Assessment and services
Parents can request special education assessment– but that doesn’t mean a child will qualify for services. To qualify, a child must both meet a federal handicapping condition and demonstrate that the disability is impacting their academics. You have to have both a disability and an academic need to qualify.
There are 13 handicapping conditions but most kids qualify under only a few of them.
- Specific Learning Disability:
- To qualify for this disability, a student has to have a disorder in one or more areas of basic processing.
- This is the most common disability and the hardest to qualify under. Think peaks and valleys– students need some areas of processing where they do relatively well and at least one area where they do relatively poorly. Like, they do well on tests of long term memory and auditory processing but really poorly on short term memory tests. That would be a learning disability.
- Other Health Impairment is how kids with a medical diagnosis of ADHD get special education services.
- They need a medical diagnosis (doctor, not school) and proof that the ADHD is impacting their academics.
- Autism can be diagnosed by schools mostly using rating checklists, observations, and interviews. The checklists are completed by the parents and by the schools.
- To learn more about the handicapping conditions, read this article.
If students do qualify, they might qualify for only academic support or they might qualify for other supports as well. There is an enormous array of related services available for kids. Here are just a few:
- Assistive technology: If students need technology like text prediction programs or communication devices, they can qualify for assistive technology. Normally, this person won’t meet with them but will provide materials to the teacher for the student to use.
- Speech and language pathology: SLPs work on expressive and receptive language, social language, and articulation.
- Occupational therapy: School based OTs normally focus on handwriting, organization, and sensory regulation.
- Counseling: Students with IEPs can also get counseling services provided to them on a regular basis.
- To learn about other related services that exist, read this article.