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The federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, mandates that all public schools should formulate an Individual Education Program (IEP) for each student with a learning disability. Learning disability refers to a disorder that affects the academic and functional skill of an individual when it comes to speaking, listening, writing, reading, spelling, reasoning and organization of information (for instance automatism and dyslexia). Most of students with learning disabilities are taunted, ignored, bullied, harassed and negative as well asoffending remarks are passed to them thus they slip into behavioral problems.

Such students if not intervened are most likely to drop out of school, abuse drugs, underage drinking and engage in juvenile delinquencies that guarantees them in a place in the juvenile penitentiaries. Creating an IEP includes the participation of the student’s parents/guardian, doctor/specialist and the teacher. The IEP will include the disability of the student, the skills he or she posses, the goals to
be achieved by the student, what need to be done for the student to achieve their laid out goals and skills, the period at which the training shall take place and the duration ta which the laid out objectives is to be achieved, and any other extra services needed towards the helping of the
student. However, an IEP may only be created after a specialized team (multi disciplinary team) approves that the child indeed has learning disabilities and requires special education/attention.

The IDEA also stipulates that school districts shall carry out a functional behavioral analysis of any problem that occurs. The school districts have been left with the discretion of setting the standards for the functional behavioral assessment. This is carried out as an intervention to a problem behavior of a student with learning disabilities. A student who avoids duties and tasks by feigning illness or worse screams out or does it at the utmost snail pace so that the task can be passed to someone else should not be allowed to continue with the behaviour.

Some behaviours are exhibited as a way to seek attention; acting in a manner to elicit sympathy from others or obtain a special treatment than others. Alternatively, the behaviour may be one that gets the student’s mind off pain or reward him or her with pleasure. Intervention should be carried out to terminate this behavior and encourage the student in participating in chores. For a successful intervention, the root causes of such a behaviour should be determined by interviewing those who the student have exhibited such a behavior to.

Secondly, the student should be observe before, during and after the behaviour. The behaviour should be tasted in different events to see if it suffices, continuous or its selective. After the assessment, a behavioral management plan should be formulated. In the plan, the analysis of the functional behavior assessment should be outlined; the antecedent before the exhibiting of the behavior, description of the behavior and what happens as a result of the behaviour. The plan should then proceed to set goals for the student and the rewards to be awarded in the event of qualifying the objectives
as well as how to achieve the objectives. An example; the student should set the goal as participating in all peer reviews and abide by the school rules. he reward may be listed as a praise before the peers when a positive attiude is noted. The course of counselling to be taken
and what is hoped to be achieved from the counselling. Penultimately, the action to be resorted to in the vent that the student fails to respond to the behavioral management plan.

The IDEA outlines what steps need to be taken when the behaviour of the student is hampering his as well as other students learning. The Act allows the school to use behavioral support system to address the behaviour in question. The IEP must be reviewed so that it captures all the positive steps of action to be taken for a change in attitude/behavior so that by the time the student joins High School, there is a behavioral change and the student is on pre-determined path for success.

Additionally, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) prescribes benefits that shall be accorded to students with learning disabilities. The Act among other actions requires that students shall be tested including those who have already had their IEP formulated so as to determine if some who had the disabilities had not yet been recognized. For law enforcement officers to effect an arrest, the offence must be stipulated in the laws
such as stealing, sexual offences and homicides. For a juvenile with learning disability to be arrested, it means that the behavioral problem was not identified and if it was, it was not corrected. Very few juvenile halls have implemented special learning facilities for the incarcerated juveniles and that’s why statistics have been revealing that incarceration of juvenile offenders is not the best way to rehabilitate them. Any one who breaks the law should be apprehended regardless of the pre-existing mental condition/disorders but it is wise that after apprehension, rehabilitation should be effected promptly.

In my opinion, students with learning disabilities should not be expelled, patience should be exercised and the IEP reformulated until the best alternative method of reforming the behavior is achieved. Expulsion from school is an interpretation that the teachers have given up on the
student who can not be tamed. Expulsion is an extreme for of punishment and will only give time and room for the student to engage in more unwanted behaviors thus booking a ticket behind bars.

An IEP is very essential for a student with a learning disability because it is key in reforming, getting the best out of the student and preventing the student from slipping into a behavior that can land them into serious mental disease and/or crime.


Howey Pat. ‘What you need to know about IDEA 2004: IEPs for children with behavior
problem.’ Wrightslaw, 2011. Retrieved on March 16, 2011 from

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