This the IDEA, Zirkell found that about half of

This
paper is an academic critique of the research article written by Perry A.
Zirkel (2011) entitled: The Role of the
DSM in IDEA Case Law. In a relatively comphrehensive review of court
decisions limited to the eligibility of autism under the IDEA, Zirkell found
that about half of the 13 court decisions mentioned the DSM only as a secondary
source to the IDEA regulation. Similarly in cases where the court determined whether
the IEP constitutes FAPE, the significance of the DSM was limited to the
background. However, in the occasional state special education law that adds to
the IDEA, he DSM plays an elevated role. Together these findings suggest that
medical diagnosis alone, it not sufficient to constitute special education
services. Zirkel (2011), found that in at least some
cases, school psychologists and other school personnel should weigh the
relative strength of medical opinion and the DSM and their own professional
judgement in special education case adjudications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Article Critique

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Summary

Introduction

In
the journal article The Role of the DSM in
IDEA Case Law, Zirkel (2011) utilized a study focused primarily on Autism,
an IDEA disability classification, to determine the role of IDEA regulations
versus the DSM, as utilized by court review officers, for legal determinations
of eligibility under the IDEA act.  The
study reviewed court decisions under the IDEA which mentioned the DSM to
determine if the school psychologist’s use of the DSM to make a diagnosis plays
a primary or secondary role to the IDEA in legal decisions. The review also
considers legal decisions that considered whether the special education
services actually established a free appropriate public education (FAPE) (Zirkel, 2011).

Literature
Review

            Hsu, Chen, and Cheng (2013) used a
cross-sectional study to analyze 187 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in
Taiwan to determine if CEO attributes contributed to internationalization
success as defined by firm performance. Based upon upper echelon and information
processing theories, the researchers hypothesized that five CEO characteristics
(age, tenure, education, international experience, and duality –  that is, CEO also as board chairman) were
significant moderating effects upon international firm performance. Using
regression analyses, the researchers concluded that four of the predictors,
excluding CEO tenure, had a significant moderating effect upon firm
performance.

 

Methods/Research
Design

Results

In a comprehensive
review of relevant case law for IDEA issues, Zirkell (2011) found that the DSM
was referenced in less that 1% of published court cases. In those court cases
where the DSM does appear, it only plays a secondary or supplementary role.
Additionally, the IDEA’s legal standards outweigh and conflicting DSM
standards. It is also noted that in cases of state special education laws the
DSM is elevated and used to broaden and heighten boundaries for the autism
classification. Some states expressly incorporate the DSM and require special
education determinations of autism to be based on evaluations by licensed or certified
professionals qualified to make impressions under the DSM codes (Zirkel,
2011).

Discussion

Zirkell, pointed out
that school psychologists and other school personnel  should not underestimate their own legal
weight concerning IDEA issues such as FAPE where educational expertise
conflicts with medical expertise.  It is
a common misconception that  educators
are lower in hierarchy than medical professionls. However, The educator may
trump the physiscian in IDEA adjudications. Zirkell (2011),  noted a case where the courts stated that a
physician cannot simply prescribe special education for a student. If a parent
has concerns about their child’s growth and development, it Is recommended that
parents not rely solely on the DSM in an attempt to diagnose their child. The
parents should understand that the child would require an official evaluation
to initiate the determination. Parents should also be cautioned to become
informed about the Individuals with Disabilities Act which provides criteria
for which children are eligible to receive special education services. Parents
should be informed that their children must meet the all of the criteria and
not just one area. For example, parents need to understand that in order to
receive special education services, their child must be school-age, have a documented
disability and they must need special education and related services as a
result of their disability.

Conclusion

The physician’s medical
diagnosis is very important information. However, medical diagnoses alone does
not confer eligibility for special education services. The IEP team must use
the physician’s input along with consideration to applicable rules and
regulations to make a full review and an informed decision on the needs of the
student. The role of the DSM under the IDEA should not be overestimated and the
role of the school personnel should no be underestimated. It is in the best
interest of the student if everyone on the team works together to best meet the
educational needs of the student. 

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