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Can a school give a student special education and related services if the student is anti-social but it's not related to a disab

Brooklyn, NY |

The student has hygiene problems and can't socialize but the problem is not related to a disability. The problem is related to the student not anticipating.

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Attorney answers 3


I am a NY lawyer. You state that the problem is not related to a "disbility". This statement is confusing. Disability covers all kinds of issues and even issues which are not classified in any one category. Special education services help with all kind of disabilites - including psychological help or even help in socializing. It may not require you to formalize this in an IEP. This depends largely on how this behavior is affecting the overall child - behavior and grades too. If it is your child, I would consult with a lawyer.


Generally speaking, in order to be entitled to special education services, a student must have a qualifying disability that adverselly affects his/her educational performance. This link lists the thirteen (13) qualifying disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Students who qualify for special education services will often have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Secton 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 also provides that certain students with a qualifying "impairment" should not be discriminated against on account of their impairment. Students who qualify for services under Section 504 often will have a "504 plan."

You may want to have this student evaluated by your school's team of psychologists, or social workers to see if he/she is eligible for any of the aforementioned services. If the student's parent or guardian consents, perhaps the student may be evaluated by an outside doctor.

As for your comment about hygiene problems, I would immediately be concerned with this student's home environment. Generally, students don't want to be known as the "smelly kid" in the classroom. Depending on the age of the student, perhaps you can discretely bring in a toothbrush and toothpaste for the student, a deodorant, foot powder, clean t-shirt - something to address whatever unhygienic behavior you are observing.

As for the student's social behavior, perhaps the student should be seen by his guidance counselor or a school social worker or psychologist. If needed, a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) may need to be formulated and implemented in order to help the student improve his socialization skills.

Without more specific information, I cannot provide a more direct response to your question. You seem to believe that the student's behavior is not related to his/her disability. I do not understand what you mean by the student "not anticipating." You may mean that the student is unable to anticipate the consequences of his/her behavior. That may be a symptom of a disability itself. Has the student been diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder, which is a serious diagnosis, or does the student just have weak social skills? These are all questions that you will need to investigate and then make a well-informed determination of what special education and related services, if any, this student will need.

This information is intended for educational purposes and does not establish a client-attorney relationship. A client-attorney relationship is not formed until the signing of a written retainer agreement by both the client and the attorney.


You question is somewhat confusing as it seems to stop in mid-air. "[T]he student is not anticipating ..." What does that mean. In order to receive Special Education (Specially designed instruction) the student must demonstrate both that he/she has a disability, which fits within one of the statutory eligibility categories AND that the disability has a negative impact upon the student's education (academic, social, emotional, or behavioral deficits). You do not give sufficient information for one to determine whether this individual fits within these criteria. The inability to socialize may be, in and of itself, a disability, but that would have to be determined by a psychologist or psychiatrist.
There is another statute, which provides for accommodations when a student has a disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides for accommodations and possibly some services, where a student has a condition which negatively impacts a major life activity. This is much broader than the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and conditions such as drug and alcohol addiction have been found to be included. Accommodations or services under this Act do not, however, constitute what we generally call "special education."

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