When it comes time to discuss whether your child is eligible for services, keep in mind the two main requirements he needs to meet:
A. He has to have a “disabling condition” that fits into one of the 13 categories of disabilities defined by IDEA and your state’s regulations.
B. The disability has to have an “adverse effect” on his education.
Some cases are clear. The child has a specific learning disability or attention issue. It’s affecting his ability to learn in the regular classroom, and the team agrees he’s eligible.For Educational Evaluations in US visit UT Evaluators.
Other cases aren’t that simple.
Even though IDEA clearly outlines the 13 categories, it doesn’t list all the issues that fall into each one. It also doesn’t provide definitions for some key terms, like “adverse effect.” Even the word “education” is open to interpretation.
Because of that, the discussion can be complicated. It can also be frustrating. Often, it comes down to a few questions:
A. What category do your child’s issues best fit in?
B. What is considered to be a part of a child’s education?
C. What does an “adverse effect” look like in real life?
1. Understanding Category:
Some kids have more than one learning and thinking difference. So there may be a conversation about which category is the best fit.
For example, a child could have ADHD and a learning disability. He could be eligible in one of two categories. The first is Other Health Impairment (OHI). The other is Specific Learning Disability. The question is which category to use. Each one has different criteria that must be met for your child to qualify. (Read more about how kids with ADHD may qualify for special education services.)
Keep in mind that it’s your child’s needs that determine his services, not the category or diagnosis. The category should match the issue that most impacts his learning.
2. Understanding What’s Part of Education and “Adverse Effect”:
The last two questions come up a lot for kids with learning and thinking differences. That’s because some kids do well in some classes and not others, or primarily have trouble with things like self-control or social skills.
Many people think learning is about doing well in school. They may think if a child is getting good grades, his issues aren’t affecting his education. But if getting good grades comes at the cost of taking hours to do short homework assignments or needing more parental support than expected, that’s “adverse effect” as well.
And the U.S. Department of Education has made it clear that education includes behavior, attention and social skills. Trouble with self-control, organization, attention or social skills gets in the way of learning, too.
Your school may not agree, but if you think your child’s issues in those areas are affecting his learning, know that IDEA supports that argument.To know more importance on Educational Evaluations in US check Stsoft
It can also help to be familiar with some other terms you may hear from the team. These include “patterns of strengths and weaknesses” (a model for evaluating a student for special education), “functional skills” (skills needed to function at school, such as holding and using a pencil), and “academic skills” (skills needed to perform at school, such as reading and writing).
Making the Decision: Eligible or Not Eligible
IDEA requires that the eligibility decision be made by the whole team at the meeting. Usually the team is able to make a decision about eligibility without having to dive too deeply into these issues.
All the members of the team are tasked with the same thing—to help your child be successful. That means they’re there to work together to make that happen.
Sometimes the team won’t find your child eligible for special education services. If that happens and you disagree, follow these steps. You may also want to talk about whether a 504 plan is right for your child. Learn about the difference between IEPs and 504 plans.
If the team finds your child is eligible for special education services, the next step is creating an IEP. Some schools have joint eligibility and IEP development meetings. But if time is running short or you haven’t planned on combining these steps, an IEP meeting will be scheduled.
Having some time between meetings isn’t always a bad thing. You can use that time as an IEP boot camp to get ready. And read other parents’ stories about their IEP experiences.