Parent Tip – Letter to Initiate an Assessment

Reprinted from DREDF – The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund has collected country-based laws that protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.  DREDF is a national law and policy center dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities through legislation, litigation, advocacy, technical assistance, and education and training of attorneys, advocates, persons with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities. DREDF is providing this collection of laws and summaries in order to foster sharing of information and encourage the international dialogue on disability anti-discrimination.

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
2212 Sixth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510 644 2555 (TDD available)
800 348 4232
Fax: 510 841 8645

For more sample letters and important information please go to – DREDF Sample Letters

Sample Letter – Request for an Assessment


ATTN:  Name of Person
Director of Special Education
City, State, Zip Code



To Whom It May Concern:

We are the parents of CHILD’S NAME, who is AGE years old and is currently enrolled at SCHOOL in the ??? grade.  Our child has not been functioning well in school and we are concerned about his/her educational progress.  We are writing to make a referral for an assessment for special education services as allowed under the child find obligations of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and California Education Code Secs. 56029, 56301, 56302, and 56321(a) and 5 California Code of Regulations (C.C.R.) Sec. 3021. We are requesting that CHILD’S NAME be given a comprehensive assessment by the school district in all areas of suspected disability, and that an IEP meeting be scheduled for him/her.  Some of our concerns are stated below.

As part of the assessment process, we also request that CHILD’S NAME be assessed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to determine whether she should be identified as handicapped pursuant to that law and to determine what, if any, accommodations might be required in her educational program in the event that she does not qualify for special education services, or in addition to special education services. This is also to request that the 504 Coordinator be present at the IEP meeting to discuss the results and recommendations of the Section 504 assessment.  However we do not agree to substitute a 504 Assessment for a special education assessment.  INSTRUCTIONAL NOTE: DO NOT agree to substitute a 504 Assessment for a special education assessment.

Our specific concerns related to CHILD’S NAME academic progress include:

INSTRUCTIONAL NOTE – OPTIONAL:  You may wish to give specific examples of difficulties and concerns you, teachers have noted.  If you have a specific diagnosis, reports or evaluations already, you may want to include them with your letter if you believe this will help your school district understand you’re your son difficulties/needs, or state that you have this documentation and can make it available to the school district. You may want to include CA Star test results, samples of written work, report cards, etc. that SUPPORT your reasons for concern. You may want to get the classroom teacher to give you concrete examples and work products in writing that support the need for further investigation of the your son problems. The U.S. Congress in IDEA law specifically chose to use the term “educational progress,” a broad term to encompass all kinds of progress a child is expected to make in school. Concern is not limited to academic progress alone. It can mean motor problems, social problems, behavior issues, academic performance concerns, sensory overwhelm, etc.  Below are some examples, but use your own examples:

  • Expressive language disorder
  • Attention difficulties
  • Inattentiveness
  • planning and the organization of information
  • monitor task-oriented activities and self-monitor
  • interpersonal behaviors shift from one task to another
  • initiate, or begin a task without being prompted
  • social skills

We look forward to receiving an Assessment Plan in 15 days for our review and consent so that the evaluations can proceed. We look forward to these evaluations being completed promptly and an IEP meeting within 60 days to discuss the results and plan for CHILD’S NAME supported education.

Also, please ensure that we get copies of the assessment reports at least 5 days before the IEP meeting so that we will have adequate time to review them and prepare any questions we may have for the team.


Mr. and Mrs.

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