I disagree with my school’s OT evaluation. Can I request a private one that will test for sensory issues? - All Children Learn

Even if your child already receives OT services, you may still see they are struggling and behaving in ways that indicate something isn’t quite right. If you have received an OT evaluation from your school district and don’t think it was adequate to address the sensory issues you see your child experiencing, you may be considering a second opinion. 

Who pays for that additional evaluation can depend on a few factors. 

According to section 300.502 of the IDEA, a parent can request for the school district to pay for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) if they disagree with the results of the one given. 

One independent educational evaluation is allowed at public expense each time an evaluation has been conducted, and the parent disagrees.

The school may still feel their evaluation was appropriate. This could begin what is called “a due process hearing,” in which it must be shown that their evaluation was the right one for your child. 

The outcome of this hearing will determine the next steps for payment responsibility. 

If a school is required to pay for the private evaluation, that IEE is conducted by a professional not working for your child’s school system. It is required that the private evaluation use the same criteria – from location to examiner qualifications –  and that the school cannot impose other conditions or deadlines. 

Another circumstance that could lead to the school district paying for the IEE is if, during a due process hearing, the hearing officer asks for an IEE, it is then provided at public expense.

OT Evaluation for Sensory Issues

The Occupational Therapist will look at the child from different perspectives: how they learn and play, looking for possible sensory processing issues such as the ability to focus on tasks and activities, and more. It may also focus on just one area of the child’s development. 

After the evaluation is completed, the evaluator will provide all the information they have gathered and analyzed, discuss how the results affect your child, set goals, and recommend a plan for achieving them.

Take the guesswork away. 

As you become an advocate in your child’s education, you will learn that speaking up when something isn’t right can be critical to long-term success. Educate yourself on your rights and reach out to contacts who can help support you. All Children Learn is a community and knowledge base with answers to the most challenging questions.