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My daughter, who is now eight, was born at 24 weeks gestation. As a result, she suffered from lack of oxygen and developed a grade 2 bleed. She does not need a shunt and functions fairly well, ambulatory, good verbal skills and such. She does have mild to moderate CP. The best diagnosis we have been given is global brain damage, which means the damage affects every part of her life.

She is in third grade at her neighborhood school. I believe she has been socially promoted). She was in a self-contained school for three years. Her label on her IEP is LD. Since Emily does have brain damage, should she or any child with this type of damage be considered LD?

I have a son who is LD in reading and writing. And they seem different. He learns differently. She, on the other hand, seems slower. There just seems to be missing pieces. She is roughly two years behind in reading and three years behind in math.

Would a change in labeling help with the way she is being served on her IEP? I don’t think they take in mind that she does have this damage. The traditional special education instruction for LD may not be what she needs to progress. I am just finding it hard to believe that brain damage and LD are the same.

Thank you in advance,

There is a category within IDEA for Traumatic Brain Injury; however, students with your daughter’s history are usually identified based on how the prenatal trauma impacts on their ability to learn. In general, children with her history have a more global pattern of disabilities than the child usually seen as having a learning disability.

The key to your question is that your daughter is not making progress in her current placement and with her current services. What is critical is that the most current psychological and educational evaluations be used to assess her placement, types of interventions, and intensity of interventions. She was in a self-contained program for preschool. You feel that the program she has been in since Kindergarten has not been adequate.

I would advise you to see a private special education consultant who could review your daughter’s current educational disabilities and status, review her current placement, and help you decide if you should appeal her IEP placement, asking for a more intensive program.

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