Benefiting From Special Education vs. Requiring Special Education
You have just finished assessing a student and have found that he or she meets the eligibility criteria! Great news, right? Regardless of which eligibility category the IEP team is considering, one additional component is often overlooked: does this student require special education? As school psychologists, we must be able to decipher between a student benefitting from special education and requiring special education. Wouldn’t most students benefit from smaller class sizes and having a curriculum presented more slowly? Sure! But, do they need those components to successfully access the core curriculum? Possibly not. Let’s take a closer look at how to determine best whether or not a student requires special education!
But the Student Meets Eligibility and Struggles in Class!
I once assessed a student with an attention deficit diagnosis who was struggling academically in school. The assessment results revealed that he met eligibility under Other Health Impairment. The team was ready to put him in special education classes until I asked a simple question: Does he require specially designed instruction or can his needs be met within the general education setting with accommodations? Although the student presented with limited strength, vitality, and alertness, and the assessment data through rating scales and interviews showed his inattention caused an educational impact, the team ultimately concluded that he was a bright young man whose needs could be met within the general education setting. What an important reminder for all school psychs; never assume the student automatically should receive special education services because they meet eligibility criteria!
Interventions During the Assessment Process
If you have intervention programs at your school sites such as reading programs, behavior interventions, or mental health support, consider having the student participate during the evaluation process as a way to help the team determine if his or her needs can be met within general education or if more intensive services will be needed. The more data school psychologists have, the better informed the IEP team’s decision can be. Imagine coming into a meeting and already being able to share with the team what intervention programs were successful and which ones weren’t!
The Newer School Psych is now The Prepared School Psychologist (PSP). This community focuses on helping school psychs feel prepared to work effectively at their school sites. Now is a great time to join because coming up in the month of October, Jenny Ponzuric will be conducting case study walkthroughs for Specific Learning Disability, Other Health Impairment, and Autism! Prepared School Psychologist members will walk through these cases with Jenny Ponzuric and examine whether or not the students require special education and related services!
By becoming a Prepared School Psychologist member, you will also gain access to hundreds of resources, test templates, hundreds of hours of replays from conversations with school psychologists, exclusive training, opportunities to have consultation meetings with Jenny Ponzuric, the chance to be part of book clubs, and much more! So click on the link below, begin your journey as a prepared school psychologist, and make this your best school year yet!