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Demystifying the IEE: What Parents need to know

Demystifying IEE Evaluations: What Parents Need to Know

What Parents Need to Know!

An informative guest blog by Licensed Educational Psychologist, Meredith Gleason.

What is an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE)? Meredith takes you behind the scenes to demystify what is an IEE and how to get one for your child. She digs deep into key differences between IEEs and district evaluations. Get the right information straight from the source along with your next steps. Don't miss out on this all-important Question and Answer blog.


Q: What Is an IEE?

A: An IEE stands for Independent Educational Evaluation. It is an assessment conducted in a specific area by a licensed and trained professional who is not affiliated with the school district. These professionals can include educational psychologists, neuropsychologists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and others. The primary purpose of an IEE is to provide recommendations that are in the best interest of the student based on the assessment results. It's important to note that IEE assessors do not represent the school district or parents; their focus is on the student's needs and educational progress. The results of the IEE are shared in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting, where the team considers these results to make decisions about the student's educational plan.

Q: How Is an IEE Different From a District Evaluation??

A: An IEE differs from a district evaluation primarily because it is conducted by professionals who are not employed by the school district. This independence allows IEE assessors to make recommendations based solely on what they believe is best for the student's educational progress. This can sometimes lead to recommendations that differ from those of a district evaluation. The recommendations from an IEE can include specific accommodations, support, program placements, therapies, or changes to eligibility criteria, among other things. The types of IEEs vary depending on the area of assessment requested, including psycho-educational, speech and language, occupational therapy, mental health, functional behavioral assessment, academic, auditory processing, visual processing, and more. Additionally, some IEE assessments are conducted by specialists not typically employed by the school district, such as neuropsychologists, audiologists, and vision therapists.

Q: When Is It Time to Ask for an IEE?

A: There are several scenarios in which it is appropriate to request an IEE, but the most common is when parents disagree with the evaluation results determined by the IEP team. For example, if the IEP team assesses a child and concludes that they do not qualify for an IEP, but parents believe otherwise, they can formally request an IEE in writing from the school district. Upon receiving this request, the district has two options: they can either fund the IEE, meaning they will pay for it, or they can file a response, which initiates due process, indicating they stand by their assessment or offer of free and appropriate education. In most cases, districts choose to fund the IEE as it is a more conservative approach to allocating resources. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with your parental rights in the IEP process, seek guidance from an advocate or attorney, and make the IEE request within the first year of the evaluation. Other times to request an IEE can arise during due process or as a result of a settlement with the school district.

Q: Once I Get the IEE, What Are My Next Steps?

A: Once you have obtained an IEE approval from the district, the next steps involve you, as parents, selecting an IEE assessor. You can choose an assessor from a list provided by the school district, which typically includes pre-approved local IEE evaluators, or you can select your own evaluator as long as they meet the minimum requirements outlined by the district. Following this, the district will need to enter into a contract with the chosen IEE evaluator, and then the assessment process can commence. It's important to note that IEEs may take as long as a typical evaluation, which can be around 60 days or even longer. The IEE process can help the district and family work together as an IEP team with outside professionals’ recommendations and guidance. Conducting IEEs has given me, as a Licensed Educational Psychologist, a lot of satisfaction over the past few years. Whenever I conduct an IEE, my goal is to help IEP teams focus on a student-centered approach and strengthen the home and school relationship. In many cases, an IEE can be in the best interest of the student and yield positive outcomes.


Author’s note:

Meredith Gleason is a multi-award-winning Licensed Educational Psychologist with nearly two decades of experience spanning from preschool to college. Meredith founded Empower Child Learning, driven by the desire to forge stronger connections with families. With a personal dyslexia experience, Meredith is deeply committed to empowering students and their families. Specializing in childhood anxiety, ADHD, autism, and dyslexia, Meredith brings a wealth of expertise to her practice and her phenomenal blogs. Get started HERE to contact Meredith.