Eligibility for Special Education
THREE QUESTIONS THAT ALL HAVE TO BE ANSWERED WITH A YES
Here is my answer to a concerned grandmother, on ALLEXPERTS.com. Anyone can contact me there and get a free answer as I and the other experts donate time to help concerned educators, parents, (and grandparents).Hi Anne, Thanks so much for reaching out to me with a great question about your five year old grandson. As I understand your question, he went to a special educaiton preschool under an IEP, but for Kindergarten this school year, he was dismissed from special education and there was a 504 plan in place. Now he has a new diagnosis of Dyspraxia, on top of existing diagnoses of PDD NOS and ADHD. He is doing poorly in kindergarten, and the school district is discussing having him repeat kindergarten. You want to know if I can suggest goals for another IEP so that he can 'get back into' special education.
"Getting back into" special education means that you would like to see him become eligible for special education. Therefore, instead of giving you goals for a possible IEP, I would like to share information about the eligibility process. If I have this wrong, and the IEP is being developed and you would like goals, please follow up with me with another question.
In order for a child to become eligible for special education, three (3) things need to occur. I discuss this in great detail in a chapter of my Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book,
but I am going to summarize here.
1--The child must meet one of the 14 defined disabilities under IDEA. Here they are:
Based on what you have told me, Autism, Other Health Impairment, or another may be appropriate.
2--The defined disability must have an adverse educational affect on your grandson. This means that he is having difficulty learning the skills or curriculum, and is not making expected progress. This seems to be the case since he may have to repeat kindergarten.
and 3--because of the disability and its affect on the child, the child must require special education. Special education is defined as specially designed instruction to meet a child's unique needs.
It is typical for there to be an evaluation process in order to re-establish eligibility. This can be as simple as review of information that exists, or it can be more complex and entail full and complete re-evaluation of your grandson. The above three questions should be the focus of the evaluations. The multidisciplinary team decides which evaluations are needed and who will do them.
Parents can have evaluations done privately instead, or in conjunction with the team. Of course, if you are doing some private evaluations, the examiner must use the processes and procedures that the school district would use. It's useful for the examiner sometimes to participate in the evaluation discussion with the school team. Also, if private evaluations are done, the examiner should consult in some way with the school so that he/she can speak to #2--the educational effects of the disability.
I have a service called an IEP Audit. I would be able to craft a draft of an IEP after I review your grandson's information if you like. But it seems to me, if I have understood the situation, the first order of business at this time should be focus on evaluation and eligibility. Then once he becomes eligible, the IEP will be written and implemented. It will be interesting if he becomes eligible to see if the school district treats this IEP as the initial IEP. That would be my guess. If so, then the parent will have to consent for special education services after the parent is sure that the document contains what the child needs. That is also a good time to bring in someone like me, and maybe private evaluators, to review the draft and help determine if it is crafted so your grandson will benefit and recieve the appropriate services.
While I don't know your grandson of course, here are some areas that may be covered by the IEP goals:
-Reciprocal social interactions, pragmatic language, social skills, group interaction
-Following routines and school procedures
-Fine motor or writing skills
-Attention, concentration, following directions, completing tasks, being organized
I very much hope that this response has helped you as you advocate for your grandson! Thanks again for writing and don't hesitate to follow up with me.
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