Why would a public school teacher request access to my child's medical records? Can the school diagnose his problem? Does this compromise him?
My grandchild, who has always lived with me, is 5-years old, in kindergarten and special-ed speech. My custody of him was a family decision with no squabbles or outside intervention. He talks a lot and uses sentences, but can't form coherent words...I have had hearing test, eye exams, urine tests, blood tests, and a cat scan done...all "normal"...no signs of autism. I am beginning to think his problem may be musculature in nature: he was slow to sit and walk; his fine motor skills such as writing, coloring, or cutting paper are poor, as compared to that of other children his age; and, his speech patterns are like that of a much younger child. His comprehension is good; At a very young age it was apparent that he understood everything said, just like other children without speech problems. He has a good sense of humor; He enjoys children's movies, cartoons, and educational TV; He especially likes cars, trucks, and trains; He builds complicated train track configurations inside and outside he uses boards, sticks and other things to make paths to follow in his motorized jeep, which he drives like a pro. He enjoys other children, but he also plays well by himself. He is very sweet and loving and all his family and teachers adore him. Any ideas of what could be the cause of his speech problems? Is there any reason I should deny the school access to his medical records?
I won't comment on causes for speech concerns as that's outside my area of experience, but I wanted to comment on your comments on access to medical records and diagnosing in the schools:
1. "Why would a public school teacher request access to my child's medical records?" Typically, in the process of a psychoeducational evaluation, as many sources of information as possible is a good thing for the purpose of understanding the child's needs. A regular classroom teacher would probably be unlikely to request access to such records unless there were an evaluation occurring. More likely, a speech language pathologist, school psychologist, or special education teacher may request such records.
Unless there was a specific why you would not want the school to have access to such information, it's generally a good idea to share as much information as possible between everyone involved. The more people know (such as a speech language pathologist), the more specific they can be when creating interventions to support your grandson.
2. "Can the school diagnose his problems?" Sort of. School employees typically do not make medical or psychological diagnoses, but they will "diagnose" a child with a psychoeducational disability such as a learning disability, though not really - the school would really just be saying that your grandson qualifies for certain services, such as speech services - not that he has a particular disability. Typically, a doctor or psychologist outside the school would make any formal diagnoses.
What's important, though, is that the school can "identify" certain learning problems - whether or not it's considered a formal diagnosis. For that reason, sharing information makes sense.
3. "Does this compromise him?" Not sure exactly what you mean here, but if you're meaning, "Does this hurt him?" my response would be no - not necessarily. There are mistakes that can be made, but sharing information does not automatically hurt a child's services in a school setting.
4. "Is there any reason I should deny the school access to his medical records?" From the information you've provided, I would say no - there is no reason why you shouldn't. Sharing information tends to be helpful.
My main concern in this case would be that the school is requesting access to medical records without having giving you a reason. Are they conducting a specific evaluation, or trying to work through a specific issue? I would simply follow-up and say you are happy to help them get as much info as possible, but you'd love to know how they are going to use the information in the case that you have other information that may be useful. For example, you've described several observations of your grandson at home - that could be quite helpful to the folks at school, and their inclusion of you in whatever process they're involved with would only help them.
The school would like to assist with the child's need and this requires the physician's diagnosis. The child may require additional assistance and in order to do so, the child has rights as a public education student, which must not be violated. Consequently, you must give permission to rule out any medical difficulties. In plain language, the school only desires to help:)