Identifying Children with Disabilities

Under the IDEA, school districts are required to identify children with educational disabilities.

First, schools are required to identify and evaluate children with disabilities as soon as possible and provide them the educational support they need to achieve. This responsibility is called “child-find.” This means that every district has an affirmative obligation to locate and identify every child with a disability in the District.

Whenever a district has a reason to suspect a child has a disability, the District should refer the child to the IEP Team and request the parents to consent to a comprehensive evaluation. That evaluation should ascertain the child’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs and assist the IEP Team (of which the parent is a member) to determine whether the child has an educational disability.

Categories of disability identified by IDEA are:

  • Autism
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Deafness
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Hearing impaired
  • Mental retardation
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impaired
  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment/Blindness
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Second, once the disability is identified, all the people involved with the care and education of that child work to design an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).