Medical vs Education Evaluations
First off, what do you do when you get a medical evaluation? If you have a meeting coming up, a determination meeting, the first thing you do is get that medical evaluation in enough time for the teachers to look it over. Not just the night before. They’re not going to read it. If they do, they won’t have enough time to properly process the information.
You don’t want to force feed the information to anybody. This is, once again, your child’s overall wellbeing we are discussing here. Get those medical evaluations in early and make them available to everyone on the team. Everyone is different and will view and process these medical evaluations in a different way. There are a lot of different things we will find out if we get those evaluations in others hands earlier than later.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say the medical diagnosis is autism.
Autism is often the biggest controversy with these medical vs educational evaluations. A doctor might, very well, give you a test or assessment… give your child an assessment, and it comes up, “Yes, your child has autism.” You take this assessment, you get to the school, and you expect autism to be part of the IEP. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. So what happens is, a medical professional can see autism, but in the school environment, if the school isn’t seeing autism as affecting that child, once again, in the school setting, then autism might be off the table as a disability category.
Now, that does not mean the school doesn’t believe your child has autism. They’re just saying that, “Yes, they have autism, but it’s not affecting them, in an educational setting.” In other words, it’s not impacting them to access their education.
Here’s another thing to consider with these medical evaluations. One of the most common scenarios we’ve come across in meetings is, we get a great medical evaluation, and then the school says, “Well, we appreciate you giving us this evaluation, but, it was in a clinical setting. And in our school, it’s an educational setting. So, we appreciate the recommendations, but that’s coming from a medical or clinical setting. So, we’re not going to necessarily honor these recommendations.”
It doesn’t necessarily mean that your child won’t receive an IEP. It just may mean that autism might not be a part of it.
What we would encourage you to do to beef up the support of that medical evaluation is plan this IEP determination meeting around the medical provider’s schedule so that they can attend. Maybe they can’t come in. That’s rare, but we could find a time when they have a half hour to talk on the phone. If they’re on the phone for a half hour, let’s make sure we address that evaluation, while they’re on the phone.
You have the right to invite your doctor, physician or nurse. You can invite whoever might have some input from the medical clinical setting. It really helps to have them part of the meeting to back up that support in that argument, “Oh, that’s just a clinical setting.”