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Expert Q&A

Can a school district stop special education services because a student’s IQ is of average range?

Dear Mr. Cohen,

Can a school district take a child off an IEP because his IQ is of average range? Per the school district he has been failing because he does not complete his homework. He has had the coding of LD for the most of his school life, but now with his medical coding of ADHD the district feels he does not have LD.

The district is now putting him on a 504, without his FBA. This student has failed for the past five years. What would you recommend?

Thank you,


Dear Kim:

School districts may only terminate special education services after a full evaluation and determination that the child no longer meets the criteria for special education. Their criteria require that the child have a disability that adversely affects school performance and which requires special education intervention.

Many children with disabilities have average or above average IQ’s. The presence of an average or above average IQ by itself is not a disqualifying characteristic for eligibility for special education. In fact, the law specifically provides that a child is not excluded from special education just because he or she is receiving passing grades.

It appears that the school district is unaware that a child can be eligible for special education under the category Other Health Impaired if the child has been determined to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder which is adversely affecting the child’s performance. ADHD should not be a basis for eligibility due to a learning disability, but is a basis for eligibility under the OHI category.

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