For those who missed our February 20 meeting, we asked Jenna Kade a local Orton Gillingham tutor to “run interference” and to provide answers to top themes raised from our January meeting. We wanted to get help quickly to those who needed it.
Jenna provided an extensive amount of fact-checking and background work on this so many thanks to her for all her hard work in sifting through that. In fact, she was kind enough to provide a written rundown of what she covered. Here goes.
What Constitutes a Complete MFE
A letter requesting a comprehensive multi-factored evaluation (MFE) is complete when it contains these details:
- The words, ” I suspect my child has a learning disability and I am requesting the school perform a comprehensive multi-factored evaluation” or if you have a professional diagnosis, ” my child has been diagnosed with the following disability…. and I am requesting the school perform a comprehensive, multi-factored evaluation.” You should attach the diagnosis/test results to your letter.
- Adverse effects you are seeing at home that are caused by the disability. Some examples: crying/aggression during homework or when faced with having to go to school, not being able to finish homework, homework taking way longer than it should, an inability to complete homework independently, having to work all week to memorize the spelling words and then having no recall of those words as soon as the test is taken.
- You must state that this letter is your consent for the school to do the MFE.
- No Child Left Behind can be mentioned as it gives parents the right to identify their child as learning disabled.
- You can also attach the memorandum found on OSEP’s website with the subject: A Response to Intervention (RTI) Process Cannot Be Used to Delay~Deny an Evaluation for Eligibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) from Melody Musgrove, Ed.D.
MFE Timeline & Definitions
- The day the school receives your letter requesting a comprehensive MFE is referred to as the RECEIPT DATE. The RECEIPT DATE starts the 30 day time period the school has to respond to your request. All timelines are based on calendar days, therefore weekends and days off count.
- During those 30 days these things should take place: parent calls to verify the letter was received (1-3 days after the letter was sent) and the school schedules a meeting with the parents within those first 2-3 weeks to discuss the MFE process/plan and to have the parents sign a consent form. This meeting will be considered the REFERRAL DATE, the referral date is the day the school agrees to do the MFE, it has NO bearing on the timeline.
- The school then has an additional 30 days to complete the MFE, compile the results, and set-up an ETR (Evaluation Team Report) Meeting. Therefore the school is allotted 60 calendar days to complete the MFE process.
At the ETR Meeting the school psychologist will go over the results of all the assessments with the parents. The speech therapist and physical therapist may also be there if they have data to share.
Due to the results of the MFE a decision will be made as to whether or not the school feels your student qualifies for special education services aka an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or 504** Plan. The parent(s) will have to sign saying they agree that their student needs special education and that they want to proceed with an IEP or 504 Plan. After a child qualifies for special education an IEP MEETING must be held within 30 days.
Additional actions that can be taken if the school responds with a Prior Written Notice stating that it does not feel an MFE is needed at this time.
- The parent’s original request letter can be re-sent to the school’s Head of Pupil Services and/or to the Ohio Department of Education
- Parents can choose to have one or two components of the MFE performed privately and then provide the school with those results. Of course, parents can choose to have the entire MFE performed privately but the process costs around $2000.00.
- Parents can contact OSEP (Office of Special Education Programs) for assistance.
- Finally, if all other attempts have failed the law does provide parents the right to have their child privately assessed at the school district’s expense.
*An IEP is an education plan containing goals and measures that are directly related to the deficits shown on the MFE. An IEP will also list accommodations afforded to your student due to their learning disability.
**A 504 Plan refers to the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It differs from an IEP in that it does not have educational goals but it does list accommodations and strategies the classroom teacher can add to his/her lesson plans in order to better serve your student. Many times a 504 will be implemented when there is a medical diagnosis and/or physical handicap.