Last Thursday, October 6, 2011, we had the first of two meetings with the school since D’s complete psycho-educational evaluation began. This meeting was being held to determine D’s eligibility for special education services. We had been given a copy of the report and a basic idea of what areas of eligibility the team would discuss prior to the meeting.
D performs academically at grade level with a more significant area of weakness in writing. A significant area of strength in reading, but not reading comprehension. Intellectually, his ability levels were in the average range with processing scores being low average. His overall IQ was smack dab in the middle of the average range. I’m totally good with that. I did find it interesting that he scored academically at grade level when he has always worked above grade level for the most part and is doing very well in school despite missing more than half of the school year thus far.
The next area was functional and adaptive skills. While D can do most anything asked of him, he doesn’t always do so. In fact, many of the expected skills for his age cause him intense anxiety. They cause the anxiety due to sensory issues and his desire to be perfect. They also cause stress due to the fact that he might be able to carry out the complete task, but a step in that task may be difficult to complete or understand. Due to this, his functional adaptive score was significantly below that of his same age peers.
Among other screening/evaluation tools, he was scored for an educational eligibility of Autism. This is different than that of the medical diagnosis, no matter how many amazing doctors have diagnosed a child as being on the Autism Spectrum. He had to score with 4/5 areas causing a significant impact. He scored in 4 out of 5 areas, the one area being the screening tool used by another psychologist with his communication skills. Due to the fact that he would respond to their questions appropriately (in areas of interest to him), they determined that he was not on the spectrum.
*eyeroll* I guess this is where we are lucky(?) that he scored in the other four areas.
He was evaluated for an emotional disability which scored him with extremely high anxiety and mild/moderate depression. He was also identified as being eligible under OHI due to his ADHD and asthma.
As identified in the definition of emotional disability from IDEA, a child might be identified as having an emotional disability if “(A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.” Due to the anxiety and depression being manifestations of D’s autism, I refused to allow the school to rule him eligible under emotional disability.
We spent 2 hours 15 minutes standing our ground that our child is on the Autism Spectrum and that is the primary reason for his anxiety and depression. (The anxiety is caused by the sensory issues, desire to be perfect, the intense need for things to be the same all the time, etc. When those things don’t go as expected, then he becomes upset and depressed about his inability to have things the way that he perceives they should be.) Finally, when the school psychologist (who I believe is a great person), realized I would not change my mind, he agreed to disagree. At that point, D was identified eligible with Autism and OHI.
Since we ended up spending 2 hours 45 minutes in that meeting, we decided to write the IEP Tuesday, October 11, 2011.