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How can I obtain services from a school?

How can I obtain services from a school?
As a parent, you have first hand, expert knowledge of your child. You know when your child's behavior indicates that 
something is wrong. They may not be doing well in school. Many children with emotional or mental health challenges 
have difficulties at school. Since this is where you child spends a great deal of time, this is one of the most important 
areas to be addressed.

The first step is to request and obtain a full evaluation for your child. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine 
whether your child has a disability, and the nature and extent of any special education and related services that may be 
necessary. The schools are required to provide this evaluation at your request and at no cost to you. The evaluation 
process should look at the whole child and include information about your child’s total environment. It is very important 
that you participate in this evaluation because you know your child best. The evaluation will probably include some 
academic and psychological tests; observations by professionals who have worked with your child, your child’s medical 
history as it relates to school performance; information from he family about your child’s school experiences, abilities, 
needs, and behavior outside of school; and his or her feelings abut school. There should be many people involved in 
the evaluation, such as teachers, school psychologists, school social workers, other professionals, and family. You 
should be aware that all tests must be administered in your child’s primary language and must also be given in a way 
that does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, or cultural background. The result of the evaluation will 
determine whether your child is eligible for special education and related services. A serious emotional challenge is a 
disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which guarantees that all children receive 
appropriate public education regardless of their disability. If your child is eligible, the results of the evaluation will be 
used to develop your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

How can parents help?
Let teachers know you are interested in playing an active part in your child’s educational program.
Visit the classroom. Set up times to meet with the teachers.
Explain any special medication or medical needs your child has.
Inform teachers of any activities or significant events that may influence your child’s school performance.
Request that samples of your child’s work be sent home.
If you have questions, make an appointment with the teachers to discuss the issues, and perhaps to set new strategies 
for meeting your child’s goals.

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