We are in the IEP process. My child has to be "coded". The school wants the code of Autism. My child qualifies for either code of Autism or Other Health Impaired. Which one is better and how will it effect her now and in the future?
This is a difficult question because I believe that the benefits and reality of being "coded" with Autism or Other Health Impaired (OHI) depend upon the school district. Thus, I recommend that you get some advice and feedback from other parents who have children in special education within the district. It will be important to understand the general philosophy and approach that your school district takes to services. What do I mean by that? Well, do they tend to provide appropriate services for children, or do parents typically need to fight, tooth and nail, to get the right accommodations for their child?
You should also ask representatives at your child's school what kind of services they will receive under each diagnosis. Is there a difference? I have heard stories of children who were in a special program for students with Autism, designated as OHI and then dismissed from the Autism program! However, I have also heard stories from parents who appreciated the OHI diagnosis instead of the Autism diagnosis because it facilitated services with their insurance company (who sometimes find it easier to pay for "medical" services for an OHI child than a child with a "psychological" problem of Autism).
Therefore, the difference in code could not mean much...or it could mean everything. You need to understand if the different classifications influence access to services for your child in their school.
I included a summary of OHI in the link below.
L. Compian, Ph.D.
You may find that your school district is able to grant a dual code for your child. This sometimes happens to demonstrate difficulties with learning in cognitive areas in addition to sensory or health impairments. For example, the case of a learning disabled child with a hearing impairment. Check with your school district and see if concomitant codes can be used.