Report Writing Guidelines
QUESTIONS FOR EXPERTS TO ASK IN DRAFTING REPORTS
I. For Determination of Eligibility
A. What are the exceptional characteristics?
B. How are these manifested in behavior?
C. How do they adversely affect educational performance?
II. Category: Emotionally Disturbed Child
A. Has the child manifested an inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, health, cultural, or linguistic factors?
B. Has the child manifested an inability to develop or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers?
C. Has the child displayed inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances?
D. Does the child display a general pervasive mood of anxiety, unhappiness, or depression?
E. Has the child manifested a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associate with personal or school problems?
F. If any one of Nos. 1-5 are present:
1. Has the child displayed this behavior over an extended period of time?
2. Have these difficulties adversely affected educational performance?
3. Are [A] and [B] true even after supportive assistance has been offered?
4. What kind of supportive assistance has, in fact, been offered?
G. If the pupil is diagnosed as schizophrenic:
1. What are the specific behaviors which led to this diagnosis?
2. How do these behaviors fit into criteria 1-6 above?
III. Questions to Ask to Determine Liability Risk
A. Has the district even actually or constructively refused:
1. To provide a mandated service on parent request?
2. To properly consider an outside report?
3. To initiate due process procedures at parent request?
4. To give the parent a copy of any part of the school files (except personal notes), on written parent request?
5. To respond to a direct or indirect plea for assistance from the child?
6. To comply with any state or federal statute or regulation, to the detriment of the child?
7. During pending due process proceedings, to reasonably consider a written settlement offer from parents or their representatives?
B. Has the district ever failed:
1. To provide an IEP service?
2. To perform a CSE when the facts and circumstance warrant one, or on request of a party?
3. To draft goals and objectives prior to making actual placement recommendations?
4. To maximize opportunities for parental input, and document the same?
5. To consider and document opportunities for education in the Least Restrictive Environment?
6. To respond to behavior on the part of the child which might be construed in a court or hearing to be a plea for help?
7. To notify parents or guardians of district intent to perform evaluations, change a placement, terminate a placement, or otherwise significantly change the child’s program?
8. To respect the confidentiality of the child and family?
IV. Recommendations for Residential Placement
Possible considerations in reaching a recommendation which will be found acceptable by a court and/or the State Board can be distilled from the cases as follows:
A. The facility recommended is recognized as an educational residential placement by the state where it is located;
B. The school district must participate in development of the IEP;
C. The patient is “medically stable” to merit transfer, i.e., is not engaged in an overt psychiatric crisis, so that medication management does not take precedence over the recommended psycho-educational program.
D. The nature of actual services to be delivered is a “blend” of psychotherapy, the various related activities, and instruction rather than exclusively psychotherapy.
E. The services to be provided are capable of being delivered by non-physicians and are not exclusively in their domain;
F. The needs of the child are not “severable” into “educational” and “non-educational” components, but instead are intertwined in such a manner as to make severance of the child’s needs impossible.
All of the above appear to constitute positive factors for experts to highlight in formulating a recommendation for residential placement, which might be supported by local school districts and state boards of education. Utilizing such components, however, does not guarantee that school authorities will agree with the practitioner.