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Can an IEP List More than One Disability?


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I was told that only one disability can be documented in the IEP. My son has an IEP for ADHD. He also has a sleep disorder. After our high school started block scheduling this year, my son missed so many of his first two classes that he fell far behind. He had to go to part time status.

The school refused to provide any support for him saying it wasn’t in his IEP.

I wanted to add it to the IEP. I provided the school with all the doctors information and notes documenting the condition. I was told that only one disability can be documented in the IEP.

Answerof course. The IEP is required to meet all the child’s needs. Many children with special needs have more than one disability. The IEP should document all the child’s disabilities.

Can a child be blind and in a wheelchair?

Can a child have a specific learning disability, a severe visual impairment, an orthopedic impairment – and ADHD?

The IEP is an individualized program based on your child’s unique needs. The special ed statute (IDEA) and regulations do not say that a child’s IEP can be limited to only one disability or need.

The law is clear — a child does not need to have a “label” to be eligible for an IEP and special education services. 

Before getting into a battle with the school, you need to a better understanding of the law, your child’s rights and your rights. You represent your child’s interests. You need to know what the law says and how to find answers to your questions in the IDEA statute and regulations.

School personnel’s knowledge about the law and rights under special education laws is often based on what they were told in a training program or by “word of mouth.” Like parents, very few educators question what they are told. Very few school staff have read the law.

If you don’t have a copy of IDEA 2004 and the regulations, get one now!

You can download most of these documents from the Wrightslaw site. Click here for an overview of the IDEA statute.

You’ll find answers to your questions in the law – IDEA, in the federal and state special education regulations, and the Commentary to the Special Education Regulations. In the Commentary, the Education Department explains why they decided to change or not change a regulation. The Commentary often clarifies the “plain meaning” of a term



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