Qualifying for Special Education

5 Jun

In order to receive special education services your child must meet two requirements.  First, they must have a qualifying disability and second, they must not be making progress that would be expected for their age and grade-level.  What this means is that even if your child has a qualifying disability, they may not qualify for services because they are making progress without them.  According to the federal act IDEA, there are 10 types of disabilities that can qualify a child for special education services.  These disabilities categories* are:

  1. Autism:  PDD, Asperger syndrome
  2. Developmental delay:  Cerebral Palsy, Downs syndrome
  3. Intellectual impairment:  Cognitive impairment, mental retardation, chromosome disorders
  4. Sensory impairment:  Hearing or vision impairment or deafness or blindness
  5. Neurological impairment:  Brain injury, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy
  6. Emotional impairment:  Anxiety or mood disorders,  ODD, conduct disorder,  schizophrenia
  7.  Communication impairment:  Speech and language disorders
  8.  Physical impairment:  Muscular Dystrophy, spina bifida
  9.  Health impairment:  ADHD, asthma,
  10.  Specific learning disability (LD):  Dyslexia(LD in reading), dysgraphia(LD in writing), dyscalculia (LD in math)
*I have listed some examples of some diagnosis that might fall in these categories, but this is not a complete list and some disabilities may belong in more than one category.
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2 Responses to “Qualifying for Special Education”

  1. zapatas September 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    So a student with partial vision but no learning disorder (they take AP classes and have an A average) would not qualify for services?

    • spedsupport4parents September 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      The student may have a qualifying disability (sensory impairment), but if that disability is not impacting their ability to make academic progress they probably won’t qualify. I say probably because the disability may be impacting the student’s ability to participate in some school activities, perhaps P.E. or fine arts, and they could qualify in that way.

      This student would almost certainly qualify for a section 504 plan. A 504 plan is a legal document that states that the student has a qualifying disability and needs certain accommodations provided to them (such as large print or audio texts). The 504 is key for disabled students that are progressing academically because it insures that no teacher will deny them access to what they need because of their disability.

      You can ask the school to assemble a team to talk about whether this student needs and IEP or 504 plan. I hope that was helpful.

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