This can be a loaded question when it comes to a RAD kiddo. Because of the misunderstanding surrounding reactive attachment disorder. And because of the fact that it doesn’t (shouldn’t) have anything to do with learning ability. Many times RAD alone will not enable your child to qualify. So the question, “Does your child have an IEP?” turns into “Does your child need an IEP?”
August was diagnosed with ADHD four years before he was diagnosed with RAD. And of course being adopted from Russia, he also qualified for ESL (English as a Second Language) services. I knew there were issues with his learning. There was something wrong with his cognitive ability where reading was concerned. We had him tested every which way and he tested at the low end of average. But the ADHD qualified him for services under the OHI (Other Health Impaired) category.
Yet it took until second grade for me to get him approved for an IEP. They waited until he was two full grades behind before they would give him an IEP. And I knew what I was doing. I knew what he was eligible for. It amazed me and amazes me still how people who maybe aren’t in a position to do the research and ask the questions (I wasn’t working full-time at the time) are able to navigate the IEP quagmire.
August has only ever qualified for an IEP based on his ADHD under the OHI category. In middle school we added a behavioral health plan. But his reactive attachment disorder never factored into any of the accommodations that were made in either plan. I always spent a long time explaining RAD in IEP meetings, what it was, how it impacts his thinking, his behavior, his focus and why accommodations might be helpful. But legally he has never been entitled to anything based on that diagnosis.
Now I never tried to get him any services under Section 504. This is another option which provides equal treatment for individuals with mental or physical disabilities. Again, since there is no evidence that RAD impairs education, this is a hard sell. I would love to hear from any of you that have had success getting a Section 504 or an IEP on the basis of RAD alone. Every parent I’ve ever met has had to get their accommodations based on a second disorder or disability their child also has. Fortunately or unfortunately our children almost always have one of those!
Most of us have are already good at being an advocate where our RAD kiddos are concerned. Getting an IEP needs you to have just a strong a voice. I find that making sure you have in writing everything they are eligible for even if they don’t use it is better than assuming that they won’t need a special service. Don’t be proud. They may get great grades. Maybe they have good reading ability and don’t need to have things read to them. That’s great. Check the box that enables them to have things read to them anyway if it’s an option. You never know when they’re going to have a bad day and having a test read to them may be the thing that calms them down.
If you do not have an IEP for your child and want to learn how to get one or see if your child might be eligible, this will explain the process better than I ever could. If you’d like to check out a Section 504, here’s where to look.
For either situation, always remember, you are the expert on your child. Do not be intimidated. And also remember, everyone wants your RAD kiddo to be successful. They are on your side!
Until next time,