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SLD vs OHI in Ohio


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I need help and guidance. My child has a severe reading comprehension disability as well anxiety. The school psychologist of our virtual school is strongly advising that our family considers going down the OHI path instead of the SLD one again after IEP reevaluations. There is time to decide, but I believe I will ruin my child’s life with the wrong decision. The advice I have already received is: leave it how it is vs. an OHI will guarantee my child will get all intervention they require to make them successful. 

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A child should always get all intervention they require to make them successful regardless of the eligibility category.  If the primary disability is SLD, they should still receive goals, services, and/or accommodations for anxiety if the evaluations show they are needed to access the general education curriculum.  If the primary disability is OHI, they should still receive goals, services, and/or accommodations for SLD if the evaluations show they are needed to access the general education curriculum.  Your child's life should not be ruined either way because they school district is required to provide needed interventions in all areas of need.

Having said that, I feel the primary disability is important, because that tends to be how the teachers view the child.  Do you want the teachers to think your child's anxiety is the bigger problem or the reading comprehension.  Also, what do you as a parent feel is affecting your child the most - the anxiety or the reading comprehension?   But it will also depend on what the evaluations say, and it sounds like the school district may argue that the data points to OHI -but make them PROVE that if you disagree.

I'm also very suspect when school districts want to avoid the SLD classification.  They may feel that this holds them to a higher standard, such as providing evidence-based multisensory structured instruction, even though my thought is this is required even if SLD is a secondary category.  There also might be state laws that kick in regarding SLD's that they're trying to avoid.

Go with your gut - you know you child the best.  But also be prepared to back up your decision by referencing data in the evaluations and (if you think it will be helpful) asking the general education teacher what s/he feels is your child's bigger obstacle.

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Did the school psychologist provide a reason on why they want this category?

I'm in PA & what I've found is they have regs on teacher caseloads.  Autistic support has a small caseload, learning support allows for a bigger caseload.  Sometimes the school will push for a category so they have an easier time meeting caseload requirements.  I looked up PA regs and they list 9 categories & their caseloads.  OHI isn't listed.

I know the category is important.  The thing is, IEPs are based on what's in the eval report.  If there is a need for reading help per the eval and the SLD box isn't checked, the school still has to set goals & remediate the reading issue.  The wrong box being checked shouldn't have much effect on your child.  So long as the IEP eval is both complete & accurate, all your child's needs should be met by the special instruction & services in the IEP.

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