Identification and Assessment of Student with Disabilities
According to R. Daniel (1996) Identification of students for special education
serves multiple uses. Students with disabilities or suspected disabilities are evaluated
by schools to determine whether they are eligible for special education services and, if
eligible, to determine what services will be provided. Most disabilities with a clear
medical basis are recognized by the child’s physician or parents soon after birth or
during the preschool years.
PURPOSES: There two main function of identification and assessment of students with
disabilities are to know whether they are appropriate for special education services and
to decide what those services it will be.
A special education service needs two findings:
1. The student must meet at least one criterion out of the thirteen disabilities
distinguished in the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
2. Special education services should be required for the student to obtain an
It is true that a number of students are appropriate for special education services but
they do not need it, while other students need the services but are not eligible according
Current Practices: For some reasons, students are classified by their main disability;
despite the fact that it is not extraordinary for a student to have disabilities in more than
Thirteen disabilities are briefly defined in the federal IDEA regulations: Autism,
deaf-blindness, deafness, hearing impairment, mental retardation, multiple disabilities,
orthopedic impairment, serious emotional disturbance, learning disability, speech or
language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment.
Medical and Social Models
The special education classification system engages a combination of medical
and social system models of deviance. The least unclear disabilities are the obviously
medical disabilities, often identified by the child’s physician quickly after birth or
throughout schooling years. Also, there is a study connecting biological factors to mild
disabilities such as learning disability, and in particular reading disabilities.
Distribution and Severity of Disabilities: It is important to remember that (1)
prevalence of disabilities differ by age and category, (2) the high-incidence disabilities
such as learning disability and speech or language impairment occur primarily at mild
level, and (3) even “mild” disabilities may constitute formidable barriers to attaining adult
goals such as high-status career.
Diagnosis, Classification, and Treatment: Classification for learning disability
typically involves teacher or parent referral because of concerns on attainment lagging
behind the child’s obvious intelligence or measured IQ. The assessment naturally
consists of observation in the regular classroom, analysis of the child’s educational
history including past test scores, assessment with standardized tests of achievement
and intellectual functioning, and eradicates other potential causes of the learning
The degree to which lifelong, permanent negative effects of labeling occur is disputed.
Concerns about the effects of classification on individuals have led to calls for removal
of the common classification categories.
Relation of Classification to Treatment
The information needed to find out whether or not a student is appropriate to be
classified as learning disabled, mildly intellectual disability, or seriously emotional
disturbed usually DOES NOT relate closely to treatment decisions regarding individual
goals, objectives, observing of interventions, or evaluating product.
Positive Features of the Current Classification System: The modern categorical
scheme has served as:
a rallying point for advocacy groups seeking support for programs,
structure for passage of legislation, and
basis for allocation of monies to establish educational services for students with
Alternatives to the Current System: In general objective of the special education
disability classification system should be used to improve the value of interventions and
enhance outcomes for children and even youth with disabilities.
Dimensional, Not Typological
Classification systems should be based on dimensions of performance (reading,
social conduct, and the like).
Knowledge Based on Effective Intervention
There is a body of information linked to the usefulness of instructional interventions.
Classification systems focus on functional dimensions of performance will ease the
application of knowledge base.
Number of Deficits
Quantity of deficits exhibited by the student serves as bases for age group. Students
with important discrepancies over greater numbers of functional dimensions over larger
numbers of functional dimensions usually need more special education services.
Degree of Discrepancy
Bigger discrepancies typically point out greater need, requiring greater resources for
valuable intervention. In one moment, this should not be applied as a reason for giving
low priority to early intervention for students whose differences from the norm are not
Using of the accessible knowledge base and assessment technology is required to
additional goal of improving the outcomes of educational interventions for children and
Reference: The Future of Children SPECIAL EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS WITH
DISABILITIES Vol. 6 * No. 1 - Spring 1996 Pages 40- 51