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Special Education Law

Do mental health struggles qualify a student for special education services?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2023 | IEP |

California students who have certain types of physical and mental health needs oftentimes struggle in the classroom. Anxiety, depression and other mood disorders could make it difficult for a student to stay focused and obtain an appropriate education in the classroom. In some cases, these students could qualify for special education services, which may help them function in the classroom and get the help they need.

Students caught in limbo

Some students struggled immensely during the pandemic and many students had a difficult time transitioning back to the classroom when things returned to normal. Even though some students are unable to appropriately function at school, they are sometimes not provided the required special education and mental health supports and services they need in order to make progress in school.

If a student’s mental health struggles are negatively impacting their education, they may be entitled to mental health services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP). In order to receive IEP services, school districts are required to evaluate students in all areas of suspected disability and determine if the student is eligible for special education supports and services. Some schools are reportedly still struggling to evaluate students for special education and provide services for students screened before, during and after the pandemic. There have been delays in assessments, along with teacher, aide support and other school staff shortages. The impact this has had on students, specifically those in need of mental health services, is deeply concerning to parents.

What can parents do?

Parents of California students who are struggling in school may benefit from the support and guidance of an experienced attorney. A legal advocate may be able to provide insight regarding the potential legal options available to the family. If a parent believes that his or her child is deserving of special education supports and services, they can fight to ensure the child gets an appropriate educational experience.