Feeling frustrated . . . where from here?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by ihunt, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. ihunt

    ihunt New Member

    Last week I met with a Special Education respresentative from my daughters Virtual High School. They gave her a 2 hour test covering Math, reading, etc to try to determine if she has a learning disability. The tester showed me some of the results -- In Math -- where she was allowed to work through the problems at her own pace -- she scored in the 10th grade. (she's in 9th grade) But when they did a Math Fluency test, she scored in the 4th grade. To me, that's a big difference and indicates a slight problem. English was kinda the same -- Phonics was 18th grade and Fluency was 6th grade.

    The Tester told me that the Special Education Director would get back with me to discuss the results when they had been analyzed. Over a week later, I emailed her to find out if there was any conclusions. She emailed me back and said that Marissa tested in the average range for her grade. She was aware that we had an ODD diagnosis from a doctor and maybe they could go for an "Other" diagnosis.

    When my son was tested, it seems like it was much more comprehensive. They were able to see that he had a processing problem. It seems to me that when she's tested for fluency and drops to elementary school levels, it would indicate a processing problem. How do they test for that?

    What testing are they suppose to do? What exactly are they suppose to do to test for a learning disability? I just trusted they would do everything they needed to do. I don't get that impression.

    I'm also not getting any progress with her doctor finding a Neuro psychiatric that my insurance will cover. They all want a diagnosis. What diagnosis is my doctor suppose to give so that a Neuro psychiatric will see her? How do you get into the Neuro psychiatric. I thought my doctor would just have to give a referral and that would be it.

    I feel totally alone in my quest to make life a little easier and successful for my daughter. Should I be satisfied that she simply graduate from High School?

    Need some advice

    Irene
     
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    What needs to be evaluated is specified by law. A two hour test won't cut it.

    State your concerns in a certified letter--sample at this site: http://www.conductdisorders.com/com...a-formal-request-for-iep-re-evaluation.22433/

    Delete the reference to the parent report if you don't have one adapt it to your daughter's needs and SEND IT CERTIFIED. You might want to add that in addition to "full" it be "legally complete and correct."

    Then stay off the phone--don't accept anything verbally. Wait the ten days and then you can take action if they do not respond.


    Martie
     
  3. ihunt

    ihunt New Member

    Thank you for those links!! I looked and looked and could not find them on my own. I guess you have to know exactly where to look, huh?

    I went through the information and then wrote a letter to the Special Education Director with a copy to the School Director. This is what it said.

    Dear _________

    I have been researching the IDEA. I have questions regarding your Evaluation Procedures.

    I would like to know if you have concluded your evaluation or whether it is ongoing. What procedures have you used? Have you received records from M's previous school? (grades, test scores etc) Which teacher(s) have you used for your classroom observation documentation? What other tests do you plan on giving besides the one Rebekah administered on Oct. 10?

    According to IDEA paragraph 300.301 a "full and individual initial evaluation" must be conducted. I have not received an evaluation plan and since I am a member of her evaluation team I would like to have that within the next week.

    At this time, I am not satisfied with what has taken place. I have reviewed the Evaluation procedures outlined in IDEA paragraph 300.304. Please share with me the variety of assessment tools and strategies that you have used to come to the conclusion:

    "The results show that M is performing in the average range of ability in reading, writing and math. It isn’t likely that we can pursue services under the category of Specific Learning Disability"

    If my memory is correct, the tests administered on Oct 10th showed that M performed at a 4th grade 5th month level in Math Fluency. Reading fluency was in the 6th grade. In your own words,

    "All of her fluency scores are consistently lower than her actual performance, which means it’s going to take her longer to complete school tasks."

    According to IDEA 300.309, the group may determine that there is a specific learning disability if the child does not meet State-approved grade-level standards. I think the testing you did is adequate proof that, if nothing else, further testing is required.

    I will provide any information I can in regards to M's past education, health or otherwise. As I stated earlier, she was never diagnosed with ADHD. It was something they did look at, but never diagnosed. I will do all in my power to have her available for assessment "in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status and motor abilities." paragraph 300.304, 4.

    I am aware that I should be receiving a Parents Rights form. I will be looking for that in the mail, as well.

    I chose AZVA because I was impressed with their desire to educate children. Mrs. ______ seemed very willing to pursue the means necessary to identify M's learning difficulties. I trust this will take place.

    Sincerely

    Irene Hunt



    I'm really hoping this will get the ball rolling. Thanks for all the encouragement and information to help me move forward. You pulled me out of my funk!!

    Irene
     
  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Under the curcumstances, I think the letter is very good. It contains a whole lot more information than is required but that is OK--it makes you sound more friendly and less like you just contacted an attorney.

    You should continue to be nice but VERY firm. They will probably try to talk you out of this.

    I hope you sent it CERTIFIED--there is no other way.
     
  5. ihunt

    ihunt New Member

    Well, today is day 60. There has been no further testing. They responded to my letter with this:

    Your notification of parent’s rights and summary thereof are attached.

    The evaluation is not complete. The next steps are to evaluate work samples, which have been requested from M’s teachers. Also, an observation of M in one of her teachers’ Elluminate sessions needs to be arranged. We also need to document further response to intervention (RTI). Mr. Herron has suggested environmental and scheduling interventions; now it’s time for instructional interventions, which I will set up after evaluating M’s work samples. That should happen within the next day.

    AZVA practices a total inclusion/ consultative model of special education, so the instructional interventions we set up will be similar to the kind of services M will receive once the evaluation is complete and there is a legal designation. M will not get a different curriculum or different teachers. What she will receive are modifications on assignments and instructional accommodations.

    I have not heard from them since this was sent to me a month ago. I'm not sure what I'm suppose to do. What if I don't hear back from them today? What if I disagree with what they have to say? They have done no psychiatric evaluation or ANYTHING other than that first academic test.

    I can't reach the school director and the "instructional coordinator" just refers me back to the Special Education people. I would love any instructions. difficult child wants to give up and says almost weekly that she's finished with school -- She's just too stupid.

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
     
  6. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    It appears that SOME SDs feel that using RTI takes care of their obligation. I still believe the law gives them 60 days to "do their thing" which also needs to include evaluation.

    by the way, if RTI does not work, BEST PRACTICE suggests that other more intensive interventions must be used immediately. How long is long enough? There should be MEASURALE progress in 6 to 8 weeks.

    RTI done correctly ALWAYS involves intensive development of data (to know if the intervention is "working") Just providing "a bit of this or that" and calling it RTI does not make it so.

    RTI may be VERY helpful for some kids and it certainly puts draconian teeth into holding teachers accountable for kids' improving. However, not every student can remain in the gen ed classroom, and full inclusion is not the law. Maintenance of the "continuum of services" is the law.

    Next step is to complain to the state education agency that your school district is not following the law. After that, you can ask for Due Process but remember, SDs win very often and it is an emotionally wrenching situation. Further, in some jurisdictions, it is very expensive.

    If a DP Hearing officer knows what is going on, an RTI approach can really mess up a school district because they do not have the data to back up what they have done. However, I wouldn't bet on HO knowing this stuff yet. It's new and the law is unclear--or at least unclearly interpreted.

    If you want to be more conciliatory, give them a week and ask to see the RTI data for the week. Ask in writing and send it certified. If they do not respond, I would assume they do not have the data and so report to the state education agency.

    I'm sorry I can’t be more helpful but this is turning out to be another way to deny kids services. RTI CAN work but it has to be DONE and done correctly.

    Martie
     
  7. ihunt

    ihunt New Member

    Well, I finally contacted the school director and she directed me to the Special Education manager. I FINALLY got ahold of her and she was very wishy washy too, although more helpful than the Special Education person in charge of Marissa. She admitted that Mrs so-n-so had dropped the ball. She tried to convince me that medical testing (neuropsychologist etc) is not required and that since it's a virtual school there's very little they can do for Marissa that's not already being done. I insisted that proper testing be done. I had facts from the IDEA to back me up PLUS I had my son's evaluation to go off of.

    I got an email this morning saying that they will be doing a psychiatric evaluation in Phoenix in a week or two if I'm willing to go there. (What in the heck have I been saying for the last 9 weeks? I'll go wherever they want me to!) I might change schools but not before I give them a run for their money. I'm NOT backing down. I also pointed out to the Special Education Manager in a letter I sent that the IDEA clearly states that medical testing is their responsibility if it is necessary for a diagnosis of a Learning Disability (LD). I sited the exact reference for her. I hope they realize they are not dealing with some ignoramous.

    I appreciate the support I get here. THANKS!
     
  8. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I'm glad you are making progress!

    Put on your

    :warrior: :warrior: :warrior:

    because you are still likely to need to be prepared to hold them to the law.

    Martie :warrior:
     
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Good news! :bravo:
     
  10. ihunt

    ihunt New Member

    psychiatric evaluation scheduled for Saturday, Dec 2nd at a Library in Gilbert -- 3 1/2 hours away. Not as far as Phoenix. Spoke with the Psychologist. Very nice man and asked a lot of questions. Forward, Ho!
     
  11. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Great! :bravo:

    Martie
     
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