your child has serious behaviors (such as elopement, fights, disrupting class or hurting herself) that interfere with her learning or another child’s ability to learn or have caused her placement in a regular classroom or less restrictive educational setting to be at risk, you should make a written request for an IEP meeting to determine which assessments and supports and services your child needs to address her behavior in a positive way. Services that the IEP team should consider include a detailed functional behavioral assessment, a behavior support plan, and if appropriate, a positive behavior intervention plan, a one-to-one behavioral aide, parent and/or teacher training and consultation with a behavior specialist, counseling, social skills, anger management, and/or other services and strategies that you believe your child needs.
Before the IEP meeting, you may want to make a written request for a functional behavioral assessment, especially if the school has developed a behavioral support plan or used other behavioral strategies that have not worked to improve your child’s challenging behavior. This assessment should be designed to obtain detailed information about your child’s behavior (such as a detailed description of the behavior, how often it happens, how long it lasts, where it happens, and what happens just before and after your child engages in the challenging behavior) and your child’s learning environments to help the IEP team determine why your child is engaging in challenging behavior and what can be done about it. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has described functional behavioral assessments as “evaluations” under the IDEA. Therefore, you should advise the school district that when you request an FBA, all of the legal requirements that pertain to other evaluations apply. The memo by OSEP, while not binding law, can be used to urge the school district to apply the same procedures to an FBA as it would any other assessment. A discussion of that memo can be found online at www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/ac/bipleafaq.asp
The school has 60 days from when you sign an assessment plan that includes a functional behavioral assessment to perform the assessment and to hold another IEP meeting to discuss the results of the assessment and to determine what services, supports and other positive behavior strategies your child needs. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56344(a)]
If the school district conducts a functional behavior assessment of your child but you do not think the assessment is helpful in determining what kinds of behavioral supports or services your child needs, or you disagree with the school district’s assessment for other reasons, we recommend that you request an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.502; Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56329(b).]
You should make this request in writing to the school district and try to explain the specific parts of the assessment or the methods used to conduct the assessment that you disagree with. If you make a request for an independent educational evaluation, the school district is required by law to either to agree to pay for this assessment or file for a due process hearing to show that the district’s assessment is “appropriate.” [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.502; Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56329(b).]