The purpose, of this second article in the series “Advocating for a disabled child,” is to inform parents, advocates, and school district members about educating America’s disabled youth. The focus is on the identification of disabled children who may be eligible for special education services under the Reauthorization of IDEA.
Please note the acronyms used throughout the series; if you are unsure of their meanings, please read the previous articles, or view “Advocating for a disabled child: Special education acronyms part five,” which will be available, right here, later this week.
First, it is imperative to define who is eligible for special education services. A child with a disability, which does not affect his academic standing, does not meet the criteria for services under IDEA 2004. A child’s disability must negatively affect the child’s ability to access the curriculum in a general education setting without assistance, or accommodations. IDEA limits the qualifying disabilities to:
- autism (AUT)
- mental retardation (MR)
- emotional disturbance (ED)
- deaf and/or hard-of-hearing (DHH)
- orthopedic impairment (OI)
- speech or language impairment (SLI)
- visual impairment – including blindness (VI)
- traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- deaf-blindness (DB)
- specific learning disability (SLD)
- other health impairment (OHI) – may include attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- multiple disabilities (MD).
The school district is responsible for finding, identifying, and evaluating children who are suspected to have a disability that limits their ability to progress in a general education curriculum without assistance. The child, suspected to have a disability, will be evaluated by the district, with parental consent, at public expense to determine eligibility for services.
Eligibility cannot be determined solely on the results of a single evaluation. The district must gather information from many sources including information from the parents, teachers, the child’s work samples, test scores and observations. If these methods reveal that the child is not accessing the curriculum, he may qualify for special education services if the IEP team determines that the cause is not due to any of the following:
- limited proficiency in the English language
- lack of appropriate instruction in either reading or math
- a cultural, economic or environmental disadvantage.
Log in to glowbass.com for part three, which will discuss how to request an initial evaluation from the district for a disabled child, or click the subscription button to receive future articles by San Pedro Special Education Examiner Carrie Russo, in your e-mail.