Q – I often hear from schoolteachers that my child is disruptive, inattentive and gets into altercations with other students. Does this mean my child has behavioral issues and need special education?
A – Not all children with behavioral issues have a learning disability. Some children act out more than other students, and some kids are more timid than others. It all depends on the individual's personality and age. However, if your child is constantly getting in trouble because they're having trouble sitting still, doing classwork/homework, or are inattentive and/or disruptive, it may be because s/he has a learning disability.
The "Child Find" mandate requires school districts to identify, locate and evaluate all children with suspected disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities. This means that if your child has behavioral issues at school, the school has an obligation to evaluate your child. But the truth in reality is the schools tend to look the other way. Hence, as a parent, if your child is constantly getting into trouble, you should request to the school, in writing, to have your child evaluated.
This is especially true if your child has already been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Autism Syndrome or some other disability that affects your child's learning abilities. If a child with any of the mentioned disability is constantly getting into trouble and there is no behavioral intervention in place for him/her, the school may be in violation of the "Child Find" mandate.
It is difficult to determine whether behavior is an issue for much younger children as opposes to older children. Hence, parents should be cautious of their child's behavior issues and if they suspect it is more than just "children being children" type of case, request the child to be evaluated. As a special education attorney, I can help you in the process. Together, we can build a brighter tomorrow for our children.
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