No Denial of SpEd Services or Accommodations Due to Good Grades

Hello, Parents!

For the entire existence of special education law, some school districts have sought to deny special education to students whose grades averaged C’s or above.  This left learning disabled students who struggle still struggling, sometimes against impossible odds.  This practice drove students out of school, out of classrooms, and into depression.  It still does if parents don’t know what the law actually contains.

During the last round of amendments to IDEA, the Statement of Managers was read to Congress.  It said, “ . . . it is critical to reject the assumption that an individual who has performed well academically cannot be substantially limited in activities such as learning, reading writing, thinking or speaking.” Well, finally They killed the bush we’ve been beating around for 40 years!

Students who are gifted can be learning disabled and require accommodations and special education services to learn.  One of my former clients is now studying for her Master’s degree.  However, in high school, her school district sought to deny her the diploma because the State of Florida failed to understand her need for accommodations in order to pass the FCAT.  She was in a gifted curriculum….and she was not the only student in this position.

Many students have been denied special education services because as school administrators said, “Grades like these don’t indicate any need for help.”  But when the student’s struggle to learn eliminates every other aspect of a normal life, there is no balance that permits proper maturation in other areas of living…and under IDEA it is the disability, not the grades, that is the true indicator of need.

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