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Joyce:  What is the appropriate level of services for poor social cognition? My son has an IEP due to ADHD, in 2nd grade. He scored very low on 5 standardized tests in social cognition, reading nonverbal cues, perspective taking, inferences. He doesn’t have any close friends but generally gets by in relating to other children (no major conflicts, just viewed as a big strange due to his off-behavior). Grades are fine. IEP team says this does not impact academics & therefore only offer minimal services. How do you determine & advocate for appropriate level of services?

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Jill G

Joyce –

Normally I would suggest that you begin by asking the school to evaluate your son’s social needs, but I’m not sure it would be of any use.

Your best bet may be to have your son independently evaluated. Schools often just don’t know what to do when kids have social issues, so they say they won’t/can’t do anything about them. You need to help make it easier for them.

The evaluation should include observations of your son in multiple settings (school and home, plus any places he regularly interacts with other kids like after school programs, sports, clubs, etc.), teacher input, and a records review. The report should include very explicit recommendations for the school. With this in hand, you’ll be in a better place to advocate for your son.

If you can’t arrange for such an evaluation (they can be pricey), do ask the school to evaluate. They you can use your right to a publicly-funded independent evaluation if theirs is unsatisfactory.


Once a child is determined to be eligible for an IEP, the IEP is to address all of their needs. Unfortunately, many educators do not know or remember this. On this homepage google social skills. You will find a number of items that will help you.