Administrative Letter: #21
Policy Code: BGE
To: Public School Administrators, Special Ed. Directors
From: Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed.D Commissioner
Date: December 12, 2018
Subject: Clarification About Determining the Existence of a Specific Learning Disability for a Child
The 128th Legislature passed L.D. 127 which adopted portions of Rule Chapter 101 and added the requirement that when an Individual Education Plan (IEP) team is deciding whether or not a child has a specific learning disability, then (1) general education interventions must be included in the data selected by the IEP team when it uses a process based on the child’s response to scientific research-based interventions, and (2) psychological processing data from standardized measures to identify contributing factors must be considered by the IEP team.
Subsequently, on August 30, 2017 the Department posted a notice that the passage of L.D. 127 eliminated the requirement that psychological processing data from standardized measures to identify contributing factors must be considered only as available and as determined to be relevant by the child’s IEP team.
To further clarify this, the legislature determined that psychological processing data must be considered when a child is evaluated for a specific learning disability. The legislation is not explicit on whether or not psychological data must point to a specific learning disability. Therefore, after consulting with counsel, the Department affirms the requirement that psychological processing data must always be part of the consideration of a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in the determination of the presence of a specific learning disability. Psychological processing data may not, however, be a stand-alone threshold that precludes consideration that a child has a specific learning disability.
For further information please contact the Maine Department of Education’s Office of Special Services at 624-6676.