My child has struggled in school for years. He hasn’t failed because we provide private tutoring and work with him at home. We asked the school for special ed services. They say he is not eligible because he does not have failing grades. Is this correct?
Nope. The law says just the opposite . . .
. . . that a child does not have to fail to be eligible for special education services.
Failing or Passing Grades
According to IDEA regulation 300.101(c), the school must provide special education to a child with a disability “even though the child has not failed or been retained in a course or grade, and is advancing from grade to grade. (page 204 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd edition).
Eligibility: The Basics
A parent or school staff member may refer a child for an evaluation. IDEA Regulation 300.301(a)(1) – Initial evaluations (pages 92-93 and 240 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd edition).
To determine if a child is eligible for special education and related services, the school is required to do a comprehensive psycho educational evaluation. See IDEA, 1414(b) Evaluation Procedures (page 95-96 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd edition).
Did the school complete a comprehensive evaluation on the child? What were the findings?
Eligibility: Questions to Answer
In determining if a child is eligible for special education and related services, the team that includes the child’s parent needs to answer these questions:
Does the child have a disability? Yes ___No ____
Does the disability affect the child’s educational performance? Yes ___No ____
Does the child need special education and related services. Yes ___No ____
Find Answers to Your Questions
As the parent, YOU represent your child’s interests. YOU need to know what the law says. Do not rely on what others tell you.
If you need answers to questions about referring a child for an evaluation, what an evaluation must include, and parental consent for an evaluation, read pages 92-98 and pages 238-245 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd edition. If you have questions about IEPs, read pages 99-107 and pages 245-251 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd edition.