{Ask an Advocate} school says they cannot include doctor info on IEP

Today’s question:

We are writing the first IEP and I have been told by one professional that we can add the doctors’
reports to the IEP and the entire document becomes a legal document. The school with whom we’re working says that we cannot attach the doctors’ reports to the IEP. I live in Cleveland. Can you help me?

Great question. First, yes, the school “can” attach it to the IEP. When it comes down to it, schools can do whatever is necessary or appropriate for the child. So, not splitting hairs here, but it’s not a matter of “can’t” but a matter of “won’t.”

Ask yourself–are you being reasonable? Are you asking them to attach a few pages’ worth of findings and recommendations…or hundreds of pages akin to a small medical journal. If it’s the latter, then ask each doctor’s office to give you a summary of a few paragraphs up to a page.

Now, what you are asking for…why are you asking it? Did she go through an initial evaluation process? What do those reports say? Do they not paint an accurate picture of her? Then that, in my opinion, is your bigger issue. The evaluation they did of her was not either fully complete or accurate. Are these reports important to her progress, her outcomes, her areas of need being fully addressed? You can ask for it to be included as part of her intial ER (evaluation report), the IEP, or as part of your parent letter of attachment.

Ok, so fine, they didn’t find everything you thought they would…presumably you have documentation that does say this…you want it attached. I’ve written a whole bunch of posts about IEEs (Independent Education Evaluations) and how all that works. But, these are not educational evaluations, they are medical. And here is where they may split hairs–especially if your doctors’ have made recommendations that they do not have the power or licensure to do. Then again, if your child has medical issues and particular instructions must be followed medically, (such as gastro and diabetes issues, just as an example) then it must be in. And, after all, school districts only have to consider the information from an IEE report. Consider, not follow to the letter. Clear as mud so far?

If you don’t already have good, concise reports in plain language from the doctors, get them. You don’t want a bunch of lab findings or other medical stuff that no one will understand. Keep the important stuff front and center so it doesn’t get overlooked. Then, you can submit them as part of your Parental Concerns portion. Yes, they do have to include your concerns, just depends on how hard you want to fight that fight. If they refuse, will it possibly affect progress and outcomes?

You can also go through the whole process, and when you get the IEP and NOREP to sign, sign disapprove until it’s included. Or, approve, and then write your concerns directly on the NOREP.

Author’s note: A reminder that NOREP is a term we use here in PA. Other states refer to it as PWN (Prior Written Notice) or may have their own state specific term. It is the document that you get that seals the deal, when you agree or disagree to the IEP, placement and all the services.

For example:

Dear Mr Spec Ed Director,

I am signing this NOREP today because I do not want to delay my daughter getting services in a timely manner. However, I have my reservations about My School District not placing some essential information despite my repeated requests. I have included 4 reports from 4 different specialists, and their findings and recommendations are not found elsewhere in the IEP. These are areas of need for her because….are these areas of need going to be addressed……these reports are essential because…..I am concerned that these professionals made the following recommendations and the district will not include them as SDIs… You get my point, right?

Then submit that with the reports one more time. I type out what I want to say, then I copy the signature page of the NOREP, tape my concerns to that, copy it one more time (so as to present it so that it looks like I typed it on to the signature page) and sign it and send it in. Do not just attach your parent letter of attachment…they often get “lost.”

I know it’s a lot to digest, hope it helps. Good luck and keep us posted!

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  1. Judi says

    Because of medical privacy rules (HIPPA) some schools might be more comfortable with including medical info in an IEP if there are releases in place. We did this as my child’s issues overlap medically and behaviorally and have medical info on the IEP.

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