Passing grades do not disqualify a child for special education services

I received the newest WrightsLaw Newsletter – and wanted to share the below article since I hear so many parents fighting with schools about wether their child qualifies for services or not.    Too often schools think that unless a child with hearing loss is failing and doing really poorly – they don’t qualify for services.  This is NOT the law.   Read on…  


young boy at computerDoes Your Child Meet the Legal Definition of “Child with a Disability”

The special ed law and regulations do not mention grades as a criteria for referring a child for a special education evaluation or finding a child eligible for special education services.

A child with a disability is not automatically eligible for special education and related services under IDEA. The key phrase is “who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.”

Does your child’s disability adversely affect educational performance?

To be eligible for a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA, the child must have a disability and must need special education and related services.

My son has ADD. Our doctor told us to request special education services from the school. When we asked for special education help, the school said he is passing so he is not eligible for special ed.”

 Think about it. If schools made these decisions based on a child’s grades, they could avoid providing services simply by giving all students passing grades!

What can a parent do? Find answers to this parent’s questions and more information about eligibility for special education in the article “Is a Child with ADD/ADHD Eligible for Special Education?”

What Options Do You Have?

If the child has a disability but does not need special education services, the child may be entitled to protections under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.


I have other links related to this topic on my “What is a 504 Plan” page…



3 Responses

  1. As I start to do research for my 4 almost 5 yr old mild to moderate hearing impaired daughter. I come across your lovely blog. Wow an eye opener. She was diagnosed as an infant. And is getting ready for Kindergarten. They are telling me she has ADHD and behavioral issues and that she is scoring great academicaly and will not need any special ed next year. I disagree, she has issues in school because she is surrounded by 12 other loud children. And she has a teacher who is uneducated with H.L. Yes she has some issues with behavior. But none that my friends kids dont have, and they can hear. Im so mad at the school system. They are trying to save money. Well i understand that the state of New Jersey is broke but thats not my problem. And its not Kyleighs either. I dont want to see this bright star fade because she is not recieving what she needs. Thank you for the confidence and the education that I needed.
    Christy Sloat
    Franklinville, NJ

  2. Hello Christy – I’m so sorry for the long delay in my reply. How are you doing? I’m glad you found this site, and I hope some of the resources listed will be helpful.

    It seems this is an all to common problem, where childern with hearing loss are misdiagnosed as being ADD or having “behavioral” issues…. and apparently, this is nothing new for those who do have a hearing loss. However, and unfortunately, it’s just not somehing schools and teachers are familiar with, though, because in most cases they really don’t have any experience with mild/moderate hearing loss itself.

    I have a few posts and articles that deal with this on this “resources” list to the left on this site… like:

    -ADD vs. Mild Hearing Loss Comparison Chart
    – ADHD/ADD Or Hearing Loss?
    -MILD? NO MATTER! In Class, Hard of Hearing Students Face Misunderstanding.

    I hope this helps… and please let me know how you are doing.


  3. Thanks debcny,
    You post a mostly asked question by the parents, answer about the legal definition of “Child with a Disability”.
    This is very informative and helpful.
    Again Thanks,

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