Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Timothy B. Jones

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Leah Wickersham-Fish

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Erika Pinter


This legal qualitative content analysis described how special education due process hearing officers applied the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) child find provision since the 2016 federal citations. The study found that districts often violated child find by not evaluating each disability condition, either known or previously suspected. The hearing officer decisions were most often focused on: (a) timely referral and evaluation, (b) comprehensive evaluation, and (c) having a reason to suspect that the student has a disability in need of special education. The decisions were represented as: (a) issues held for the prevailing party, (b) child find prevailing party, and (c) relief granted. The trends in the decisions represented: (a) student eligibility, (b) Section 504, and (c) the predominant issues of identification and evaluation. The legal principles hearing officers were most often focused on were: (a) adequate progress with supports, (b) reason to suspect a disability in need of special education, and (c) timely and comprehensive evaluation. The findings suggest that students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and unspecified learning difficulties who receive Section 504 services are more likely than other eligibilities to violate the child find provision if they are not making academic, social, emotional, or behavioral progress with supports. The findings in this study provided the guidance that was lacking for Texas school districts to ensure compliance with IDEIA and recommendations to ensure students with disabilities are not denied free and appropriate public education, including critical areas that are most likely to be litigious. Keywords: child find, special education, evaluation, due process hearing, Performance-Based Monitoring and Analysis System, Section 504, individuals with disabilities education improvement act

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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