What’s in a classification?
“My son has been diagnosed with a learning disability in the area of reading. The school psychologist told me he had a Specific Learning Disability in auditory processing. But my pediatrician is telling me that he thinks my son is showing signs of autism. In terms of the services he receives at school, does it matter what his eligibility is?”
I see this often.
I hear this often.
Parents express concern when multiple labels are slapped (or swapped around) on their child. They fear that their child may not get the services that they need.
At the end of the day, it is plain and simple.
The label doesn’t drive decisions. It gets the student to a threshold so an appropriate program can be created.
When your child qualifies for special education services under a specific eligibility, it is not the eligibility that the team looks at to start developing a plan for your child.
Related Article: Q&A about SpED Services – Asked by Parents
How to Develop an IEP
First, the team – including you, the parent! – looks at the specific areas that the child may be struggling in. While the disability or “criteria” plays a hand in these deficits, the team looks specifically at what skills your child may be lagging in.
Next, the team creates an annual goal to address those lagging skills. It can range from anything from reading fluency to adaptive skills. Again, it goes back to the area of deficit that is identified. If your child is far below grade level in the area of reading, he/she will have a reading goal. If your child can’t make their way around school without getting lost, the team will likely create a goal in adaptive skills.
The school offers services. Based on the child’s goal. If, a year from now, you expect that the child will be able to read ____ amount of words per minute based on his/her current ROI (rate of improvement), the team needs to think about what services and interventions need to be put in place in order for the student to meet that goal.The #IEP eligibility doesn't drive decisions. It gets the student to a threshold so an appropriate program can be created. #SpED Click To Tweet
Sure, there’s the added bit of accommodations and additional supports and other IEP meeting fluff. But, the important thing to keep in mind is that the eligibility is what allows your child to access the supports and services. It does not determine what he/she will receive.
The team determines what the child will need. Based on the child. Not the disability.
Questions of the Day:
- Do you know anyone who recently became eligible for an IEP? Do you feel they are getting the services and support they need?