Yes, a child who has good grades may still qualify for an IEP because they may need help in areas other than academics. In addition to curriculum and learning, school districts are responsible for helping children with:
- Independent Functioning Skills such as organizational skills, using a planner, turning in homework on time, tracking projects, breaking larger projects down into smaller more manageable pieces, managing multiple classes and teachers during the day. For very young children toilet training – school districts are responsible for teaching this, too – is a skill that falls in this category.
- Communication refers to a child’s ability to successfully communicate his/her thoughts to other people, and his/her ability to understand what is being said to them. Can they follow multi-step directions? Can they clearly articulate the thoughts in their head to others they are understood? Speech has to do with articulation: How our tongue and our teeth and our jaw muscles work together to produce individual sounds. Language has to do with how we use words to communicate. If a child has a deficit in any of these areas, as the school district to do a comprehensive speech and/or language evaluation. Make sure they do an evaluation, not a screening.
- Social/Emotional Behavior addresses a child’s ability to make and keep friends. Do they know how to socialize with other kids? Do they understand humor or sarcasm? Do they say the appropriate things or do they think they’re funny when others do not? Some children suffer from anxiety relating to school and they may need counseling to help them get through the school day/week. For those children whose behavior negatively impacts them in school, maybe they have a hard time focusing or they have might have meltdowns during the day, the school district has behavior specialists and Board Certified Behavior Analysts that can intervene and create a support plan to help the student.
- Healthcare becomes important if a student need has medical needs that require the intervention of school staff or a nurse to administer medication, monitor medical needs, talk with a child’s medical team, or support medically fragile children who have a g-tube, ventilator or other medical device.
Pam Lindemann, The IEP Advocate, is a private educational advocacy organization. With our experienced IEP advocates on your side, you can rest assured you’ll be developing the best possible program for your child. Call: 407-342-9836 or email: Info@theIEPAdvocate.com
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