Outside Agency Evaluations

  • Sometimes parents will have their children evaluated by an outside agency, such as a physician, a private psychologist or other mental health professional, or a private school or educational agency. Often times the outside evaluator will give the child a diagnostic label (as in the case of mental health professionals and physicians) and in the case of a physician, sometimes prescribe medication. It is important for parents to understand that only Rosedale School District – not an outside evaluator – even a physician- retains the right to determine whether or not a child needs and qualifies for special education or Section 504 services. Special education law states that school districts must “consider” the evaluation results of outside evaluators in making special education eligibility decisions. In making such considerations, here are some guidelines Rosedale Union School District will follow:

    1. In case of an outside mental health evaluation conducted by a
    psychologist, social worker, Marriage Family Therapist (MFT) or other mental
    health agent that results in a diagnosis of any kind:

    a. Rosedale Union School District will consider whether or not that agent has used assessment methods/procedures that would be considered appropriate under IDEA and local policy. And, whether or not the resulting diagnostic classification falls under the umbrella of IDEA.

    Assessment methods/procedures that are not acceptable under either IDEA (i.e. methods that are not validated for the purpose for which they are used) or local district policy (i.e. use of projective or other high-inference assessment methods) would be weighted less heavily than research supported methods. Likewise, diagnostic labels that do not fall directly under IDEA, such as Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, etc. will not automatically gain a child entrance to special education programs. However, all evidence will be considered by the IEP team.

    2. In the case of an evaluation conducted by physician (psychiatrist or otherwise)
    resulting in a diagnosis that has no clear or directly measurable biological
    cause, Rosedale Union School District will request from the physician via the
    parent the evidence on which the diagnosis is based. For example:

    a. If a physician diagnoses a child as ADHD, Rosedale Union School District will
    weight that diagnosis more heavily if the physician has received input from
    school personnel (classroom teacher, school psychologist) in making the
    diagnosis. The fact that a child is given medication for a suspected disorder in
    the absence of any objective evidence for the disorder will be weighted less
    heavily in making eligibility determinations.

    b. A psychological diagnosis of any type made in the absence of any rating
    scales, direct behavioral observations in the natural environment or other
    objective evidence, despite prescribing medication for the condition, will be
    weighted less heavily in making eligibility determinations than if the
    diagnosis was made in a more objective fashion.