LEAs are required to develop and implement procedures to ensure that all children within
their jurisdiction birth through 21 regardless of the severity of their disability, and who
need special education and related services are located, identified, and evaluated.
Yes, you may also use this funding source for professional development for teachers and
other school staff to enable such personnel to deliver services.
Letters from a doctor are valuable information but the doctor does not determine eligibility
for special education services. Public agencies must conduct the required evaluations in
the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC) and the child must meet the criteria in the AAC
to be eligible for special education services. Doctors make medical diagnosis. A medical
diagnosis alone does not automatically constitute eligibility for special education services.
No, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team may choose whether to evaluate or
not based on the information included in the referral.
Yes. Special Education Services (SES) encourages implementation of intervention
strategies in the general education program during the evaluation process when a parent
requests an evaluation
Yes. The guidance from SES since 2001 has been that the two processes occur
Yes, the IEP Team or Eligibility Committee may use the observation that was conducted
prior to the referral if the observation was conducted during routine classroom instruction
and monitoring of the child’s performance, and if the IEP Team or Eligibility Committee
(which ever determines eligibility) decides to use that one as the required observation.
Yes, if the observation meets the specific criteria in the AAC for the suspected area(s) of
Yes. It is a required evaluation as of July 19, 2007.
The public agency has 60 calendar days from the date the public agency receives a parent’s
signed consent to conduct and complete an initial evaluation.
No. The aforementioned circumstances are not justification for failing to meet the 60-day timeline.
The vision or hearing problem must be corrected prior to proceeding with evaluations that
rely on visual or auditory acuity.
Yes. The public agency may also call upon nonprofit organizations that may help a student
in need of eyewear.
The public agency, if the parent does not agree to assist.
Only vision and hearing screening results may be used for eligibility purposes. Other
screenings may be reported as information on the eligibility report, but are not considered
an evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services. Bottom line: a
screening test cannot take the place of a required evaluation.
If the student is in Grades K-12, an observation in a structured (academic) environment and
an observation in an unstructured (nonacademic) environment are required. If the student
is a preschooler, an observation in a natural setting is required.
Authors of behavior rating scales often use different terminology to report their findings.
Therefore, the terms Total and Composite in the AAC can best be understood in general
terms. Total means the overall score of all items on a rating scale. Some authors use
various terms to indicate the overall score (e.g., Index, Quotient or sometimes Composite).
A composite score generally refers to two or more subtest or subscale scores. However, on
some rating scales what is termed a subscale may actually be considered a composite on
another scale if it is independent or a stand-alone scale. On other rating scales a cluster of
subscales may constitute a composite in the loose sense of the word. In all cases, consult
the author’s manual to determine the appropriate use of the Total, Composite and/or
Subscale scores. Be prepared to justify the scores used to make the decision on the
eligibility report and/or in a Due Process Hearing (DPH).
No. MD means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness or mental
retardation-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe
educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely
for one of the impairments. MD does not include deaf-blindness.
No, the list is not all inclusive. The Federal Regulations added Tourette’s Syndrome to the
list of conditions under OHI, therefore, it is included in the AAC.
No, but at least one must be conducted or collected and documented on the eligibility
No, not unless the IEP Team determines one is needed. If the IEP Team determines that a
medical evaluation is necessary, the public agency must pay for the evaluation.
No. A separate Adaptive Behavior Rating Scale must be used.
If there is no documentation of appropriate instruction in reading and math, the
documentation must be collected during the evaluation process (a minimum of 8 weeks).
The requirement is not waived for home-schooled students.
An eligibility determination for a child suspected of having SLD, must be made by the
student's parent and a group of qualified professionals (Eligibility Committee) or an IEP
Team, that must include the student's regular teacher; or if the student does not have a
regular teacher, a regular classroom teacher qualified to teach a student of his or her age; or
for a child of less than school age, an individual qualified by the State Education Agency
(SEA) to teach a child of his or her age; and at least one person qualified to conduct
individual diagnostic examinations of children, such as a school psychologist, speechlanguage
pathologist, or remedial reading teacher.
In the commentary to the Federal Regulations, OSEP went on to say, "We believe this
allows decisions about the specific qualifications of the members to be made at the local
level, so that the composition of the group may vary depending on the nature of the child's
suspected disability, the expertise of local staff, and other relevant factors. For example,
for a child suspected of having a SLD in the area of reading, it might be appropriate for the
group to include a reading specialist as part of the eligibility group. However, for a child
suspected of having a SLD in the area of listening comprehension, it might be appropriate
for the group to include a speech-language pathologist with expertise in auditory
processing disorders. The federal regulations regarding the additional team members for
suspected SLD,” provides flexibility for schools and districts, and ensures that the group
includes individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to interpret the evaluation
data and make an informed determination as to whether the child is a child with an SLD,
and the educational needs of the child.” The LEA is responsible for deciding and ensuring
that the required composition is used when making the decision.
A better way for us to have stated the requirements might have been "A summary of each
required evaluation must be included on the eligibility report." The intent is to have a brief
summary of each required item to show adverse affect on educational performance.
GFTA-2 - 40 errors, characterized by initial substitutions and final
Stimulability - Stimulable for all error sounds in isolation not
stimulable at the word or sentence level
Intelligibility - Conversational speech is reduced to approximately 50%
intelligibility level due to the frequency and consistency
of the error patterns
Oral structure examination - Tremors noted during tongue protrusion; other structures
Teacher/Caregiver checklist - Classroom teacher indicated that speech is more difficult
to understand than peers; child does not like to read
aloud in class
If an IQ test is a required evaluation you may have to ask for mediation and/or a due
process hearing (DPH) to override the parent’s refusal.
If an IQ test is not a required evaluation, the IEP Team may determine that an IQ test is not
really necessary in order to determine eligibility.
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that the lack of appropriate
instruction in math and/or reading, including the essential components of reading
instruction or limited English proficiency cannot be the determining factor in the eligibility
decision. We added the statement to remind the IEP Team or Eligibility Committee to
include data on the eligibility report that documents the information used to rule out the
lack of appropriate instruction. That information is now documented as Prong 1 and Prong
2 to meet the special rule required in the AAC.
No. SES does not require the completion of a referral form; however, a public agency may
choose to require that it be completed. If the IEP Team decides that additional data are
needed, parental consent is obtained and additional data are gathered. The public agency
completes the Notice and Consent for Initial Evaluation in SETSWeb by checking “to
determine eligibility under AAC for out-of-state transfer” as the reason for the evaluation.