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IEP FAQs: Can More than one Disability Be Listed in an IEP?

by Wrightslaw

I was told that only one disability can be documented in the IEP. My son has an IEP for ADHD. He also has a sleep disorder. After our high school started block scheduling this year, my son missed so many of his first two classes that he fell far behind. He had to go to part time status.

The school refused to provide any support for him saying it wasn’t in his IEP.

I wanted to add it to the IEP. I provided the school with all the doctors information and notes documenting the condition. I was told that only one disability can be documented in the IEP.

Answer – of course. More than one disability can be documented in your child’s IEP. (Feel free to vote in the poll at the end of this article.)

Can a child be blind and in a wheelchair?

Can a child have a specific learning disability, a severe visual impairment, an orthopedic impairment – and ADHD?

The IEP is an individualized program based on your child’s unique needs. The special ed statute (IDEA) and regulations do not say that a child’s IEP can be limited to only one disability or need.

In the law it is clear that a child does not even have to have a label to be eligible for services.

Before getting into a battle with the school, you need to get a much better understanding of the law and your rights. As the parent of a child with a disability, you represent your child’s interests. You need to know what the law actually says and how to find answers to your questions in the IDEA statute and regulations.

School personnel’s knowledge of the law is often based what they were told in a training program or by “word of mouth.” Like parents, few educators question what they are told. Very few school staff have read the law.

If you don’t have a copy of IDEA 2004 and the regulations, get one now!

You can download most of these documents from the Wrightslaw site. Click here for an overview of the IDEA statute.

You’ll also find answers to your questions in the Commentary to the Special Education Regulations. In the Commentary, the Department explains why a regulation was changed, not changed, and often clarifies the “plain meaning” of a term.


Thanks for taking the time to vote in the IEP Poll below.

Is more than one disability documented in your child's IEP?

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65 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mandi 03/13/15 at 12:36 pm

    My son has an IEP and is labeled with ADHD and SLD. He has also been recently labeled with DMDD. I am beside myself with him. He is suppose to graduate this year and is so scared he is self sabotaging himself so he does not. I need help and I don’t know where to turn.

  • 2 Christine 10/16/14 at 4:20 pm

    My 8 year old 2nd grader was given an IEP last March under OHI for ADHD and Anxiety. She was in danger of retention but had not gone through tier 3 rTi to classify as learning disabled. Now their is sufficient data to qualify. Today a secondary classification of SLD was added. I am okay with this because her IEP has achievable goals and appropriate accommodations. I could fight for it to be primary but the school is doing an excellent job with her IEP.

  • 3 Linda 05/08/14 at 11:57 pm

    I am fighting the school system from all levels. My son has ADHD and I kept him out of Special Ed for years. He went to middle school and they are fighting me to put him in special ed. Problem is they want ED label how can I fight that? I said no to reevaluation because of ED, four doctor notes that say he isn’t. School says he is and no testing has been done. This school is very nasty to deal with. Instead of helping they are hurting. How can they diagnose ED when you have doctors saying no? He has good grades but they fight me since he had the label of ADHD. Very frustrated even after getting a new lawyer. It seems lawyers while getting paid still don’t want to protect the child like they should. What to do?????

  • 4 julie 11/26/13 at 10:12 pm

    I am fighting the school to understand our daughter’s situation. She has Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis. VERY different disabilities, but the school only wants to acknowledge the Ds and keep saying they have no obligation to accommodate her needs as far as Cf goes because it is not educational. Her immune system is poor and they won’t address the strict infection control that she needs. I keep sending her to school and in two weeks we are in the hospital. Her lung function goes away and never comes back.

    As used in 34 C.F.R. Part 300 Sec. 300.7 “ ‘ A child with a disability’ means a child evaluated in accordance with Sec. 300.530-300.536 as having…multiple disabilities…and who because of those impairments need special education and related services.

    Needs special education AND related services

  • 5 Kim 09/03/13 at 11:31 am

    My son has a current IEP. However, he has a medical condition. Does his IEP cover the medical condition and it’s accommodations? The second question I have is, he is being further tested for Highly Functioning Autism and I need to change his IEP and how soon can I do that so he doesn’t shut down in school?

  • 6 Tracie 05/03/13 at 5:54 pm

    My son does have ADHD and Disorder of Written expression on his IEP, however the School would not put his PDD-NOS diagnosis on the IEP. It is however stated that he has been diagnosed with this on his IEP, but not coded specifiacally on the IEP (only because I would not let up the fact that they did not have this on the IEP). They told me that it would not change any of the help he is already getting, as they have included all his needs on the IEP – which is true.

  • 7 babette 04/12/13 at 12:21 pm

    My 9 year old daughter had an iep in place till her reevaluation in a new school in a new county. She has an orthopedic imparement. A spinal cord, t4 injury which has disabled her waist down. Though I do not think she was at the level of independence, the new school dismissed her old iep and said that based on her grades she being above grade level she is not eligible for an iep and hence put her on a504 plan. Even though we were told it would not effect her pt in schoool or her goals, everything was removed. My question is based on the level of how smart my daughter is can she be removed from an iep even though her injury is still an orthopedic imparement and she does still need supervision because of her autonomia dysflexia?

  • 8 Terry 01/25/13 at 10:02 am

    My son is 15 and has an IEP. We recently had a meeting and after 3/4 of meeting I asked the attendees/teachers if they understand that my son has Cerebral Palsey. There jaws dropped or they answered…no. I even asked if they know what CP is and some were unsure. After years of having IEPs and discussing my sons physical disabilities it was not clear in his IEP that he has CP. Shouldn’t this be a part of the IEP? I have been meeting resistance and feeling misunderstood.

  • 9 angelica 10/12/12 at 11:42 am

    My child has a 504 plan in place, can i get that changed to I.E.P ? I was told that I.E.P are only for children with disablities. He has ADD, is that a disablitie and can they have I.E.P in place.

  • 10 Karen 10/09/12 at 10:04 pm

    The District gave us a very hard time about including more then one disability on our son’s IEP. We went through due process and settled in conference with the judge. The District finally agreed to handwrite the second disability in the IEP. We have yet to see the final draft.

  • 11 Judi 10/09/12 at 2:34 pm

    My child has autism (Aspergers). She is also gifted. Her IEP encompasses her GIEP SDIs and goals as well as the ones she has because she’s autistic. She was identified by her school as gifted in 4th grade and as having Aspergers in 8th.

  • 12 Pam 10/09/12 at 11:39 am

    Actually, we do not list the ETR disability category on the IEP except in cases of medical diagnosis (autism, ADHD, diabetes). The goals need to be addressed regardless of disability category.

  • 13 Dan 10/09/12 at 9:37 am

    3. Listing disability labels in the IEP: There are primary and secondary disabilities. The primary disability would be considered the qualifying factor. The IEP may not list every disability, but should address the negative impact they may have on student learning/progress and list the accommodations/modifications needed to create FAPE.

  • 14 Dan 10/09/12 at 9:30 am

    There have been several comments and questions I would like to respond to:
    1. There have been several mentions of medical diagnosis regarding IEPs. If the medical issue does not impact their ability to learn or progress academically, then they may not qualify for an IEP (see Dr. Pamela’s response). A 504 plan may be the better option. (Schools generally avoid 504 plans because there is no funding attached to them to pay for services, but they are required to provide them by law.) Students on 504 plans may receive services from special education.

  • 15 Russ 02/08/12 at 8:31 pm

    My son was DX with Tourette’s in kindergarten. He also has ODD, IED, ADHD. The school refused to put anything besides emotionally disturbed on his IEP. I fought them for 5 yrs on this and finally he worked his way into a mainstream class. While in 4th grade he was diagnosed with Asperger’s, the SCHOOL phsycologist told me ‘it does not matter what his doctor says, he does not meet the criteria for asperger’s/autism.’ What does that mean? A psychologist that works at a school can over ride a psychiatrist that has been watching and testing him. He is now home school and gets no social therapy because our new district refuses to even test him for an IEP.

  • 16 Lou 07/20/11 at 10:04 pm

    I recently attended the Atlanta seminar. Mr. Wright made a comment about why school districts do not like to list SLD as a primary. Does an I.E.P. with OHI limit my child’s opportunities to attend college?

  • 17 Louarna 06/23/11 at 9:00 pm

    Can the school determine the Disability or change the disability based on re-evaluations

  • 18 Ali 02/08/11 at 3:53 pm

    What is the TERM for an individual with more than one disability??

  • 19 SHELLY 01/13/11 at 9:58 pm

    My childs school will not list his diabetes as a disability on or within his IEP. I have asked them to several times. I need help. Can you afford me any info, please. We are in Arizona.

  • 20 Sharon L. 11/19/10 at 11:05 am

    Stacy – Yes in a nutshell. School’s are not supposed to determine services by one method of testing only. My son got a 1.9 discrepancy score which technically meant he could not be in special ed. We got outside testing at the school’s expense and the tester recommended he stay in special ed based on all issues not just the discrepency score. We had to threaten due process and the school continued to provide services. If you have a professional who believes your child needs speech services the school has to consider what your professional has to say.

  • 21 stacy 11/16/10 at 6:50 am

    I am a HS Ex Ed teacher and the mother of 3 ADHD boys. My nine year old was testing in the spring of 2010, but didn’t qualify because no discrepancy was found. His dr. sent us for further testing and using new testing he will qualify for written expression. He also shows weaknessess in auditory processing. Can I request speech services as well? To qualify for actual speech services, school psychometrist says he must have a 70 in that area. Unfortunately, he does not.

  • 22 Glenna 09/16/10 at 2:36 pm

    On my daughter’s IEP is says Multiple for the disability that are documented on her IEP! Can they do that or it easier to that way since she has a lot of disabilities! I have learned a lot from coming to one of you conferences in Kentucky. I was so happy to go since now I am helping families with their child’s IEPs! Keep up the great work you guys do to help families out that we don’t know what is right and what is wrong when we come up against the schools!

  • 23 Maureen 07/13/10 at 9:39 am

    I’ve been repeatedly told, & repeatedly stated by district rep – only one category can be used. Never sat well with me since many of my child’s needs were repeatedly ignored. Often taking each new teacher 3/4 of the year to gain a clear view of (note NOT necessarily an “understanding of”) less visible needs.
    My child losing out, remaining without FAPE, parents educated in advocacy, fighting a losing battle. Impact on family life/harmony is severe. All too consuming time and energy spent, (plus added frustration) of trying to have needs recognized, appropriately assessed, and appropriately supported.
    Greatest difficulty is the “scripted” development of IEP from within the district and what they have available when. IEP does not accurately reflect my child, needs, needed supports.

  • 24 Thomas 04/28/10 at 2:18 pm

    When dealing with the Department of Education you need to know your child disabilities. they may not have an complete understand of what that disability is and not a willingness to learn.

    It may take you two years to get what you need in the IEP as it did me. I had help with the dept of civil rights. They can follow up on recommendations and let the school know you are well to fight if that what it takes.

  • 25 Jennifer 03/25/10 at 9:28 pm

    We have 7 diagnossis listed in our son’s IEP. Not that it does any good.

  • 26 Mary 03/08/10 at 11:06 am

    My daughter had listed on her IEP specific learning disablitiy and other health impairment throughout her elementary and middle school years . We have moved and her IEP now reads only Emotionally Disabled, and I stated that she has a specific learning disability which then was told she is under an umbrella and doesn’t need to have specific learning disability listed on her IEP. She failed the first nine weeks….how do you get a school system to listen to you? They had her previous IEP from the beginning and it didn’t matter to them. How can parents explain to school systems that they don’t want their children under the umbrella clause? My daughter has suffered greatly. I need to know what to do to help my daughter.

  • 27 Jill 02/13/10 at 6:12 pm

    I am an advocate with our State’s Protection and Advocacy Agency. At the very least place all your child’s disabilities, diagnosis, and deficits inside his present level in his IEP. Your child’s school must address and make goals pertaining to any areas that interfere with his learning. Make sure you have plenty of data supporting his diagnosis through outside evaluations. Also gather any work examples, report card remarks from teachers and any other data supporting his disability. If need be request a comprehensive evaluation from the school, and if you do not agree with their evaluation, request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at the school’s expense, but bottom line have evidence supporting all disabilities and place them into his present level of academic and funtional performance.

  • 28 TAMIKA 02/12/10 at 12:06 am

    I have a 6 year old and the guidance counselor told me that my son did not need an IEP on him because he takes meds for his ADHD everyday. To me that is not making any sense and i need some answers who would i go and speak to?

  • 29 Tinh 01/30/10 at 2:05 pm

    Yes, a child can have more than one disability listed in his/her IEP. My nephew is listed as a learning disability and speech impairment, ADHD and autism.

    Too many. Too confusing. Far beyond my understanding.

    His doctors said he was a child with ADHD and autism.

    School psy. and speech lang. pathologist disagreed. They said the child was listed as a learning disability and speech impairement (pracmatics). However, they said they would discuss the ideas of the child demonstrating Primary Disability, Second Disability, and Teriary Disability as his eligibility in the next IEP meeting.

    Hello, any suggestions?

  • 30 maryJ 01/28/10 at 7:55 pm

    Tricia: When one of my older disabled children was out of school sick, we learned the hard way after being dragged to court how necessary documentation/doctors notes are. This time we got a form off the Dept of Education site, I think it’s a Dr/3r or something about 14 consecutive days or non consecutive days of absences. Our Doctors first filled it for a month, now for the rest of the year, attached to my son’s school records listing his days absent so where covered. According to DOE the school is required to provide tutoring… we’ll see.. MaryJ

  • 31 maryJ 01/28/10 at 7:30 pm

    At first our school had my son listed under a general disability, like an emotional disability due to his anxiety, I fought with them about his processing problems. We had him tested years ago and were told he has a( CAPD Central Auditory Processing development ). I think it was under additional info on the IEP. One Problem is they keep dropping things from his IEP, but in the 3 year eval and other tests the school said these problems were still present. We got a new administrator who looked at the facts and had no problem including this information. Despite this, the school overwhelmed my child, put him in higher level classes but without the right accommodations. They were setting him up to fail. He stopped going to school, was always sleeping and needed meds. Finally back to school now and trying to not get overwhelmed! yikes!

  • 32 Tricia 01/26/10 at 5:23 pm

    I have 14 year old twin sons who both have dyslexia and dysgraphia in addition to physical disabilities, which have kept them out of school since. Dec. 11th 2009. I took me over a month to get the tutoring started. But I will tell you the most irriating part of all this process has been having to give them everything the require – dr. notes with specific dates, excuse notes for each day of absence from their m.d yet they have not even followed what services my children are suppose to be receiving from their IEP. Being so busy I have not had an opportunity to look at the law and the consequesnces to the school for not following the modifications etc…

  • 33 Dr. Pamela 01/26/10 at 4:29 pm

    Hello everyone,

    ADHD and Sleep Disorders are not recognized disabilities under the IDEA. There are only 14 disabilities listed in the IDEA. They are:
    Intellectual Disability,
    Speech or Language Impairments,
    Hearing Impairment,
    Visual Impairments (including blindness),
    Emotional Disturbance,
    Orthopedic Impairments,
    Traumatic Brain Injury,
    Other Health Impairments,
    Specific Learning Disabilities;
    Multiple Disabilities, and
    Developmental Delay

    Don’t be alarmed. ADHD and sleep disorders might be appropriate under “Other Health Impairment” if they have an impact on the student’s educational performance and, the student requires specialized instruction. Therefore, the primary disability is Other Health Impairment. The PLOP would discuss ADHD and the sleep disorder.

  • 34 mel 01/26/10 at 12:29 pm

    Could it be possible that you are confusing listing disabilities in an IEP, with the category that the child is found eligible under? For example, one may classify your child under the category of OHI (due to AD/HD) but of course, should also put somewhere in the IEP that your child has diabetes, and how that is being addressed or may impact upon their AD/HD and educational progress. NJ code does not require us to make a child eligible as Multiply Disabled (with more than one disability) unless that child requires two different programs to address both disabilities. For eg, a child with AD/HD and SLD will often be classified under only OHI or SLD. However, that does not mean the impact of the other disability would not also be stated within the IEP, even if that was not used to qualify the child for services.

  • 35 mary pat 01/26/10 at 12:06 pm

    I was told at my daughter’s last IEP meeting because she wasn’t medicated for ADD, that the OHI label would be removed. This district is the one that labeled her way back in 1st grade with the OHI label because of the ADD. She also had a SLD label from another district, and this current district removed that also. The supervisor only likes the child to have one label, which is ridiculous.

  • 36 Barbara 01/26/10 at 11:39 am

    Your next questions should be: SHOULD your child have more than one disability in their IEP?

  • 37 deborah 01/26/10 at 10:32 am

    I need help getting the school to adhere to the school till 21 rule. She will graduate this year and cannot read or do math. She cant identify letters or numbers. Any suggestions?

  • 38 Pauline 01/26/10 at 10:08 am

    The regulations state your childs unique needs have to be met.
    Every diagnosis your child has is part of his/hers unique needs which should be written into their IEP. One can not just address
    part of the problem, the whole child has to be looked in order to see growth.

  • 39 roy 01/26/10 at 9:39 am

    It’s a very frustrating situtation, when you have too fight the “system” to get your child tested, and yes, they don’t read anything. When you have a counselor tell you “this is my field, then watch them ignore all the laws, it makes it that much more difficult to get your child the help he/she needs.
    Unfortuneatly, the child is most often the loser in this.

  • 40 Fred 11/12/09 at 9:58 am

    My son was recently evaluated for an IEP for ADHD, and it was determined that no IEP would be assigned. In order to understand the track record my school has in creating IEPs for its students, is it within my rights to request access to public records about the number of requested and granted IEPs from my school and the criteria which allowed the IEP’s to be granted to some students?

  • 41 carol 09/28/09 at 2:29 am

    Does anyone have a sample IEP for a child with Type 1 diabetes? We are having issues at school with no one trained to watch her. The law requires a trained person but does not say what trained is. So we are sunk right now. Our lawyer said to get a IEP as it has more teeth than 504. However the sp. ed. department is resistant. I need to know how to secure an IEP. Ideas?

  • 42 Kara 09/14/09 at 11:07 am


    At least in Ohio, every preschool student who receives specialized services MUST undergo a transition evaluation before entering kindergarten. This is essentially a reevaluation to determine whether they qualify under a school-age category. A new IEP would be written after that evaluation is complete.

  • 43 AMY 08/29/09 at 4:32 pm

    My 5 year old son is in a special day class for SLI and he has type 1 diabetes and his doctor put a request in writing to provide him with an individual aide. I asked for an IEP to discuss the possibilities of having his won aide and the principal let me know that they don’t have to do as the doctor has asked because that is not what IEPs are for. Yet, he also explained that a 504 wouldn’t help him at all either. What should I do.

  • 44 carol 08/23/09 at 1:00 pm

    The diagnosis that qualified my son under IDEA was ADD through the OHI door. However, he also has dysgraphia & dyscalculia, so I wanted academic goals in the IEP to address writing, spelling and math. School told me the IEP could only address the qualifying disability, that is until he failed the writing and math TAKs tests – now the school is interested in academic goals. Glad we’re getting there, but a shameful waste of time and hardship for my son.

  • 45 Regina 07/28/09 at 7:31 pm

    If a preschool student had an school aide for support in the classroom, but now the student is going into kindergarden. Will that IEP still serve and the school district must supply an aide for the new school year until a new IEP is written?

  • 46 Wrightslaw 05/13/09 at 8:46 pm

    Kurt: I’m confused about your statement that “a student has 4 IEPs and the teacher has to spent 4 times as much time for 1 IEP then it doubles for each additional IEP …”
    One child has one IEP (not 4). Each child’s IEP includes measurable annual goals to meet that child’s needs. In developing these goals, the IEP team looks at the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. The IEP is a plan that describes in writing the special education services, related services and supplementary aids and services the school agreed to provide that child.

    The purpose of the special education law is to meet the child’s unique needs and prepare the child for further education, employment and independent living. This sounds a lot like like the purpose of public education.

  • 47 Kurt 05/13/09 at 5:48 pm

    If a student has an IEP in a classroom, what is the classroom teacher’s responsibility to that child and also to the rest of the class? For example, if a student has 4 IEP’s and the teacher has to spend 4 times as much time for 1 IEP and then it doubles for each additional IEP, when is that teacher supposed to actually teach the rest of the students in the classroom? It seems to me the rest of the class is not going to get any learning if the classroom teacher has to spend so much time with the one student.

  • 48 Rhonda 04/26/09 at 3:08 pm


    CFR 300.306 (c) Procedures for determining eligibility and educational need:

    (2) If a determination is made that a child has a disability and needs special education and related services, an IEP must be developed for the child in accordance with Sec. Sec. 300.320 through 300.324.

  • 49 Kristi 03/17/09 at 11:07 am

    HELP, My daughter has ADHD, sensery intergration disorder, ODD, PDD, and major depressive disorder and school says she dos’nt need a IEP. yeah right! please help. Has anyone else been in this situation? Do you have ideas? Is there a law saying she needs to have an that I can refer to, saying you need to help and give my child a IEP because she is falling thrugh the cracks? HELP!!!!!!

  • 50 Tom 03/11/09 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you. I learn a great deal from you.
    Keep posting, please.

  • 51 Jo 03/07/09 at 8:01 pm

    My son’t IEP says autistic. I know he has multiple disorders from his medical diagnosis, but the child study team didn’t identify the rest. Can I have them added based on his medical diagnosis. I think that’s why he’s not getting everything he needs. When I questioned the team, they said I wanted things for him that were not education-related. Like, social skills training, occupational therapy, riding therapy for sensory integration. Should I go back and insist? Thank you, I love this site. I may never stop reading!

  • 52 Cindy 02/23/09 at 10:58 am

    My child has several disabilities stemming from a neurological condition. Among these are ADHD, sensory integration disorders, speech and constructional dyspraxia, dysgraphia. Even has not been evaluated in all areas of suspected disability because no such professional exists in our area to evaluate (audiological processing). The school system labeled MMR and pulled speech services due to this (they claim child reached highest expected level of performance). This is common in our area.

  • 53 Wrightslaw 02/20/09 at 12:42 pm

    Lauren: Take a look at 20 U.S.C. 1412 about Child Find on p. 72 and footnote, and 300.111 on pp. 206-207, Special Education Law

  • 54 Lauren 02/20/09 at 11:35 am

    As a special education teacher, I know that a child certainly can have more than one disability. Sometimes I wonder if we are applying too many labels, but I understand that labels are mostly there to help direct services. I am wondering about the one statement in bold that says, “In the law it is clear that the child does not even have to have a label to be eligible for services.” This is confusing to me…are you referring to a 504 plan? I would love to be able to qualify a child for services even without a disability. Where can I find this language in the law?

  • 55 dee1 02/05/09 at 7:23 pm

    my son is diagnosed with ahd and odd

  • 56 Yvette 02/05/09 at 8:18 am

    In my experience as a psychologist, the IEP is written for the child’s needs as identified, the evaluation is the where the classification is determined. On the evaluation is where we list all the areas where a child may need service. As others have pointed out, there are many instances where children have multiple needs. Otherwise we wouldn’t have related services if speech, occupational therapists, etc, because we would only address the main concern. Where I live, there aren’t any ‘labels’ on the IEP at all, you have to look at the evaluation data to see which of the 13 eligibility catergories was considered. Therefore in this case, the child’s medical needs could be mentioned in the IEP with no problems, as it is something that adversely impacts his education.

  • 57 Jody 01/27/09 at 11:13 am

    As an Educational Advocate and parent of a child with multiple challenges I have experienced years of IEPs and misperceptions. An IEP should address any disabilities that may interfere with your child’s ability to learn. While there may be one primary disability listed, by no means does this mean it can be the only one. Good Luck.

  • 58 RF Deveau 01/26/09 at 3:22 pm

    I speak as both a special needs consultant and the parent of an adult child (now gainfully emloyed as a hydraulics technician on a nuclear submarine) who benefitted from a properly written and implemented IEP. If a child exhibits more than one disability that will inhibit him/her from “making effective progress” without the appropriate modifications and/or accommodations, each disability with the corrective action must be written into the IEP and implemented as prescribed.

  • 59 jennilynn 01/25/09 at 9:56 am

    My daughter has PDD, Dysgrapia, Verbal Apraxia, and Motor Dyspraxia and ADHD. Her IEP lable is EMH. With having that lable being in the duval county school district, I was told that she did not quailify for small group setting and autism program they have untill her lable changes. They said they have to do a reevaluation on her IEP before they can change it. Why can’t they just add PDD to her lable and send her over to the school with the program? I gave them all the documents that have her diagnosis on them.

  • 60 Wrightslaw 01/24/09 at 2:46 pm

    Amy: It is not unusual for a child to have more than one disability. Many children with SLDs are labeled ED. This is common if they don’t learn to read and write, are not successful in school, and become frustrated and depressed.

    A child who is blind, deaf, has cognitive impairments and/or autism, may have emotional problems that stem from the original disability. A child with ADHD may be “labeled” as having a specific learning disability, other health impairment, and/or emotional disorder.

    This is why schools are required to complete a comprehensive evaluation. It’s essential to identify all conditions that may have a negative impact on the child’s ability to learn.

  • 61 Wrightslaw 01/24/09 at 2:36 pm

    IDEA does not require a child to be labeled with a disability before receiving special education services.

    “… Nothing in this title requires that children be classified by their disability so long as each child who has a disability listed in Section 1401 of this title and who, by reason of that disability, needs special education and related services is regarded as a child with a disability under this part.” See 20 USC 1412(a)(3)(B)

    If the child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance (i.e., the child is eligible for special education services under Section 1401(3) of IDEA) the school is not required to determine the child’s “label” or classification before providing services. Schools often spend months doing evaluations before providing any special education services while the child falls further behind.

  • 62 Amy 01/22/09 at 1:03 pm

    Can a child be emotionally disturbed and mentally retarded? Are there cases to support this? What about emotional disturbance and learning disabled? I know that the IEP should reflect the needs of each individual child, but how common could this be?

  • 63 Lasha 01/21/09 at 12:07 pm

    My Zac has been diagnosed with: MMR, ADHD, Severe mixed language disorder, PDD/NOS, ODD ,OCD and Tourettes. But he is considered MMR, Period. So none of the other conditions are addressed. I simply do not know how to get it through to the school to help him in these other areas! By the way, he receives two SPED classes a day , period, regular ed the rest of the day. One fifteen minute session once a week with the school counselor.

  • 64 Kellie 01/20/09 at 9:55 pm

    I am a moderate/severe special education teacher. If a child has more than one disability (i.e. the student has learning disorder and the student is hard of hearing) the pysch assessing the student may document both disabilities. Since hard of hearing students are considered low-incidence, this would benefit both student and school because they would receive special funding (at least in the state of California). The psych is not REQUIRED to list more than one disability since the primary disability qualifies the student for special education services. However, the IEP is not legally limited to one disability. The decision to list more than one disability is left to the discretion of the psych doing the assessment. However, it is against the law to tell someone that only one disability may be listed on an IEP.

  • 65 Debbie 01/17/09 at 8:02 pm

    My son has autism and Type 1 diabetes. Both are documented in his IEP. Indeed, both MUST be documented. If we left out the diabetes, it could lead to life threatening consequences. If we left out his autism, he would not receive the accommodations he needs to be academically successful.

    You might approach this by being sure the school had the appropriate documentation, and it sounds like you did. Then you might use the “Columbo” approach, asking questions about how the specific consequences of the sleep disorder will be addressed.