School district won't evaluate



Hi! I was directed over to this board from the general board. After receiving my letter requesting formal evaluation for Special Education services, my sd has set up pre-evaluation metg for next wee. According to Ms. Principal, this mtg will "determine which assesments need to be done...IF we decided to do any evaluations at all". Brief past son (difficult child) has 504 plan, and everytime we meet to discuss his continual school failure and frustration, I am told...He doesnt qualify for Special Education..doesnt qualify under IDEA because they say he "doesnt have a learning disability because he isnt getting F's all the time....has to choose to be more compliant...has to complete all his assignments" blah blah blah Anyway, I have had it and hope to get them to actually do assessments this time rather than base judgement on an intelligence test he had in first or second grade!! (I told them that it was my understnading that this was illegal). Question...I am trying to prepare a list of concerns and appropriate assessments to bring to meeting. Where can I get more info on this? difficult child is flunking all core subjects (but gets A's in band, music, art) His reading level is at least a year and a half behind age/grade, he just doesnt get math, he hates to write, his handwriting is horrible, he can spell words verbally, but messes up when trying to write them for tests....these are just some of the problems. His ODD frequently kicks in and he does "choose" (school's term) not to comply when he is frustrated or angry. I am trying to find an advocate in my area to attend with me..but may have to wing it on my own. Anyway..I'm sorry if this is a jumble....I just don't want to blow it this time..get intimidated and end up not getting anywhere. Thanks for any help I can get.


-Alisha Leigh-
Member # 7106
posted 03-14-2002 04:36 PM

#1. If you ask for a Full and Initial Evaluation, the school district must provide it. If not, they have to show cause why the request is denied. Make sure you get the denial in writing.
#2. Part of IDEA requires testing for learning disabilities. Some learning disabilities show up on the standard testing
as bigblue pointed out above. There's also WIAT II, WISK III, etc. If this hasn't been done recently, request it. Again, if they refuse, make them put it in writing.
#3. Many ADD children have co-existing conditions. Some children only show symptoms at home, so the parent sees things the school doesn't and viceversa. Poor handwriting is a symptom of fine motor skill problems which many times requires intervention by an Occupational Therapist. Print out checklist for Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), Sensory and Motor, Speech and Language, etc.
This has some Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) symptoms on it. There are other checklists available.

This page has info on sensory and motor, but there are other sites also.
Also, check out learning disabilities on the site.

You may know that Section 504 relates more to how ONE OR MORE disabilities affects life rather than being narrowly confined to a "significant disability" as defined by IDEA. This is some good info to have (it's more comprehensive than what you will find in the regs): Limitations on Major Life Activities
Good luck!

Also, might be beneficial. Actually, there are a lot of good learning disorder sites.

When will school ditricts learn to communicate with parents? Parents don't want to become adversaries, they would rather use that energy to WORK WITH schools. Confrontation obscures issues and is very distracting to the core objectives of SpEd.


New Member
Hi cybersis 6...

everything posted above is great. You have a lot of info that should be very helpful to you.

I just wanted to add---you son may qualify for SPED under that category of Social/Emotional Disorders. If he does not qualify for Learning Disability (LD) services.

He is definately NOT doing well in school if he is failing! You assessment should help everyone determine WHY he is not doing as well as it would be expected.

Your sd MUST complete a FULL evaluation for an initial go around. This must include psychological testing, tests that indicate achievement, a classroom observation and learning profile, a health update, a social history intake----and then whatever else is merited---this might include: an Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment for motor skills, etc.

I hope that you are able to get this accomplished over the summer break so that your son may begin school with appropriate services in place!



New Member
I have a question. What is the spread between his verbal and visual IQ? My youngest difficult child was a 130 visual but an 85 verbal. A 25 point spread indicates a learning disorder. Pieces of info I picked up along the way.


The spread deemed "significant" by professionals, inclusive of school districts, varies quite a bit.

Some school districts define a "significant discrepancy" as one standard deviation; some define it as 2 standard deviations -- there could very well be other "definitions."

1 SD = 15 points.


A difference of only 1 s.d. is not only NOT statistically significant, it is unlikely to be educationally significant.

When you get above 2 s.d. (30 pt spread) or even greater, then it is hard to not realize that the child is going to experience somethings as much easier to do than others.

I guess the only exception to the "qualification" rule would be a VIQ of 160 and a PIQ of 120 would be almost a 3 s.d. difference. I would still say the child would have to process the differences but there still might be no "negative educational impact" from a s.d. point of view.

My difficult child has a 33 point spread in favor of PIQ but he is NOT Learning Disability (LD). However, there is no doubt that nonverbal things are easier for him than verbal--but that alone isn't a qualifier.

As Lizz said--no Learning Disability (LD) qualification still leaves E/BD and due to the difficulty of processing large intra-individual differences, some difficult child's with large spreads do develop emotional reactions and qualify under that provision. Depression, for example, is common partly as a result of a steady school diet of "he could do it if he wanted to, he's just stubborn" with no effective intervention.

been there done that



From a professional's standpoint, I know you're right Marti. However, as a mom I'd recommend that parents keep close tabs on a child's progress even if the child only approaches a 15 point spread if you feel there's a problem.

In our case, difficult child didn't come close to having even a 15 point (-1 SD) spread so my concerns about difficult child's learning disability(ies) were dismissed by the school district.

The problems haven't disappeared "with maturity." difficult child "reads" beautifully, but can't understand what he's read. Through private testing, we've recently learned that difficult child's overall Language is at a 6 yr old, 4 mo level. His Receptive Language is worse than his Expressive Language. That tells me his Receptive Language is somewhere below the 6 yr old 4 mo level.

While he was not in that bad of a predicament when he was tested 2 yrs ago, the red flags were not properly monitored. His Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) advises that difficult child has not regressed, rather this is a case of "no intervention equals no growth."

So now I have a 10 yr old in the 4th grade who's Receptive Language is equivalent to one in Kindergarten.

Sometimes what is not statistically significant initially needs close monitoring.