Subject: Special Education Legal Issue: Eligibility Determination
To Those Interested In Such Matters,
As I have been a member of ths forum for several years, I have read many misperceptions of what constitutes an eligibility determination in matters related to special education. In this regard, please note the following:
To be determined eligible as a student with a disability under the IDEA, a student must meet all of the following criteria: 1) have one of the listed IDEA disabilities; 2) have an adverse educational effect resulting from the disability and 3) require special education services.
A student who is identified with a disability and has educational difficulties will not qualify under this definition unless the disability causes the educational difficulties. Also, the student will not qualify unless there is a need for special education services.
A reasonable question should be asked as to ask how the student's program would change if found eligible. If nothing would change and the student is being adequately served in a general education program, then there is a strong suggestion that the student does not qualify because there is no need for special education services. However, the eligibility committee should not stop their analysis at the first of the three prongs and should continue to address all three criteria for eligibility determination.