Students with High IQs Cannot Be Denied Appropriate Testing and Specialized Services for Their Disabilities
by Caitlin McAndrews, Esq.
McAndrews Law Offices, P.C.
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) of the United States Department of Education has again reminded State Directors of Special Education that school systems may not use cut-off scores as the basis for determining the eligibility of a student who might be eligible for special education services. In 2013, OSEP explained to State Special Education Directors that a high IQ cannot be used as the basis to deny services to a child who is otherwise disabled, and that a single instrument cannot be the sole criteria for determining eligibility, but rather a variety of tools and strategies must be used in the evaluative process.
OSEP has found it again necessary to remind State Directors of Special Education of these fundamental principles. OSEP noted that it continues to receive complaints “from those who work with children with disabilities with high cognition, particularly those with emotional disturbance or mental illness, expressing concern that some local educational agencies (LEAs) are hesitant to conduct initial evaluations to determine eligibility for special education and related services for children with high cognition.” OSEP then went on to “remind each LEA of its obligation to evaluate all children, regardless of cognitive skills, suspected of having one of the 13 disabilities” of IDEA.
Consequently, if your child has been denied an evaluation or services based solely on high cognition (or any other single factor), you should consult with legal counsel to assess the opportunity to obtain compensatory education or other relief such as private school tuition for the child. McAndrews Law Offices provides free initial special education consultations, and handles most cases without any cost to families, and therefore eliminates most economic barriers of parents to obtaining essential special education legal services.