Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Evaluations and IEPs Blog Post #2

As discussed in my last blog post, eligibility categories are a complex issues. I am going to continue talking about eligibility categories in this post. In my last post I spent quite a bit of time discussing eligibility criteria for the developmentally delayed category, autism, and health impaired (ADHD). I recommend that you read my last blog post if you haven’t had an opportunity. I want to make one point that I don’t think I mentioned in my last blog post. If you suspect that your child has autism or ADHD it is imperative that you get a diagnosis. A medical diagnosis in one of these categories make it much easier to receive services on an IEP. As I mentioned in my last post, to qualify in an area under one of these categories you just need to prove that there is an adverse educational impact. This is not the case if your child qualifies under the category of developmentally delayed or under the category of specific learning disability. In this post, I am going to discuss qualifying for services under the category of Specific Learning Disability. 

School districts decide whether or not they will use the Response to Intervention Model or the Discrepancy Model to qualify kids as learning disabled. From what I have found, the majority of school districts use the discrepancy model to qualify kids under this category. For that purpose, I am going to specifically focus on the discrepancy model in this post. Please see a copy of the discrepancy model chart below.

 To qualify in the category there must be a severe discrepancy from cognitive scores (IQ) to the standard scores on an academic test. The state of Washington has published a list of criterion scores to help school districts determine eligibility. For example, if a child has a cognitive score of 97 they must have standard scores at 80 or below to qualify in reading, writing, or math under the category of specific learning disability. If a child has a cognitive score of 77, they must have standard scores of 67 or below in reading, writing, or math to qualify under the category of specific learning disability. This makes it particularly difficult for kids who for example have an IQ of 71. An IQ of 71 is almost two standard deviations from the norm of 100. Kids qualify as intellectually disabled if they have an IQ below 70 with an adaptive deficit. It is extremely difficult to qualify kids who have borderline IQs under the category of specific learning disability. It’s not that it can’t be done, but these kids must have standard scores in the 60s to qualify for services. This is why it is so important to see a doctor if you suspect that your child has ADHD or autism. 


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