How they qualify


How they Qualify for special education and 504 services.

I suppose I could write a book on this issue alone.. as you will see there are numerous ways to Qualify for services provided at no cost to the parent under 504 and Special Educuation. ( known as Sped )

One thing I would really like to stress here is that they can also qualify for BOTH!

**Special education for services.

**504 to PREVENT discrimination & for services to accomplish this.

Often times in this domain... behavior disorders its wise to do both!

There are many places to learn the differences about the 2 programs on the internet.. one of my favorites is in
The Special Education Advocacy library at

S. James Rosenfeld does a supererb job of comparing the two and you can locate it easily using the search function. * Basic Similarities and Differences *

It would be silly for me to cover all this in here.. so I will speak to the basics, and breifly explain how they qualify:

Any discussion of "How they qualify" must begin with why they qualify and why you should seek them to qualify?

First and foremost these programs were designed to level the playing field for students who for whatever reason cannot benefit from education with out assistance.

This means that Congress recognized that not all children can learn the same way, but if given appropriate modifications can in fact benefit from FAPE ( Free and Appropriate Public Education).

We educate children because our forfathers realized that if all its citizens were educated, it would promote a more civilized nation and help us to better protect ourselves from our enemies.

We would be happier and more productive, and contribute to a more stable economy... and that persons with an education would be less likely to be dependent on the State
( Country ) for support.

So... before you feel guilty about asking for these services ( some do cause they feel like beggers ) please know that FAPE for your child is a State interest, not a selfish whim on your part.

I like going back to Babylonian and Hebrew times when explaining your interest in your child... way back then a child was seen as an investment, and a couple without children ( barren ) were pittied because children were produced to care for their parents in old age and infirmity.

Basicly they had kids to care for them in the future.

Children were somewhat a status symbol, and if someone injured your child.. it was veiwed similarly to theft.

You could "collect" damages from your childs injuries because you had a "proprietary" (means ownership or investment )interest in your childs future.

If someone altered ( damaged ) your child, then they were made to compensate you for such.

Its really the same today... In the USA we know as parents that we are responsible for raising and caring for our children until age of majority.. ( 18-21 )... if we fail to do this the State will step in and do it for us.

* note * wrongful death suits for parents of children who die are largely won on this principal even today.. most think its for pain & suffering but generally courts have ruled we should expect our children to care for us in our old age ***

* this is another "State" interest in that if the State allows a child to be damaged ... it can be considered a future liability for the State when the child goes into adulthood. IE: prisons, mental health wards etc.

We have an economy based upon our children reaching majority, and moving out... buying a home, entering the work force, and becoming consumers. This is how we "grow" the economy.

In old times children stayed with the family and thus the slow economy.

If this does not happen then the State will suffer.. and from this we get 504 and SPED.

The same is true for you... as a parent its important for your child to get FAPE, so he or she will move out and off your economic support.

Additionally, you must be able to predict and count upon your child to assist you in old age and infirmity.

*( now resume reading this after you pick yourself up off the floor from laughing your butt off )* LOL

This is why... Congress allows YOU to decide and be the MAJORITY decison maker for your childs education. It affect you... you have an interest or stake in his/her future.

Many parents of disabled children find themselves caring for those children well past retirement as the State has "done away with" mental health hospitals and the so called "funny farms" of the past where we warehoused our shame.

* recently in Michigan a mother was charged with child neglect for not having her 8 month old Cerebral Palsy baby in school... true story!!! Her Peditrician told her to get the baby in school at age 3 mos, and when she did not, he filed a refferal. the child was removed from the home, and taken to foster care where she rode in a carseat on a bus to school each day. ( 8 MONTHS OLD!!!) she was returned to Mom.

The State excersized its "interest" in getting this child educated and her disabilities remediated as quickly as possible.

If the State did this why do so many parents have trouble asking for help for their child?

You need to ask and answer those questions for yourself.

I have never heard a valid reason for NOT getting services for a child... its no different than giving them vitamins or shots to prevent polio.

But if you think you have a valid reason.. please post it so that we may "think out loud".

How they qualify is simple.. and the two programs bascily overlap and are intertwined.

Anything that the TEAM determines is not special edcuation but is a concern .. falls under 504
Obesity is one example that fits somewhat.. except depending on the level of obesity a child could qualify under SPED... IF the obesity reached the level of impairing the childs health.. which would get him/her eligible under OHI or POHI.

OHI= other health impaired
POHI= physically or other health impaired

Sooo as you can see an argument could be made that the child is SPED and or 504.

In terms of behavior diability .. Congress clearly defines behavior as a disabilty.. they recognized that not all children can follow the same standards for behavior
( because of a disability ) that their non-disabled peers do.

This is no different than holding a child with-o legs to same standards in gym class and running as a child with legs.

If your child doesnt have the ability to perfom the required tasks then he must be "assisted" until he/she can.

This assistance is SPED and 504, and must be provided in order for your child to "benefit" from education and be deveolped to his/her "maximum potential".

The key words "benefit" and "maximum potential" should ALWAYS be used when asserting this standard for your child.

Behavior disordered children are seldomly mentally retarded or cognitvley deficient.
Often times ( very often ) they are on the other end of the spectrum and fall well into the gifted range.

If you have an Einstein who behaves like Frankenstein... ( monster ) then chances are better than good that he/she will not "benefit" from education and will not be developed to his/her "maximum potential".

This is why parents fail to seek SPED or 504 for their child cause they often argue.. that their kid is very smart... yup and they are also losing out cause they fail to "benefit".. and they wont acheive "maximum potential"

(a) Geaneral(1)As used in this part, the term child with a disability means a child evaluated in accordance with 300.530-300.536 as having mental retardation, a hearing impairment including deafness, a speech or langauge impairment, a visual impairment, serious emotional disturbance (hereafter referred to as emotional disturbance ) an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, a specific learning disablity, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities, and who by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.

The labels:

ED: Emotional disturbance

300.7 (4)Emotional disturbance is defined as follows:
(i) The term means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following charateristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree adversley affects a child's educational performance:
(A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors.
(B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
(C) Innapropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
(D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
(E) A tendency to develop physicl symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
(ii) The term includes schizophrenia The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

*hint* Anger is an emotion!

this also covers anxiety, fear, depression, etc.


Learning Disability (LD): learning disabled

this covers a vast range of learning difficulties, and includes dyslexia, central auditory processing disorders, dysgraphia etc.

* sometimes children with attention difficulties fall here simply because they are not able to attend well enough that they fail to "get it"

OHI: other health impaired

Often times this is where children with behavior difficulties fall... I will explain.

As most of you know ODD never travels alone, it always has a co-morbid.. either ADD / ADHD / depression / Aspegers / poly substance abuse etc.

Because ALL of those labels fall with the DSM guidelines this makes it a medical issue.. and thus "other health impairment".

Schools argue this all the time.. I personaly used the DSM guidelines for ODD / CD in my parent report along with the facts about ODD on Abbeys home page in my parent report.

POHI: physically or otherwise health impaired.

same as above different name for states and feds.

These are the main 3 that we need to be concerned with.. so I wont cover the rest, except on an as needed basis.

If you have a child with a behavior disorder, these labels will fit and thus qualify him/her for services.

Now... a common pitfall here is that many parents experience is much like mine was in that my tazmanian devil was an ~A~ngel at school. uuuugghhhhhhh!!!!

Soooo the SD looks at you like your nuts when you even suggest that he/she may have a disability.

But the law however knows your not nuts, and Congress said: " the childs needs must be considered in all domains " this means home, church, and community.

If your child is an Einstein in school a Frankenstein at home... is he/she benefiting from education? Are they being developed to their maximum potential?


If your child finds himself in jeopardy of being imprisoned will this achieve "maximum" potential?


Also.. please be ceratin that this dis-order will spread to other domains.. usually around puberty and middle/high school.

If you get services now... ( remember the State and the 8 month old baby )... you may help your child benefit and reach their potential.

I hope I have covered it all.. but know that there really is no way to address every situation.

So please if you are confused please post it here... in this thread so I may assist you.

Hugs N Love!!!

5 kids 21,19,18,14& 11.
21 yo M difficult child moved & is engaged!
18 yo M difficult child is not in jail yet but bought his advance ticket! And 11 yo M difficult child/easy child is in remission??! Doing super!
No medications.. have tried acupuncture with- good results.Founder PRIE: Parents Rights In Education, volunteer parent advocate.
Motto: " Sometimes all thats left is tears to honor the bond.... I cry with honor "
Creed: " A pen and a voice for the "Bad Kid"!!"
" Giftedness has NOTHING to do with eligibility!!!"
" Mr. Chaos stopped by last week and liked the accomodations so well he wont leave! "
Top 2 Questions:
1. Have you done a Parent Report?
2. Did you Fix it once Fix it WRITE?

[This message has been edited by Jerri (edited 10-02-1999).]

[This message has been edited by Jerri (edited 10-02-1999).]

[This message has been edited by Jerri (edited 10-02-1999).]

[This message has been edited by Jerri (edited 11-17-1999).]


Have you put a copy of this in archive? It really needs to be!

pico: 48 y/o sgl mom with:
easy child: 14 y/o in private Cath sch.
difficult child: 11 y/o in publ schl Behavior Disorder class; diag ODD Sept 98; Currently on Risperdal, .5 mg / 1/day; in specific after school prog designed for kids with ADHD + anything else from alphabet soup; Has 1 psychologist, 1 psychiatrist, 1 absolutely invested mom, awesome Aunt Blondie, and whimsically involved non-custodial father.

My job is not my life. It is how I pay for my life. Now, where can I find a life??????!!!!!


You are the best. Thanks you so much for teaching me to how to be an effective advocate for my child. Knowing the law has made an enormous difference in how the SD reacts to my letters and phone calls.

I even feel confident enuf to help other parents.

Thanks again.


Hi Jerri, Thank-you for the info .I must remember "maximum potential" I know Joshie's disability prevents him from doing his "best"
work sometimes he will scribble on his work and get an "N"...can I print the article
Lisa : ) among other stuff

mom-ADD?Son1 ADD,A/S? ,Learning Disability (LD)
Son2 ADHD,Bi-Polar?

So.....12 yr.old GYG ADHD/ODD getting arrested by in school police officer and getting a $300 ticket for refusing to go to in school detention(disorderly conduct) is not legal? difficult child also threatened to beat up the teacher aide if the teacher aide gave him another bruise like he did last year.

Nana on Efflexor
12 yr.old Grandson ADHD/ODD living with Ritalin, on Depakote(makes him less angry)
difficult child's Mom - Drug user, probably ODD/CD as a teen and still is,
husband 26 years recovering alcoholic, 5 yrs. Past Coronary Bypass
My favorite: Serenity Prayer, but I don't always have the wisdom to know the difference.

Fantastic Jerri, thanks!!!!!!!!



Yup very illegal!

OCR complaint... se my new list of acronyms, and Teacher modifications for classroom.

Melinda.. Thanks honey!


5 kids 21,19,18,14& 11.
21 yo M difficult child moved & is engaged!
18 yo M difficult child is not in jail yet but bought his advance ticket! And 11 yo M difficult child/easy child is in remission??! Doing super!
No medications.. have tried acupuncture with- good results.Founder PRIE: Parents Rights In Education, volunteer parent advocate.
Motto: " Sometimes all thats left is tears to honor the bond.... I cry with honor "
Creed: " A pen and a voice for the "Bad Kid"!!"
" Giftedness has NOTHING to do with eligibility!!!"
" Mr. Chaos stopped by last week and liked the accomodations so well he wont leave! "
Top 2 Questions:
1. Have you done a Parent Report?
2. Did you Fix it once Fix it WRITE?


New Member

Wanted to add my thanks to you! I marked the Wright's Law site to come back to when I've got more time!

Thanks for all your help!

7yo difficult child, diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
previously on Luvox,Paxil
currently no medications.
trying Efalex

Hi! I am new to the BB and usually post to the Primary Zone, as my son is only 5. I am concerned as to the responsibilities of the teacher vs. parent vs. student. My son is in Kindergarten and I had parent teacher conferences on Monday.Since my son was just diagnosed I discussed this with her. She believes that because she only sees mania in Joseph that he cannot be BiPolar (BP), her sister is BiPolar (BP) and she explained that her sister is so severly depressed that she could stay in bed all day without doing anything. I talked to my psychiatrist about this and he said that Joseph displays his depression through irritability,being offended easiy,wanting to be alone,ect. Anyway I am confused because Joseph is not having any problems with learning, his grades are very good. However, she said that Joseph is very loud and is hard to calm down,she also said that he gets so excited and he gets the hole class out of hand.She never mentioned this behavior before, so I am frustrated that this was not dealt with sooner. He has mostly mania so this doesn't suprse me. I talked to her about implementing the star chart at school, it seems to be helping.In finding out about his behaior in school, I also found out that he's spending about 1/4 of the time he's there(3 1/2 hrs) in time out. I am not making excuses for his behavior but how is he going to want to go to school when he's in time out all the time? I want to know what rights we all have and whose responsible for what.Since he has just gotten dxd I have not yet done any of the things you have talked about.Since his grades are doing well and his behavior is improving, should I wait to do these things? Please send ay advice you have. It doesn't help that she doesn't thimk there's a problem, she obviously soesn't see that what he's displaying is mania.
I just don't know what to do please help.


mom to Kaylin 8 weeks &
Joseph 5 with- ADHD,ODD,BiPolar (BP)
no medications yet
smal public school



Thanks for re-posting this stuff. Sometimes it is hard for "newbies" to find your "Big Three."

I would like to add one clarification and caution: The law does not require every conceivable service for a child to reach his/her maximum potential. The cite is a US Supreme Court decision Rowley v. Board (1982). Your analysis of why education and children themselves are "property" that the state has an interest in are right on target and would make good reading for friends? and neighbors who think difficult child's get "more than their share"--educating difficult children is a lot cheaper than maintaining them for life but the neighbors don't want to think about that.

Back to Rowley: the Supreme Court decided that Amy Rowley had the playing field leveled sufficiently so that she could "attain benefit" from her education (she was a very early 'included' child). That she needed simultaneous sign interpretation to reach her "maximum potential"--she was deaf and a better than average speech reader--was ruled beyond the scope of the Congressional intent of the law. So Amy went through school getting B+'s instead of A's. She still "benefitted" according to the Court's analysis.

Rowley is an extremely important case because it sets the upper limit of what schools have to do. However, most difficult children are not getting B+ with their parents knowing that A's are possible given the child's potential. Most districts are laughably far from exceeding the Rowley threshold that it's pitiful and not at all funny even tho' I said 'laughable.'

However, I wouldn't write a letter requesting that my difficult child receive services to reach his "maximum" potential because I know I'd get a letter right back citing Rowley. It is a better strategy in my opinion to write requesting evaluation for Special Education. so child can "attain benefit" and leave exactly where potential is open until eligibility is determined. (This is particularly important for SED aka SEI kids who are bright or gifted and 'get by' in the early grades--they tend to stop benefitting by any reasonable definition of the word by 4th or 5th grades, but you don't want to get bogged down in a "he's passing" argument. Therefore, focus on the total effect of the disability, not whether the difficult child is 'passing'.)

been there done that and I don't even mention that my difficult child is intellectually gifted because he was failing all subjects. Without testing, they new he was of above average intelligence, so his failure must be attributable to some disability--in his case SED-- that is covered by the law. I don't ask that they do anything special because of his IQ. The reasoning is that if they provide an individualized FAPE for him, his intellectual needs will be met (as they are--he's in the accelerated track in math and science) but not because of IDEA, just because that's where he belongs PROVIDED they deliver sped sevices that allow him to attend school and benefit at all. If services weren't provided to address his SED, he wouldn't benefit from anything.

REMEMBER--The school district doesn't owe you diddly sh** because your child is gifted--IT'S NOT COVERED BY LAW-EITHR IDEA97 OR 504.

The only exception to the above: IF a child is "otherwise qualifed" for an EXISTING gifted program available to the general ed. population that qualifies (usually by IQ testing), then a sp.ed. child who is also "otherwise qualified" may not be excluded from an existing program due to disability. The operative word is EXISTING
and the law is the ADA and section 504-not IDEA.

I've written before that if you have a gifted child in an existing gifted program--difficult child or easy child--DON'T MOVE, if humanly possible, because the new s.d. is under no obligation to replicate the gifted program in your former district.

Hope this clarifies the finer points of Rowley and giftedness. It is a technical area but important to the membership because so many folks who have difficult child's who are SED and gifted as well.

Martie, mother of Mr. No (Major Dep -in remission, ODD, not ADHD or Learning Disability (LD), musically very gifted) and a 14 yo easy child daughter. husband of 22 yrs.

Jerri, thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it and will tackle this on Monday with my difficult child's school counselor. Now I feel I understand it better and can be prepared for the conversation.


Lori-10 yr. old daughter with ADHD and ODD. Currently on Ritalin 20mg daily. Her father, (my wonderful husband) keeps me sane!


New Member
Ok I have one too. About good ole Nat. On my other post I said about getting him elvated finally by an Occupational Therapist (OT) and she plans to do more testing...but is also going to be talking to his teacher and said if his problems don't inferer with his learning she can't offer him any therapy for his sensory intergration disorder. She had me give a form to his teacher to fill out...and also planned to talk to her. The thing is Nat is doing well in school and making alot of progress though he does get into trouble sometimes. He just bit one of the kids at school the other day because this kid eggs him on.

And at home his social interaction with other children is just awful. He tried to boss them, manulate them, threaten them, takes toys from them and is just plain mean. He is in pre-school which puts up with alot of this behavior that isn't going to be put up with in real school and I am trying despestaly to get a handle on it now. So what do I do if they say the school can't provide him therapy if it isn't interfering with him learning?

Julie with son named Nathan which mean a gift from God. Some gifts are hard one. Is allergic to eighteen different airborne things including mold, some grass, trees and dogs. Motto: There is light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to find the right tunnel.
Nathan my difficult child, diagnosis with a regulatory and disruptive disorder, no medications, now four yrs. Ketcup makes him rage!
Me, mom on 20 mg on Prozac. 39yrs old, an older mom but don't seem to be any wiser.
DEX: totally insane but thinks everyone esle is.
Wish some space alien's would come get him and take him back to their planet.(found out the aliens brought him here to get rid of him)