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Victor:  Can a school psychologist diagnose your child when your pediatrician has said there’s no areas for concern?

My 4 year old son just started pre-k one week ago and he’s having trouble following directions and transitioning from activities. we had a meeting with his teacher, the principal, a councilor, and a person from the special Ed problem to discuss he’s behavior. They kept implying that he “shows signs” of a child that needs special Ed, but he was tested by the autism network when he was 2 1/2, by the school system when he was 3, and by his pediatrician last week (from the recommendation of the school counselor) and all the tests said he was fine, just a little behind. The school principal said they want to test him and that the schools diagnosis is different from a doctor’s. I’m just getting the feeling that they want to label him right away, it’s only been a week. Can the school label him as something even though doctor’s say there is nothing wrong?

  1. In a situation like this, I can understand your feeling that perhaps there is no huge hurry to get a diagnosis and an IEP. Can you ask them politely to channel their concerns into Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions, and RTI? Then after some suitable interval you could meet again and see how things are going.

    On the other hand, FERPA means that your child need not know there is a diagnosis or an IEP in place.

    If you ever get to the point where you’d like to get a diagnosis and your pediatrician is still reluctant, you can see an educational psychologist for an evaluation. If your pediatrician refers you, you can probably get insurance coverage.

    • I like your input, but I am confused by the statement about FERPA meaning that your child need not know there is a diagnosis or IEP in place. Isn’t IDEA basically a child’s right to FAPE? Why would one hold information from the child? I thought FERPA pertained to those without an educational interest.

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