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Steven A. Greenburg, Education Law
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Children with mental conditions can have unique education needs

Many individuals here in the U.S. struggle with mental illness. Children are no exception to this; it is estimated that signs or symptoms of a mental health condition may be present in as many as one in five of the nation’s children.

Unfortunately, while mental health disorders are fairly common among U.S. children, it appears that quite a few children with such conditions aren’t having their unique needs met. For example, it is estimated that only around 20 percent of children who need mental health services receive such services.

Mental health services are not the only unique needs children with mental health disorders can have. They can also have special needs when it comes to education. A mental health disorder can affect a child in many ways. Many of these impacts can have the potential to affect a child’s behavior and performance at school. So, a child with a mental disorder may need special support at school to be in a good position to get a quality education.

Among the education needs children with mental health conditions can have are a need for special education services. Mental health disorders are among the things that may qualify a student for such services.

So, one would hope schools would be on the lookout for mental health issues among their student body and would take proper efforts to ensure students that have special needs in relation to such conditions get the education services they need. Unfortunately, things like staffing, training and resource problems at schools can lead to such a student’s needs being missed.

What can a parent do if they feel the unique education needs their child has due to a mental health disorder aren’t being met? One route they could take is to talk with a skilled education lawyer about their possible options. In addition to providing guidance, such attorneys can also help parents in special-education-related dealings with their child’s school.

Source: NPR, “Mental Health In Schools: A Hidden Crisis Affecting Millions Of Students,” Aug. 31, 2016

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