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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Annual report of children served--information required in the report (Sec. 300.641)

Comment: A few commenters stated that Sec. 300.641 is inconsistent with the requirement in Sec. 300.111(d), which states that the Act does not require the classification of children by their disability. The commenter noted that it is difficult to comply with the requirements for data collection and analysis without classifying children by their disability.

Discussion: We do not believe there is any inconsistency between the requirements in Sec. 300.641(c) and Sec. 300.111, as suggested by the commenter. Section 300.641(c) addresses counting children who have already been identified as having a disability and is consistent with the requirements in section 618 of the Act. Section 300.111 addresses child find and the determination of a child's eligibility for special education and related services. The Act does not require children to be identified with a particular disability category for purposes of the delivery of special education and related services. In other words, while the Act requires that the Department collect aggregate data on children's disabilities, it does not require that particular children be labeled with particular disabilities for purposes of service delivery, since a child's entitlement under the Act is to FAPE and not to a particular disability label.

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters recommended removing Sec. 300.641(c) because States have reporting policies in place that might not be consistent with these new requirements. Numerous commenters stated that LEAs often report children with vision and hearing loss who have an additional disability in the category of multiple disabilities, which has resulted in under-reporting of children who are deaf-blind. The commenters stated that an accurate count of children with deaf-blindness is necessary to ensure that these children receive the specialized communication services they need, and to ensure that a sufficient number of specialists are trained to meet the specialized needs of these children. One commenter stated that a child's secondary disability should not affect the reporting of the child's primary disability. Another commenter suggested referring to deaf-blindness as the primary disability, if a child has multiple disabilities.

Discussion: The reporting requirements in Sec. 300.641(c) are not new. Section 300.641(c) is the same as current Sec. 300.751(e); State reporting policies therefore should already be consistent with these regulations. Section 300.641(d) addresses how States must report a child with a disability who has more than one disability for purposes of the annual report of children served under the Act. Paragraph (d)(1) states that if a child has only two disabilities and those disabilities are deafness and blindness, and the child is not reported as having a developmental delay, that child must be reported under the category of deaf-blindness. Paragraph (d)(2) states that if a child has more than one disability and is not reported as having deaf-blindness or as having a developmental delay, the child must be reported under the category of multiple disabilities. We believe that Sec. 300.641(d) is clear that children with deaf-blindness who have an additional disability must be included in the category of multiple disabilities. To designate deaf-blindness as the primary disability and include children with deaf-blindness who have an additional disability in the category of deaf-blindness would be inconsistent with the requirements in Sec. 300.641(d).

Although we do not believe that any changes to the requirements in Sec. 300.641(d) are necessary, we will review the instructions we provide to States regarding the reporting of children with deaf-blindness who have an additional disability and make any needed clarifications.

Changes: None.