I read a document on your website that said a student does not have to be functioning below grade level to qualify for special education services. I can’t find that document now. Where can I find this information?
You are thinking about “Letter to Felton,” an opinion letter from the U.S. Department of Education.
Grades are subjective and are based on a teacher observations. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not mention grades as a factor in determining whether a a child is eligible for special education services.
Letter to Lillie/Felton (link below) is a policy letter about special ed eligibility that was published by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
There are four parts to this document: a digest or summary of the inquiry; a digest or summary of the answer from OSEP; the full text of the inquiry; and the full text of OSEP’s answer or response.
This letter clarifies several important points:
- Children with high IQs may be eligible for special education and related services
- Eligibility teams should consider support provided by parents
- Evaluations to determine eligibility must include testing of the seven areas mentioned in the special ed regulations.
If you are dealing with these issues, we suggest that you print and read the entire document.
Parents of Twice exceptional(2e) children deal with these issues often. Twice exceptional children have above average abilities and special educational needs due to ADD/HD, learning disabilities, Asperger Syndrome, etc. Because giftedness can mask their special needs — and their special needs can hide their giftedness — school personnel often label these kids as “lazy” and “unmotivated.” Educational planning for 2e children needs to address the gifted and special needs sides of these children.
Here is a link to the Letter to Felton.”
To learn more about educating twice exceptional children, please visit the page for Twice Exceptional Children at Wrightslaw. The 2e page includes articles, resources, good books, free publications, and information and support.