Ask The Expert

Q. My daughter is in 7th grade. She has Tourette, ADD and OCD. She struggles with homework and with making friends. She wants to have friends but just doesn’t seem to know what to say to kids her age. We asked the school to test her for learning disorders but they say because her IQ is very high they can’t provide her with any supports. She had always been an A student but her grades have been going down over the past couple of years. I would appreciate any advice.

A. Many schools mistakenly believe that if a student has an above average intellectual ability, they cannot provide either a 504 Plan or an IEP. They often inform parents that since the student’s academic performance isn’t being impacted, they are not eligible for services or supports.

However, the Federal Office of Special Education (OSEP) emphasizes that every child should be evaluated individually using a “variety of assessments tools and strategies to gather functional, developmental and academic information about a child suspected of having a disability.” Therefore, IDEA and the federal regulations clearly establish that the determination of whether a child is eligible for an IEP is not restricted to information about the child’s academic performance. Federal regulations require assessment in all areas related to the suspected disability, “including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities.” (Learn More)

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