Educational Identification vs. Diagnosis

Educational identification is a process conducted by a school district to determine if a student has a disability and to plan appropriate services to address the student's individual needs. The educational identification process will reflect assessments done by a multidisciplinary team. This process is based on an educational model. A medical diagnosis is usually given by a doctor or clinical psychologist. The diagnosis is guided by criteria in the DSM-IV and based on a medical model.

Purposes of Educational Identifcation
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Educational Identification Guidelines Technical Assistance Video: Autism

  • Determine special education eligibility

  • Develop and design realistic instructional objectives and interventions

  • Establish present levels of performance to measure progress

  • Generate information about the strengths and needs of the student as well as strengths and needs of the environmental resources needed to support the student

Adapted from:

Special Education Verification & Effective Instructional Practices for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, May 2006, Nebraska Department of Education Rule 51

Educational identification criteria are defined in Nebraska Rule 51.

Nebraska has also developed a Technical Assistance Document to aid with verification & program planning. Special Education Verification and Effective Instructional Practices for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

National Academy of Sciences Committee on Education Interventions for Children with Autism An adapted except from Chapter 16, Conclusions and Recommendations, (pp. 211-229), National Research Council (2001) Educational Children with Autism.