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1. Letter To Wrightslaw: Eligibility of Child with ADD/ADHA
QUESTION: "If a child is severely depressed, has ADHD and behavior problems, but is still doing well academically, does that child fall under the category of ‘other health impaired’?"
ANSWER: For many readers, the answer to this question is a clear "Yes!" – or a clear "No!" The law is unclear. This is why we tell parents and educators, "YOU need to read the law for yourself – you may need to read it several times – until YOU understand what the law says and doesn't say. Do not rely on someone else’s interpretation of the law – you will often be misled.
If you have a copy of WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW, you can read the statute and regulations, and Pete’s commentary about eligibility in several places throughout the book. For example:
"Definition: IDEA Child" (Page 12)
"Disability Does Not Mean Eligibility for Special Education"quoted below:
"Having a disability does not automatically qualify a child for services under IDEA. A child may have a disability but not be eligible for special education and related services. "The key phrase is "who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services." Read the definition of "special education" (below)."
"If the child has a disability but does not need special education services, the child will not qualify for special education and related services under IDEA. If the child has a disability but does not need special education and related services under IDEA, the child may be entitled to protections under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 504 is a civil rights statute that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination for reasons related to their disabilities." (page 25)
"Catch-all Section for Children with Delays" and "Eligibility Disputes" (Page 26)
"The Legal Definition of Specific Learning Disability" and "Public Law 94-142: No Reference to a Discrepancy Formula" (Page 29)
"Warning: The Mark Penalty" (Page 30)
"Perceptual Disabilities Are Included Under LD" and "Learning Disabilities: Often Defined by Exclusion" (Page 30)
Here is the recommended game plan. First, read the statute about "Evaluations, Eligibility, IEPs, and Placements" (Pages 59-66) This includes more of Pete’s commentary.
Next, read the IDEA Regulations, including "Procedures for Evaluation and Determination of Eligibility" and "Additional Procedures for Evaluating Children with Specific Learning Disabilities." (Pages 189-191)
You should definitely read Appendix A of the Regulations. Appendix A includes a comprehensive discussion about the parental role in decisions about their child’s individualized education program (Pages 209-224).
You will also find the IDEA Regulations, including Appendix A, on the Wrightslaw site
You will find an overview of the IDEA statute
To read the full text of the newest
2. For Legal Research, Use Wrightslaw
If you are researching a legal issue, you can search Wrightslaw for articles, references and cases. In this newsletter, a reader asked if a child with ADD/ADHD was eligible for special education services. If you were researching this issue, you could begin your search with the terms "Eligibility" and "Attention Deficit Disorder."
A search using the term "eligibility" brought up 28 items. A search using the term "Attention Deficit Disorder" brought up 41 items. A search using both terms netted 5 articles, including --
"Final IDEA Regulations" is very long. I went to the toolbar at the top of the page (in Netscape Navigator), clicked "Edit," then "Find in Page." When I typed in "ADD," the program found a statement about eligibility of the ADD child under the "other health impairment" category.
You can begin your "search" from these pages of the Wrightslaw site:
3. Did Your State Pass the IDEA Compliance Test?
Your state Department of Education has many responsibilities under IDEA. The state Department of Education is responsible for supervising local school districts. Your state education department should have a comprehensive system of personnel development that is designed to ensure that there is an adequate supply of properly trained teachers.
The state should have policies and procedures that ensure that all children with disabilities receive a free appropriate education.
Your state is responsible for implementing a comprehensive Child Find Program where all children with disabilities (including children who attend private schools) are identified, located and evaluated.
Did your state pass the IDEA Compliance Test?
"Most states failed," according to a study published by the National Council on Disability.
"Based on the U.S. Department of Education's monitoring of state compliance with IDEA from 1994 to 1998, 90 percent of states and territories fail to adequately supervise local education agencies’ education of students with disabilities. "
"Eighty-eight percent do not comply with requirements to provide services to assist a student's transition from school to post-education activities."
NEW RESOURCE: For breaking news in the field of special education, check out Special Ed News at
(Thanks to Dr. Margaret Kay for this
news item from the October 1999 issue of the LD OnLine newsletter)
4. Wrightslaw: Special Education Law: Creative Uses, Updates, and Reviews!
You know we encourage people to think "out of the box."
Here is how one creative person is using information from the Wrightslaw web site and WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW – together!
"I find the Wrightslaw site (wrightslaw.com) helpful and their book endlessly useful."
"The combination of the index in their book and the copy of the IDEA regs that I downloaded from the web site works very well."
"I copied the regs onto a floppy, so I can upset people at meetings by searching the regs with my laptop. Since I stored the regs as 7 files, the book speeds my search by putting me in the right file."
We are investigating the possibility of putting WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW on a CD-ROM. This would several tasks easier – including searching for specific issues.
A review of WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW appeared in the October 1999 issue of Woodbury Reports:
"As the author says, "Ignorance of the law can be as damaging as the child’s disability."
"This book goes a long way toward providing relief from confusion and misinformation and should be on the desk of every professional who works with "at risk" children, and every parent who has a child with problems."
"Any child with behavior problems might have a disability as defined by law. Parents and professionals need to understand the legal definition of "disability" to determine whether that child is entitled to special rights, and if so, how to access resources that can help the child in the way the legislation was intended."
"This is a relatively new, and complicated area of the law that few attorneys adequately understand. Any parent or professional working with such a child must be able to advocate for that child based on a solid understanding of the legal facts. Personal knowledge of "the facts" enables the parent to better serve the child than they could be merely depending on information given by school administrators or others who are possibly influenced by priorities such as budgetary considerations, or myths and misinformation."
For WOODBURY REPORTS go to:
For PLACES FOR STRUGGLING TEENS, go to:
Read what others are saying about WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW
Find out more information about this new book
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law
5. Editor's Choice: More Good Books
* * MAYBE YOU KNOW MY KID BY MARY FOWLER
Maybe You Know My Kid : A Parent's Guide to Identifying, Understanding, and Helping Your Child With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a candid and dramatic guide for parents whose children have Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder . . . she describes the latest scientific advances and clinical breakthroughs and discusses the recent changes in the education of children suffering from AD/HD. Examines the school's role in assessing children, practical guidelines and suggestions for improving educational performance.
* * DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION: RECOGNIZING AND COPING WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER by Ned Hallowell and John Ratey.
Describes the subtypes of ADD/ADHD, from the hyperactive search for high stimulation to the floating daydreaming quality of inattentiveness . . discuss how ADD/ADHD is distinguishable from "unacceptable behavior" and what medication and treatment techniques work best.
* * THE MISUNDERSTOOD CHILD: A PARENT’S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING AND COPING WITH YOUR CHILD’S DISABILITIES
This best-selling book by child psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry Larry Silver, is on our "must-read" list for parents and professionals. Includes excellent information about psychological, emotional, and social development; up-to-date information about evaluations; and effective treatment strategies to use at home and at school.
For more information about these and other books, go to