I’ve been called in to copious IEP meetings after a parent has presented a medical diagnosis for their child at their IEP meeting. They are disheartened after the team, or truly, the other side of the table, fails to qualify their son/daughter for any services. There are often two issues at play. The first is that the presence of a disability doesn’t automatically qualify a child for individualized services and two the school somehow feels compelled to ignore the diagnosis of the medical doctor or say the child in question doesn't qualify for services.
This morning in the local newspaper, there was a child find education brief from a location school district. Sadly, it contained a significant amount of incorrect information. It stated:
"XXX screens special-needs students
School City — XX Public Schools looks to identify children who may be in need of special education services. The child must be found to have a documented disability, must not be making effective progress in the general curriculum and need specialized instruction or related services.
Students who live in XXX who are enrolled in private schools or have left school without a diploma also may be eligible.
Screening appointments for children ages 3 to 5 may be made by calling ... For concerns about students ages 5 to 22, contact the special education office at ..."
Here is the actual child find information:
"Schools are required to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities from birth through age 21. The Child Find mandate applies to all children who reside within a State, including children who attend private schools and public schools, highly mobile children, migrant children, homeless children, and children who are wards of the state. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3))
This includes all children who are suspected of having a disability, including children who receive passing grades and are "advancing from grade to grade." (34 CFR 300.111(c)) The law does not require children to be "labeled" or classified by their disability. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3)(B); 34 CFR 300.111(d))."
Please note that if you see your child struggling but they are receiving passing grades, advancing to the next grade, or are over the age of five, you can, in writing, refer them to the principal for evaluation to determine if they needs specialized education to meet their unique needs.
Here is a form that you can use to send to the principal, guidance counselor, or the special education director at your child's school.
Initial Evaluation Request
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