When a child’s emotional needs get in the way of his or her education, a request can be made for an assessment to see if the needs are severe enough for Special Education or a 504 plan. Put this request in writing. If your child is already in Special Education, the assessment would find out if counseling should be added to the IEP as a related service.

Because Special Education counseling is to help students with their emotions so they can benefit from their education, when writing a request for an evaluation, use school examples. Areas might be grades and meeting grade level standards. School attendance, behavior, or discipline are other areas.

Examples that a child might have emotional needs that may merit a school evaluation:

  • Avoids school — is often absent or tardy, calls to come home, leaves school or classes
  • Has grades below C
  • Complains of physical symptoms regularly on school days
  • Has poor concentration as reported by teachers
  • Not able to get homework done
  • Feels school life is too hard to handle
  • Tells school staff about having racing thoughts, extreme anxiety, or depression
  • Thinks about harming someone at school or harming self; or actually harms self or others
  • Loses interest in peers at school
  • Breaks school rules — this includes using or having illegal substances at school or school events
  • Shows flawed thinking during school and learning

While you may worry about other traits outside school, until those affect your child at school, the school may not have reason to evaluate.

What might an evaluation include? School evaluations for emotional problems should involve observing the student, interviewing those who know the student, and using questionnaires for parents, teachers, and the student. Sometimes tests are given to the student to evaluate how he or she views situations. Your written consent is needed for an evaluation to start. Ask questions about what will be in assessment.

KEY: Some special needs such as autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, language disabilities, and intellectual disabilities can result in behaviors that look similar to or are mixed together with emotional issues. If your student is not yet eligible for Special Education, make sure your written request for an evaluation reminds the district of its responsibility to evaluate in all areas of suspected disability.

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This article is from www.matrixparents.org