Special Education/medical condtion


I am confused as to how a school places a child for a medical condition. My son has epilepsy and is on medication but it is possible for him to have absence seizures that would affect him in class. I don't feel this should mean he is placed out of the regular class but support would help. I understand the problem can be better over time and I've considered skipping K but I am not sure what will happen. His birthday is 2 days after the cutoff so we have another year to consider this all. He'll probably be the oldest in his class.

Dear Sarah,  
Thanks so much for writing to me!

The first thing that needs to be determined is whether your child will qualify for either an IEP or a 504 PLan.  These are complex issues that I can't fully answer in this forum but I am going to try to do my best to give you some resources.  

A child with a medical condition that affects his learning can qualify for a section 504 Plan under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  It's a non discrimination act that says a child should receive needed accommodations and instruction for a mental or phsical condition that affects a major life funcion, like learning.  

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, a child with a medical condition could qualify for an Individualized Education Plan or IEP.  The IEP is needed for a child if he fits the defintion of Other Health Impairment, the name of one of the 14 disabilities under the law.  Here is the definition:

Either an IEP or a 504 Plan should list the child's needs based on evaluation and classroom information.  The placement and services are individually determined by the multidisciplinary team.  I would advise you to use this year before kindergarten to gather all the documents you can related to what your son needs and make a formal referral for special education through the school. You should make the referral as soon as possible because he may even qualify for preschool services.   In my book, Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book, I have a sample letter and go into detail about the whole process.


So just because he has seizures or epilepsy does not mean he should be removed from the classroom.  But sometimes that is what a child needs.  So evaluations need to be done to figure out what he needs and those evaluations can be done by the school, or you can pay for them privately.  In my book, I discuss evaluations in depth and help you understand the pros and cons of doing them privately.  

So the bottom line is that this is an individual decsion made by the team at school.  I am happy to answer a follow up question if you like!  Thank you so much again for using this service~I am sorry I was a bit delayed in my response, and I hope it helps you advocate for your child!

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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