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4 Year Old With Behavior Problems: Eligible for Special Education Services?

06/22/09
by Wrightslaw

I am a counselor with the local mental health agency. I’m working with a 4 year old boy who has been “kicked out of” two preschool programs for behavior problems. He is diagnosed with ADHD. He has not been tested by the local school district. They refuse to offer him services because of his behavior.

Is this child eligible for any services from the local school district?

I suggested testing for special education. The school says they will try him again next year. Meanwhile, this at-risk child will not have the benefits of early intervention to prevent further delays in education. The mother is seeking an outside source for testing.

The law doesn’t allow a school to opt out of the child find requirements, nor the requirement to provide all qualified children with a free, appropriate public education because the child has behavior issues.

If the child has a disability and needs special education and related services, the school is required to provide them.

Schools are also required to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities from birth through age 21.

The child find mandate applies to all children who reside within a State, including children who attend private schools and public schools, highly mobile children, migrant children, homeless children, and children who are wards of the state. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3))

This includes all children who are suspected of having a disability, including children who receive passing grades and are “advancing from grade to grade.” (34 CFR 300.111(c)) The law does not require children to be “labeled” or classified by their disability. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3)(B); 34 CFR 300.111(d)).

Check the information on our Child Find page:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/child.find.index.htm

You may want to advise the school that since they refuse to evaluate, despite clear language in the law requiring them to do so, you have referred the child for a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation by an expert in the private sector.

After the evaluation is completed, assuming the child does have a disability and needs special education, you will forward the evaluation results and a bill for the evaluation to them.

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9 Comments on "4 Year Old With Behavior Problems: Eligible for Special Education Services?"


Meria
10/25/2010

My 4 yr old has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and opositional definance disorder. He is currently attending head start here in my city. When he goes to headstart he seems to have alot of behavioral issues and today they told me that if his behavior continues that he will be kicked out of school. Can they do that… this is a federally funded head start and they obviously dont want to work with him or help him with what he is diagnosed. instead they rather kick him out. please help what should I do??? My son deserves an education just as every other child.

Craig
09/21/2010

Great information. If there current is the valid diagnostic assessment showing a disability and needs special education the school is required to provide them. Different services should be available for pre-school children. Discourage children are often children who misbehave. There are typically 4 reason children misbehave: needing attention, feeling inadequate, wanting revenge, & in a power struggle.

Mollie
08/06/2009

My grandson is 4 and has behavior problems. We got custody of him at the age of two. His peds referred us to Ascent Children’s Services to have him tested. He has just about everything that you can imagine, but he is being taught there. He comes home everyday. They are fully staffed. He can continue to attend for another year. He can go to kindergarten there under certain circumstances. Check this out and see if there is one in your area. Medicaid pays for all of his bills for attending school.