Help OHI or ED/ grading down


New Member
I would like to question further about generalized anxiety disorder. The psychologist made mention that the IEP label would be ED if gets an IEP. They are also doing testing for Learning Disability (LD)'s. My daughter has problems with written expression she is doing better if it is a subject related topic but if it is personal or what she thinks about what she has read she either doesn't do it or when pressed shuts down. She says she feels tired and her brain says to write but her hand can't. I need to come up with an argument for OHI she needs to have a Special Education teacher work with her on her writing assignments. She is more than capable. Since moving to the public school from Catholic her handwriting is very nice and used to be very sloppy. It was an effort to do written work at all before. She is making progress no IEP yet just testing. Beginning of school all were notified of her Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) but still the teacher pushed her and she shut down and sent her to the principals office to do work that she wouldnt' do so we requested an evaluation. The lastest is that no mention on her progress report of not doing her reading response journal. No mention in my weekly to biweekly phone calls. No mention of an incident where she wrote a personal paper wouldn';t show it to the teacher and went in the bathroom for 30 minutes. I could have had her therapist talk to her about it. I found out weeks later. About the reading response journal found out at teachers conferences in which her grade was a C because she failed her in 2 areas of reading for not doing the reading response journal. No attempt to test her reading ability in any other way, no reading specialist brought in(they have them at the school NOT Special Education) she is being testing now for Special Education.

In sciene only 1 test she got 100 but told she recieved a B didn't use time wisely on hands on project. She told me it was the week she was sick a day and got confused as what to do when she got back, she also has problems asking for help due to her anxiety

Husband is going to ask to look at grade book, then talk to principal about grade change for reading, other things to do. Then follow up with official letter. Then we will hash this out at the IEP/504 meeting. However to get a teacher to work with her on her writing I am thinking they will not have a Special Education teachaer to help her with a 504 correct? She would need an IEP.
Any direction, suggestions? I read a website that argued OHI for bipolar but what about generalized anxiety disorder?

Any suggestions?


In order to qualify for a Section 504 plan, a student must have a problem that affects one major life activity. “‘Major life activities’ means functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.” §104.3(j)(2)(ii) (emphasis added). This list is not exhaustive. The phrase “major life activities” is calculated to include “those basic activities that the average person in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty.”

Regarding 504's the US Dept of Ed, OCR division, states "Once it is determined that a child needs special education or related services, the recipient school system must arrange to provide appropriate services." See

I've never seen it happen under 504 wherein a 504 student received special education however. That doesn't mean it never happens, but 504's typically provide accomodations only and sometimes related services such as Occupational Therapist (OT).

Theoretically, a 504 would work for many students but it seems to me they are given little respect by many school districts.


Ditto what Sheila said.

The reason schools are so willing to give 504 plans is that in most cases, they INTEND to do nothing.

The only time a 504 works well in my opinion is for a concrete arrangement accommodations for a physical disability.

Since you do not want Special Education based on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), when the school finds your difficult child ineligible, it will be next to impossible to get services for HER directly. It still might be possible to get accommodations, however. Schools are particularly heartless, in my experience, with kids whose parents requested evaluation and subsequently were found ineligible. This may not be true everywhere, but it has happened to several people here: once your kid is found INeligible, it becomes more difficult to get help. I guess the SDs think the parent cried “wolf.”

I will respectfully disagree with you again. My ex-difficult child was the ONLY kid (out of 400) who was labeled ED in his middle school. I would not allow him to be mislabeled Learning Disability (LD) (although it was offered as "less stigmatizing") many times. Not only did EVERYONE know he had emotional problems including major problems with anxiety, he subsequently went into residential placement for ED. It was difficult to know him and not know he had problems with ED because both depression and anxiety were obvious.

He "graduated" from egbs and then went DIRECTLY to a private school that was not for Special Education students and had never taken a graduate of an egbs. Ex-difficult child was their first and I said WYSIWYG: he had no special academic needs and his ED had been Tx’d extensively. He got into the initial boarding school because he interviewed very well. His only "need" was for medications and a "regular" boarding school was not at all bothered by that, having so many kids on medications for one thing or another. We rejected "transitional or step-down" placement in a boarding school familiar with egbs students as likely to produce problems rather than solve them. It was only later that ex-difficult child got into a "regular" (albeit specially oriented) environment that one could believe that he got there due to his talent (with the implication emotional problems would be overlooked.) The conservatory h.s. was well aware of his Hx but could never actually believed there ever had been anything “wrong” with ex-difficult child because he had no performance anxiety is a sea of kids with that problem. He never HAD performance anxiety but that is not a fight worth fighting with a new school—he had every OTHER kind of anxiety at a younger age, but was treated successfully.

All of the above does not make the approach we took correct. However, it does support the idea that having ED is not the "kiss of death" for subsequent regular private school acceptance. Also, these experiences reinforce my point to the middle school principal that I preferred ED (although it should not be a "choice" in my opinion; ex-difficult child WAS ED and not Learning Disability (LD)) because it is treatable and even curable. One cannot say that about a correctly diagnosis'd Learning Disability (LD): it is a life-long disability. Another reason I am really glad I pushed is I can talk to ex-difficult child due to maturity and self-insight in a way that is not available to the parent of every 19 year old. He says that the mention of him having an Learning Disability (LD) (he had to have overheard this stuff) made him feel helpless---as though he were a defective freak of nature. Very able to do things no one else could do; and totally unable to do the "easy" things. He now says that this was his depression distorting his thinking. He could have done the academic work (and is doing it now) but couldn't then because of his anxiety, depression, and internal turmoil. by the way, having his insight is a double-edged sword: he can also tell me about the mistakes I made, and is usually right.

I do not believe children with ED are well served by being given another label to avoid "stigma" unless or until all children receive special education without regard to category. Since decategorization was not written in to IDEA 2004, we will all be using these categories at least until the next revision of the law.



New Member
Every childs situation is different. As you know my older difficult child was labeled ED and yes it fit him. With my daughter the situation is different and she requires some help in written expression. I do not know if they will deny her or not most likely not since she tests high and they are concerned that she is not performing where she should be. This is the schools own words. She does well on tests it the written expression she has problems with. She is doing much better in this environment than her last school. She "might" go to private Catholic school in middle or high school if it is the right fit for her but the ED label will hinder that. I already know that is a fact at least where we live. I respect other peoples situation but my daughter's is her situation. She does get tired, is unable to write, can concentrate when she has to do written expression it is very likely there is an argument to "fit" the OHI she fits that as much as the ED label.


New Member
How can you prove a child needs an IEP for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) even under ED? I was told her learning would have to be affected on all levels. She is being kept in from recess, unable to do her writing assignments in class for her reading journal, the teacher insists she has a behavorial problem when the psychologist, counselor, and principal agree it is anxiety. The teacher uses words like sneaky, behavior. Has had my daughter hide in the bathroom for 30 minutes when pushed to share a person paper.


What you need to get an IEP legally is

1) A QUALIFYING disability (ED is one; OHI is another; Learning Disability (LD) is a third--there are 11 or 12 named areas in the law.)

SDs s*c*r*e*w bright kids by using grades only--or even nationally normed tests because by the time such kids actually "fail" they are a mess. Healthy emotional functioning is part of education so it is possible to get an IEP based largely on emotional problems as long as there is a negative impact in school. Someone else asked this question recently--their SD lied and said IEPs were only for ACADEMIC problems; this is not true.

I hate to keep going back to my ex-difficult child but in his case the negative impact was SO clear and similar in some way to your daughter. On testing ex-difficult child was very capable. In class, he did not do anything; he also had passive behaviors that interfered with learning (self-deprecating statements, contributing morbidly to discussions, etc.) It is a real show-stopper for a 5th grade teacher to talk about "planning for middle school" and ex-difficult child says, "I hope I'm dead by then." When she took issue, he promptly said, "Everything that is born, dies, so what's the use? I'd rather die now." Do you see why he was never "sent to the office" but nevertheless, this type of depression was interfering with his ability to learn--or even be in school. He had many comparable anxiety issues: things he passively just would not do--no way to budge him. Also not a "send to the office offense" but plenty frustrating and disruptive to learning.

The law specifically mentions "abnormal feelings" in normal situations as a qualifier for ED. I know my kid had abnormal feelings and it sounds as if your does, too.

You CAN'T let the school use grades as the measure of "negative impact;" the school can manipulate grades any way they want to. by the way, you are not doing qualification any good by getting her grades raised.

Sheila has made this point before: we kill ourselves to keep our kids learning, and passing, and they then do not qualify. I resigned from homework when ex-difficult child was in 4th grade. He didn't do it—it was a perfect passive resistance: he hated it and wanted to practice all the time—and he did. They knew he "could" do the work or homework in the sense of "had the ability" but didn't do it. They chose not to fail him; but had they failed him, they would have proved negative impact even more quickly. As I said earlier, you couldn't be around him and ignore the ED--our fight was not over qualification but services--what to do for him and when.

I think you have set up some things that will make qualification more difficult but not impossible.

Does your daughter want to go to school? IS it a struggle to get her there? If so, I would stop struggling and you will have negative impact in spades--just call the school and tell them she won't get out of bed--or whatever, won't get dressed, won't get in the car, etc.

This happened with ex-difficult child in 6th grade right at this time of the year: he had a GREAT Christmas with music and refused to go back to school. In fact, he had a 12 hour meltdown the Sunday before he was supposed to go back. I called the Director of Special Education the next morning and said--"do something to stop the bullying and other aversives or he won't come back. I can't get him there." THIS is negative impact. All of the above is based on ED. There was never ANY question he could do the work. His lowest standardized test was in reading which was around the 70th percentile. His math scores were at the 99th percentile. ED is not about how a child tests academically; it is about how a child LEARNS in school or NOT based on emotional considerations.

ED is treatable: my ex-difficult child is a success that "proves" that you can "free" an ED kid to use what he has. After EGBS, ex-difficult child never returned to a Special Education environment, never got accommodations, and managed to graduate from high school and go to college. Yes, he got some Ds in English in h.s. Yes, he is not motivated to do all the reading but by that time, I felt that it was his CHOICE (and therefore not ED) but when he was younger, it was not his choice. He could not do the work or benefit from school due to ED. THAT is negative impact.

I hope this isn't too long but I get frustrated and unhappy when SDs pull this stuff because I know of many ED qualified kids--my son isn't the only one—who test well academically, but they don’t DO well in school.

I hope this helps you see how you need to present this to your SD to get your daughter qualified for Special Education which she really seems to need or your problems will get larger in my opinion. I hope they don’t but adolescence does not usually improve things.



Active Member
One of the things that was really eye opening when my difficult child went through his bout with serious anxiety was how hard it was for the school staff to see the anxiety-school connect. In my case that was compounded by the fact the main issue they saw was school refusal and he saved the rest for us at home but from their comments I could tell it was hard for them. This is a district that doesn't skirt their sped responsibilities and from staff members who I may not have all loved but who were knowledgable and cared about kids.

Many of the issues that the SD sees from kids with anxiety look identical to what they see from kids with behavioral issues alone so for things to work effectively somewhere they have to buy into that fact. Most eye opening was when my best friend who is a junior high teacher listened to me throughout difficult child's anxiety process. She is a sincere and caring person and a great teacher---and at one point in there she expressed how sorry she was for her and her team's treatment of a student and family. Until she'd seen it through my eyes she just didn't understand the root cause. The family was claiming behaviors were anxiety related and even those caring teachers couldn't recognize the connection. They thought the parents were enabling him to continue in his behaviors.