Psychological Services: FAQ

Below is a listing of actual questions posed by parents, educators and others regarding Special Education. The questions are grouped into five categories: Early Intervention, Identification, Evaluation, Eligibility, and Placement. If you don't find the answer to your question here, please contact us.

Early Intervention

These questions relate to students who may be struggling in school and who could benefit from some early interventions.

Q. Are there procedures to help my child within general education if my child is having difficulty?

A. Absolutely! Teachers are expected to try a variety of strategies and effective teaching practices within the classroom. All students have different learning styles, and classroom teachers should provide a wide variety of instruction.

Q. I am concerned about my child's performance in school. What can I do to help?

A. The first step is usually to have a conference with the student's teacher. Work with the teacher to develop a plan that will likely lead to success. If, after a time, it is apparent that the problem is continuing, ask for a second conference to include the counselor. At this conference, there may be a discussion of campus-based programs or activities that might benefit your child such as tutoring, mentoring, support groups, "at risk" services, multi-sensory reading instruction, etc. If some of these strategies are used and the problem persists, it may be time to consider a formal evaluation to rule out the presence of a disability.

Q. My husband and I recently were divorced. I am worried about my child. Who should I talk to?

A. Student concerns are best shared with the student's counselor.

Identification

Questions in this section relate to students who are struggling in school and there is a specific concern that may result in a referral for a formal evaluation.

Q. My child has a diagnosis from a physician (psychologist, psychiatrist). Doesn't that mean special education?

A. Not necessarily. The report from the physician needs to be supplemented with information from the child's campus to determine if there is a need for services. Many children have conditions that present challenges to their education, but those challenges don't always require Special Education programs. Reports from physicians or others should be brought to the attention of the school counselor so that they can receive consideration.

Q. I think my child has ADD, what should I do?

A. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is one of a variety of medical conditions that may be evident early in childhood. If left undiagnosed (and untreated) it can needlessly result in student frustration or even failure. As is the case with all medical conditions, a licensed physician needs to evaluate the child. This evaluation typically will include getting input from others such as parents and classroom teachers. The medical evaluation needs to "rule out" conditions that have symptoms similar to ADD. Not every child who is inattentive has an Attention Deficit Disorder.

Q. I have a report from an outside evaluation (physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.). Should I share the information with the school?

A. Generally, yes. But follow the recommendations of the person who prepared the report. If you choose to share the results of a medical or psychological evaluation with the school, share that information with your child's counselor.

Q. How long does it take to process the paperwork to enter a student into the Special Education program?

A. There are no legal guidelines for how long pre-referral strategies should be in place before a referral for formal evaluation is made. Once a parent has consented for their child to be evaluated, the Full Individual Evaluation (FIE) must be completed within 60 calendar days. An ARD meeting must be held within 30 calendar days of the date of the evaluation.

Q. My child is not talking (or seems to be behind when compared to other children the same age) and is almost three years old. Should I talk to the school?

A. Please call the student's home campus and discuss your concerns with the Speech Pathologist there. If you're not sure which campus to call, call the Child Find office at (210) 397-2461. For more information about Child Find, click here .

Q. If a student who has been dismissed from Special Education begins to have difficulties, can an ARD meeting be convened to re-admit them?

A. No. When a student is dismissed from Special Education it is because they no longer have a disability. If, at a later date, the student begins to struggle, the campus needs to go through the pre-referral process to determine if formal evaluation is needed.

Evaluation

These questions address how a student is evaluated and what the results mean.

Q. What do the numbers in the IQ evaluation mean?

A. The person who conducted the evaluation should review the results with you and answer any questions you may have. To read an article about IQ scores and intelligence testing, click here.

Eligibility

Questions in this section relate to how students qualify for Special Education.

Q. If a student who has been dismissed from Special Education begins to have difficulties, can an ARD meeting be convened to re-admit them?

A. No. When a student is dismissed from Special Education it is because they no longer have a disability. If, at a later date, the student begins to struggle, the campus needs to go through the pre-referral process to determine if formal evaluation is needed.

Placement

In this section, the questions relate to decisions that are made regarding students who have already qualified for Special Education services.

Q. My child is in special education. Will he/she go to summer school?

A. Summer school is available to every student who meets the eligibility criteria. An ARD meeting may need to be held late in the spring semester to make certain that the student's IEP can be implemented in Summer School.

Some students with very serious disabilities may need Extended School Year (ESY) services. This program is reserved for students with disabilities who might have significant regression in skills over the summer vacation if it were not provided.

Q. My child is approaching the age of majority. Will I lose my parental rights regarding his/her education?

A. Beginning in Middle School, and continuing until graduation, students are expected to become increasingly involved in making educational decisions. At the age of 18, the authority to make decisions shifts primarily to the student. Even so, it is the rare student who does not need guidance from the parent and other caring adults. Parents will continue to be included in decision making unless either they or the adult student specifically exclude them.

Q. Can my child be dismissed from special education if they are doing better? How does a student exit special ed?

A. Yes! Students are dismissed from Special Education by ARD committees once it is clear that they a) no longer have a disabling condition or 2) no longer need Special Education services. A Reevaluation Review must be part of the decision making process prior to dismissal.

Q. Will my special education child have to go to another classroom away from his/her current classmates?

A. ARD committees decide on a student's placement after they have developed the Individual Education Plan (IEP). A student will not be moved out of the general education setting unless it is required to meet the IEP goals.

Q. Can my special education child graduate with a regular diploma?

A. Schools issue diplomas to students who meet graduation requirements whether those are the requirements established by the State or by the ARD committee. All diplomas issued by NISD high schools are the same. Differences in students' programs are reflected on their permanent record.

Q. If a student is being successful without modifications, do teachers still have to modify classroom instruction?

A. Teachers must carefully read and follow the strategies listed in the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP). If any of the goals or strategies seems unnecessary, an ARD committee should consider revising them.