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Medical Dx VS Educational Eligibility - It's a big deal

Video Highlights:

2:00 Minute Mark


It's important for you to know that a school does not diagnose a child with a disability. A school only has eligibility criteria when it comes to special education. Eligibility criteria, it's set by the federal law IDEA.

Remember, I'm not a lawyer, but I can teach you where to look in the law.

There are different buckets for eligibility. During an eligibility meeting for special the team goes over data that has been collected,  testing that has been done or information that has been taken in.

Next, they go through checklists and they say... everything seems to fit into this bucket.

Finally, a child gets an educational eligibility to receive special education services.

Now let's go back over here to medical diagnosis. Okay, so medical diagnosis is when you meet a set of criteria and the doctor  has a recommendation that says...  based on this label, your child should have this therapy or take this medicine or do this regimen or whatever that is, right?

3:20 Minute Mark


In Special Education, you don't necessarily get services based on the bucket of eligibility. And that's a really good thing. That means that you don't have to fit into one clear area. It just means in the educational world that you have to qualify under some eligibility criteria to get the services that you need. And that is not limited by that eligibility category.

Now, over here in the medical world, a lot of times, especially when it comes to insurance, it says you have to have this label in order to have something covered under the insurance, right?

You are limited in the medical world to your labels. You are not limited in the education system by labels. 

4:20 Minute Mark


A child can qualify in just about any category in special education and you still have access to that buffet of services that are available in the district or in your state to receive the supports to provide a free, appropriate public education to meet a child's unique needs, and to prepare them for further education, employment, independent living. 

5:18 Minute Mark
In the medical world, we're treating it from a clinical perspective versus an educational perspective 


6:33 Minute Mark

Conflict between a medical dx and educational eligibility happens. This happens very often in the category of Autism and the category of ADHD. A lot of times there's a clinical diagnosis that allows a medical practitioner to say, yes, the child has Autism and/or ADHD, but over in the educational side of things, the child is not presenting the educational needs in those categories of autism or ADHD. 

7:26 Minute Mark

So a couple of things to do. Number one, if you feel like your child's needs are not getting met and you're focused on the educational eligibility, don't do that. A category makes a child eligible and then their specific unique needs is what drives their services. If your child is eligible for special education, we're going to focus specifically on their unique needs all the time regardless of if we agree on a label or not. 

The next thing to acknowledge is that there is a huge difference between the goals of a clinical kind of treatment plan versus an educational plan. Sometimes the child does not qualify for an educational plan even though they might have a medical treatment plan because again, it's two separate worlds.

8:30 Minute Mark


Sometimes, for a child there's not full on special education supports or goals needed, but there is something medically that's going on and a lot of times that falls into a bridge that's called a 504. 

Speaker 1: (09:22)
Okay. So this could be social emotional concerns. This could be focused concerns, this can be executive functioning concerns. It can be all these different concerns, okay. That are diagnosed in the medical world, but you don't quite fall into that educational eligibility category, any of them. Then we have this Bible for, that helps provide access to a child's education at the same level of their peers in those same programs. So that can be things like extended time on tasks, a separate set of books at home, um, access to a social worker, access to a nurse, um, maybe a, a different level of supervision on, um, field trips because of medical needs. It can be all different things. So a lot of people who have kiddos who have medical diagnosis, like allergies, okay, we'll have a five Oh four because they don't need an IEP or you have a diagnosis of ADHD and the child's not behind in school.

11:07 Minute Mark
Need more help? The Special Education Inner Circle is for parents, teachers, admins, therapists, and principals. It's for everybody who is working on these tough topics of special education to ensure that every child is getting the education that they need. 

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