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A year ago my son qualified for services for emotional disturbance (pervasive mood of depression at school) and ADHD. He also qualifies for speech and OT services. He is currently in third grade.  

He is behind in his writing and spelling skills, but previous evaluations did not indicate that he has a writing disability. 

His current goals focus on Social Skills, Speech and OT. He does not have academic goals.

His IEP is coming up. Can I request an academic goal around writing (developing ideas within writing; applying correct grammar, capitalization and punctuation; applying grade-level spelling patterns in written work)? I believe that his ADHD and emotional disturbance have contributed to his problems with writing.

If I can request this type of academic goal, what is the best way to make the case for it?

Thank you!

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You can request this.  The previous evaluations will hurt your case, but you can try to get additional information that will help it:

1)  Ask his teacher what he/she thinks about his writing compared to his peers.  (Sometimes teachers are reluctant to answer this in a straightforward way, if they suspect you're trying to get spec ed services.)  Also, ask for writing samples - first drafts, not ones the teacher helped edit later.

2)  If it's been a year since the last school evaluation, you can ask for another one in the area of writing.  And remember, the school doesn't have to find a writing disability - only that he needs special services in this area because he is falling behind.  Because you are correct.  It might not be a writing disability; it could very well be a result of his other disabilities. 

3)  If you disagree with the school's evaluation or if they insist on a correlation between his ADHD and ED, ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation.   A good, neutral evaluator should be able to determine if writing services are needed and tie the need to what is causing it.  Then you have your case!

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