We have had some questions about initial SLD evaluations for students who are already in Special Education. Here are guidelines from the DPI Technical Assistance Guide:
A student who has been identified with a Cognitive Disability (CD) cannot also be identified with a Specific Learning Disability. Students with cognitive disabilities exhibit significant delays in measured intelligence, adaptive functioning, and academic functioning. A student’s level of adaptive functioning is a central consideration when determining the impairment of cognitive
SLD may co-exist with sensory and motor impairments (hearing, vision, orthopedic), Other Health Impairment (OHI) and Emotional Behavioral Disability (EBD). However, for a student to be found eligible as having SLD, other impairments such as these may not be the primary reason for the finding of inadequate classroom achievement or insufficient progress.
Speech and Language and SLD
In order for a student to meet SLD eligibility criteria because of inadequate classroom achievement and insufficient progress in oral expression or listening comprehension, the difficulty must be demonstrated in academic functioning and result in the student not making sufficient progress. When oral expression and/or listening comprehension are being considered as part of an SLD evaluation, the SLD rule does not require that a speech/language pathologist be a member of the IEP team. However, it is strongly recommended that a speech/language pathologist be included on the IEP team whenever language related concerns are being evaluated. A speech and language pathologist must be a member of the IEP team if speech and language impairment is also being considered as part of the evaluation.
IEP teams must consider all suspected areas of disability, and may find that a student has both speech and language impairment and Specific Learning Disability. To be identified with both impairments, the student must meet all eligibility criteria for each area of impairment and have a need for special education services in each area
IEP Team Evaluation
When a student is referred for an initial evaluation or when a student who has been receiving special education is reevaluated, specific steps must be followed regardless of the suspected impairment. The term “initial SLD evaluation” refers to the first time an IEP team considers SLD, even if this consideration is part of a special education reevaluation for a student previously identified with another impairment, or if the student was evaluated previously for SLD and was not found eligible. The term “reevaluation” assumes the student was previously identified by an IEP team as a student with the impairment of SLD and a need for special education. Consideration of the SLD criteria begins when an initial referral is made and continues as the IEP team answers the evaluation questions.
IEP teams will still need to do weekly progress monitoring, two evidence based interventions, additional substantial number of instructional minutes, observations (classroom and during intensive intervention), classroom achievement assessment, and data analyzing as an initial SLD evaluation process even if student is currently in special education under another impairment.
Please contact me for more information. We can also discuss more at upcoming building special education meetings.