DOE Must Screen for Disabilities but Does Not Provide a Medical Diagnosis-The Special Education Advocate

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    “Laura Brown Image”

    ”’Dear Advocate:”’


    My daughter is in high school and has a very hard time doing simple math. I asked her IEP team for an evaluation for dyscalculia. They said they don’t do that kind of test. Where do I go to have her tested?

    ”’–Stuck in Maui”’

    ”’Dear Stuck:”’

    High School? IDEA ’97 clearly states “early identification and assessment of disabilities in children means the implementation of a formal plan for identifying a disability as early as possible in a child’s life.”

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) just gave parents a menu of available screening tests when a disability is first suspected? (Remember, the purpose of DOE assessments is not to provide a medical diagnosis, but to screen for disabilities and develop an individualized education program.)

    At minimum, both the Stanford Diagnostic Test and the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) are available and routinely used in Hawaii public schools. At least one member of an IEP team must be knowledgeable about available resources within the DOE; otherwise, the school risks procedural non-compliance under federal and state law. In other words, the “I don’t know” answer isn’t acceptable.

    However, if you are being stonewalled, you can write a letter to the principal documenting the fact that you have requested testing for a math disability and what you were told. Ask the principal for a response within 5 business days. Tell the administrator that if the school does not provide testing, you will be seeking an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense. Then, the school will either have to agree to the IEE or call for an impartial third party hearing (due process) to show why they should not have to allow for testing.

    Meanwhile, ask for a list of recommended tests from a neurologist, neuropsychologist or developmental pediatrician. Here are some of the tests listed on —

    Kalkulia II, III, The Rey-Osterrieth’ Complex Figure Test, The Number Triangle Test, Key Math Diagnostic Test, Stanford Diagnostic Test, Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT)

    The IEP team must determine how your child’s disability affects her involvement and progress in the general curriculum. Stick to your guns and find out exactly why your daughter isn’t able to do math and what it will take to help her to function in this area.

    ”’The Special Education Advocate is a collaboration of parents, advocates, doctors and attorneys, who help answer through education reporter and researcher Laura Brown, the daily questions parents and providers have about the ever-changing rules and regulations of state agencies and suggestions on how to advocate for any special needs child. The goal of the Advocate is not to be adversarial, rather for better outcomes for children through parent education and assistance. We welcome all of your concerns as you join our online support group. Send questions to:”’