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Expert Q&A

My child struggles academically, but the school tells me he does not qualify for special education services. Why not?

Many schools use a discrepancy formula to determine whether a student is eligible for special education for a learning disability. Often, there needs to be a specific number of points between aptitude and achievement. It may be that your child’s discrepancy is not yet great enough for him to qualify for services.

The discrepancy system is a hotly debated topic, both within schools and within federal legislation. We are now seeing a trend toward the Response to Intervention system, which addresses a student’s needs as they arise, rather than waiting for him to fall significantly behind.

If your school is still using the discrepancy formula, there may still be services available, such as a tutoring program or a reading specialist who could do small group or individual work with your child.

The following articles have information about the process of determining whether a student is eligible for special education services:

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