On October 14, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Brown Deer School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2000-2001 school year, assessed a child who had been referred for a special education evaluation in all areas related to the suspected disability.
On January 5, 2001, the district received a referral for a special education evaluation from the parents of a student living in the Brown Deer School District. The parent met with the director of student services for the district on that same day. The parent indicated that she and her child's teachers were concerned about speech and language issues and the possibility of a learning disability.
During the course of the evaluation the district became concerned about the child's problem with attending and those concerns were discussed with the child's parents. District staff informed the parents that the district would look at a possible disability under Other Health Impairment (OHI) if the parents obtained an outside diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The parents obtained an outside evaluation in response.
An IEP team must assess a child in all areas of suspected disability. Once the district suspected the child may be OHI due to ADHD, the district had an obligation to assess the student in that area. State and Federal law does not require a medical evaluation for the purposes of determining whether a child has ADHD. If, however, a public agency believes that a medical evaluation is needed as part of the evaluation to determine whether a child suspected of having ADHD meets eligibility criteria for OHI, the district must ensure that such an evaluation is conducted at no cost to the parents. The district is required to take steps to ensure that the parents in this case assume no future financial obligation for the outside evaluation conducted for their child.
The district staff who were involved in this case are no longer with the district. The current special education director for the district assures the department that it is not the policy of the district to require parents to obtain a medical evaluation in order for the district to consider whether a child is OHI due to ADHD. The director will share this information with all relevant staff.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
//signed CST 12/13/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy