If a child already receives special education services, the above standards apply for re-evaluation. A re-evaluation must take place at least every three years. It may, however, be conducted more often if the parent or teacher makes a written request. An evaluation may also be done in specific areas of concern. A re-evaluation of all areas of suspected need or one for particular areas may occur if parents feel their child is not meeting the short-term objectives of the current IEP.
Parents who feel their child’s placement should be changed need to have a basis for their request. For example, a child may be exhibiting problem behaviors that were not previously exhibited. It may be necessary to reassess his placement or develop new behavior techniques to address this area. As a first step, an evaluation by a specialist familiar with ASD behaviors could be requested. The IEP can then be changed to reflect the results.
For example, a child may have an annual goal to increase her language production and comprehension skills, but is not meeting the objectives developed in her IEP for this goal. The parent may wish to request that a re-evaluation be done with a speech therapist who has knowledge of autism. It may be determined from the results that an increase in the number of hours of therapy per week is necessary.
A re-evaluation of all areas of suspected need may come prior to the scheduled annual IEP meeting. If the child has made significant progress since the last evaluation, the treatment, placement and therapy recommendations may not be applicable. A re-evaluation addressing all areas would become the basis for a more appropriate IEP.
Parents may suggest that professionals with knowledge of autism be present at the school for these evaluations. The school does not have to use the suggested professional, but may appreciate the assistance in finding a qualified person. As explained above, if the parents disagree with the school’s evaluation, they do have a right to acquire an independent evaluation.
The evaluation (school or independent) should become the basis for writing the child’s IEP. The IEP must be prepared and agreed upon before placement decisions are made. The placement may not be chosen first, then the IEP written to fit the placement decision.