A Parent’s Perspective: Planning for the Evaluation of a Suspected Disability

Whether it is your first time or third time, it’s time for the evaluation team report (ETR) for your child’s suspected disability.  But before we get to the ETR, first the evaluation process must be planned - the topic of this post.

The ETR planning process covers either an initial evaluation or reevaluation.  Typically, the initial evaluation begins with a referral. The date the district receives the referral begins a 30-day time line - the district must inform the parent(s) what their intentions are within 30 days.

The district will send an invitation to the parent for a planning meeting at a time that works for both parties.  Parents, if you can’t attend in-person you can always attend by phone or Zoom.

Before the meeting go to the ODE website for evaluation planning (Ohio Required and Optional Forms | Ohio Department of Education) On that page there are two planning forms – one for preschool age students (Preschool-Evaluation-Planning-Form-1.pdf.aspx (ohio.gov)) and one for school age students (School-Age-Evaluation-Planning-Form.pdf.aspx (ohio.gov))  Parents, look at the planning forms, print the applicable one and take it with you to the planning meeting.  The planning form guides you through the process.  Document who is responsible for each assessment, and what type of assessment they are using.  Remember, you have a right to see these original reports BEFORE they are put in the ETR.  Be proactive and get copies of them.  Just in case some of the information doesn’t make it into the actual ETR or you need them at a later time, you are prepared.

If you bring in outside evaluations for the team to consider at the meeting, that’s good. But, make a list for the team with details of each evaluation and the date the district received the evaluation.  For example:

AIR Self-Determination Assessment (Assessments (ou.edu)).  Evaluator, Jane Doe, OT.  Report sent to district on January 22, 2024

If you want the district to consider the outside evaluations during this process, you must make sure the evaluations are listed on the planning form.  If the evaluations are not listed on the planning form, it will be too easy for them to be overlooked.

You will need to give informed consent to the district for your child to be evaluated.  The form for consent is the PR-05 form (PR-05-Parent-Consent-for-Evaluation.pdf.aspx (ohio.gov)).  Get a copy of this form you sign and all others for your records.

Get copies of all documents at meetings with the district. Keep a list of who attends each meeting and their role. Keep all communications with the district respectful, in writing, and keep a log of your communications. Be prepared, if you need to escalate to an advocate or lawyer you are ready.  Remember, preparing for due process is the best way of ensuring you won’t need to file. An informed parent is a powerful advocate for their child.

ETR-Script-Part-1.pdf.aspx (ohio.gov)

Parent_Quick_Guide_EVALUATION_1.pdf (rrcs.org)
Guidance-Rollover-Language-from-ETR-form.pdf.aspx (ohio.gov) – explains what the language  means on the ETR form, very helpful.