Topic Areas: Eligibility Determination, Evaluation and Reeavluation, Specific Learning Disability
Evaluation, Specific Learning DisabilityPDF
Evaluation, Specific Learning Disability
400 MARYLAND AVE., S.W. WASHINGTON, D.C. 20202 -2600 www.ed.gov The Department of Education’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparedness for global competiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES April 25, 2016 Kelli Unnerstall Decoding Dyslexia Missouri Dear Ms. Unnerstall: This is in response to the comments you provided to the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services on the October 23, 2015 Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) addressing the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in evaluation and elig ibility determinations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and in individualized education program (IEP) documents. Specifically, you ask whether “a school district, through their evaluation, by a multi -disciplinary team including a school psychologist or a school psychological examiner, may identify a child as having dyslexia under the category of Specific Learning Disability. In other words, can this team diagnose the child as having dyslexia and use this diagnosis as meeting the eligibility requirements under Specific Learning Disability (assuming all of the other conditions are met)? ” You express concern that your school district believes that the DCL “only applies to the term dyslexia being recognized if a parent provides an ev aluation conducted by an outside agency . In other words the term dyslexia would never come up unless a parent receives an outside evaluation. ” In determining whether a child has a disability un der the IDEA, including a specific learning disability, the pub lic agency must conduct a comprehensive evaluation , which requires the use of a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the child . Information obtained through the evaluation , which includes information provided by the parent, may assist in determining: 1) whether the child is a child with a disability; and 2) the content of the child’s IEP to enable the child to be involved in, and make progress in, the general education curric ulum. 34 CFR §300.304(b)(1). Therefore, information about the child’s learning difficulties, including the presenting difficulties related to reading, mathematics, or writing, is important in determining the nature and extent of the child’s disability and educational needs. As we explained in our October 23, 2015 letter, while IDEA does not prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in eligibility determinations, t here is no requirement under IDEA t hat a disability label or “diagno sis” be given to each student receiving special education and related services, so long as the child is regarded as having a disability and receives needed special education and related services. 34 CFR §300.111(d). To ensure that this occurs, the public a gency must ensure that each child is assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability , including as appropriate, academic performance. 34 CFR §300.304(c)(4). There is no provision in the IDEA that gives a parent the right to dictate the specific a reas that the public agency must assess as part of the comprehensive evaluation; the public agency is only required to assess the child in particular areas related to the child’s suspected disability, as it determines appropriate. However, if a determinati on is made through the evaluation process that a particular assessment for dyslexia is needed to ascertain whether the child has a disability and the child’s educational needs, including those related to the child’s reading difficulties, then the public ag ency must conduct the necessary assessments. We also note that an evaluation for dyslexia could be an evaluation by a licensed physician to determine a child’s medically related disability that results in the child’s need for special education and related services. 34 CFR §300.34(c)(5). If the public agency decides that a medical evaluation or any other assessment is necessary to determine whether the child has a disability and his or her educational needs , the entire evaluation must be provided at no cost to the parent s. Parents who disagree with an evaluation obtained by a public agency have the right to seek an independent educational evaluation (IEE) a t public expense . Under 34 CFR §300.502(b)(2), if a parent requests an IEE at public expense, the publi c agency must, without unnecessary delay, either: (i) file a due process complaint to request a due process hearing under 34 CFR §300.507 to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or (ii) ensure that an IEE is provided at public expense, unless the agency demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to 34 CFR § §300.507 -300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria. Based on section 607(e) of the IDEA, we are informing you that our response is provided as informal guidance and is not legally binding, but represents an interpretation by the U.S. Department of Education of the IDEA in the context of the specific facts presented. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Duos at 202 -245 -6772 or by email at Laura.Duos@ed.gov. Sincerely, /s/ Ruth E. Ryder Acting Director Office of Special Education Programs
Addresses the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia in the evaluation process and subsequent eligibility determinations.
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Last modified on October 24, 2023