Good news and bad news...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm super exhausted but wanted to post an update and get any feedback so I can decide how to proceed. After talking to someone from PEATC this morning about HOW to convey things to this iep team, here's the basics of what happened:

    1) They had someone there I wasn't expecting. I knew the Special Education director of middle schools (not the overall Special Education director) was going to be there, but they had the lady in charge of Special Education "placement" there. They had mentioned her name regarding an iep last year and it made me nervous because I thought they were still going to try to get difficult child out of their school over behavioral issues, even though he'd greatly improved. Today, I wasn't sure what to think because I figured they couldn't very well take a position that he was no problem in school thus didn't need their intervention and at the same time take the position that they needed a placement director there.

    2) I tried to make points using techniques advised by PEATC- compare it to physical health problems and so forth. I told them I understood that the school district was willing to provide difficult child with an education and that difficult child wanted to be at school and that this was not the issue. The issue was that he cannot access his education and they CANNOT provide that education if he can't get to school or if he isn't stable enough to be taught (making the pint that even homebound wouldn't solve the problem).

    I said to look at it like it was a kid who needed a wheelchair to access school and for school to be able to educate him- yet, the parents can't get him a wheelchair and private insurance won't pay for it. No one is expecting the school to go out and get and pay for the wheelchair- BUT- there are resources that the school can reach out to in situations like that and all they have to do is pick up the phone and call and those resources will make sure that kid gets a wheelchair so he can get to school and the school can teach him.

    So, WHY can't they pick up the phone and call a fapt so that my son can get the additional services he needs in order to access the education that they are willing to provide them?

    3) Then Ms. H., who was apparently the highest on the totem pole there, asked some question and I "mentioned" (per PEATC suggestion) that just because the school district has no current problem with my son and he isn't misbehaving at school does not mean that he isn't in need of help in order to "get the education that he has a right to". I said to look at it as if he had leukemia and had NEVER mis-behaved in school- if he needed a particular assistance in his family to access and get an education, would the school be required to make sure the kid got it?

    4) Sooooo, it was explained to me that this school district's policy requires that they go to a Multi-Discilplanry Team (MDT) first and that they would determine what the kid needed to get an education and that the parent does NOT attend those meetings. Then, whatever they decide would be recommended to the FAPT (which iss what I'm trying to get in front of) to see if they can get funding approved for their recommendation. Ms. H., who was basicly the one in charge, seemed to have extensive knowledge. Either she's a warrior mom herself, or she was snowing me to cover school district- I'm not sure yet and am not sure how much I want to bank on either option.

    She looked at me directly a couple of times and said "based on my personal family experience, I'm sorry for what you've had to go through". So, it could be either way the way I see it. But that's where we are- she said Ms. funding coordinator hadprobably really been trying to help me. She (Ms. H.)told principal it would help if she attended MDT meeting. But, she reiterated that parents don't go to that meeting- it's a school district meeting that involves other agency resources where they decide what that family should have as a recommendation, then they take that recommendation to fapt to get funding.

    Everyone agreed that I needed to try to get PO out of picture- I had planned to go directly to courthouse after this iep meeting to file a request for an emergency hearing to get a fapt and to get difficult child released from probation so I could obtain more services for him (it's standing in the way of a couple of things). But, I'm not sure that's wise now- it would look dumb maybe to request a hearing to just get difficult child realeased from probation and I don't know that I can jsutify askling for an emergency hearing now.

    Then- the other typical IEP stuff- we scheduled another meeting for next Thurs- but the middle school sped ed person and this "higher up placement" person won't come to that. The principal and I were kind of trying to reinforce that we can handle regular iep stuff without higher ups. I was trying to show that I didn't think difficult child needed another placement for school purposes and principal was trying to show that the school was accommodating difficult child's needs- when he was there.

    So, I didn't account for this- I'm not comfortable going ahead and filing for an emergency hearing from judge, I don't think, because maybe school district can/will open a door. I'm still weighing that hough- I might do it.

    But, I'm not comfortable with sitting here for a month waiting to see IF school district has opened that door. And that "door" needs to be more than what someone at school says difficult child needs. The point was (based on funding coordinator's input) to get me the fapt team and have "an informal brainstorming session" so I could determmine what really would help or what wouldn't, based on what was available. I definnitely am not comfortable with school district having that kind of meeting without the parent being invited.

    What happens if they decide "X" is needed and parent says it's not so parent refuses it? Then, when difficult child and parent already have to answer to legal system, won't the only thing being looked at be that parent refused recommended help?

    It wouldn't be the first time that I have been the one to ask for help, and the only "help" that's been suggested is not real help, so I bucked it, then I had to answer for it- like I was an unfit and incompetent parent.

    I'm so SERIOUSLY not comforatble with an "MDT" team/ school district meeting about what my son needs to get an education and me having no part or say-so in that meeting. Any way around that at this point? Who are they to decide what is in my son's best ineterst? These are supposed to be school district and mental health and god knows who else and a parent won't be there....???

    Anyone ever heard of this when there's a caring, concerned, informed parent involved?
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  2. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Wow alot at that mtg. huh..? What does your gut say? I mean I see your point hang out and wait 1 mos. to see if the school district thing works and opens doors and addlt. resources, yet if you sit a mos and than nothing happens and this woman is "snowing" you, which didn't sound that way, yet you were there so you gotta go with-what your gut is saying.

    So, what happens if you call a hearing with-the judge? what would be gained from that??

    How is difficult child doing??
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    K, I'm new to this process (as you know) but what would be the harm in telling them this just as you have here...they agree PO needs to be out of the picture, you have this concern, and its a real concern...maybe normally parents aren't involved, but they don't have behavior issues at school...yet they can't very well determine what he needs based on something they don't know are the expert on what keeps your child from going to school. They need you there.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I wouldn't be comfortable with meetings concerning my child's special needs, where I am not present. That said, they may have sound reasons for this which I would accept. However, a few things:

    1) Can you ask for contingency plans for NOW to tide you over? and

    2) Did you get to ask what happens if the meeting occurs and they get it so hugely wrong because you weren't there, that the whole process has to be restarted?

    If they don't want the parent there because they only want trained educators, then this begs the question - if they can't cope with the 'randomness' of a non-educator in the mix, then how do they expect to cope with a difficult child? The parent is the repository of some very valuable informartion, even if all you are there for is to confirm how the child is likely to react in a given scenario, you have a purpose.

    The biggest problem I can see to having a parent there - it can slow down the meeting, because some parents could see the meeting as an opportunity to vent on how difficult life is with a difficult child and try to turn it into a campaign platform for better understanding for that particular disability (I've met parents like this). Other parents sit there like stunned mullets, not knowing what to dso or say and need everything explained over and over - this again takes valuable time.

    Taking it all together though, especially if there is someone at the meeting skilled in keeping it in order and cutting through the crud, then a parent trying to grandstand would be brought to heel and a parent needing things explained would benefit from the use of plain language throughout (or a few quiet words on the side, especially after the meeting).

    It can be done. That's how it works for us Down Under.

    YOu said, "What happens if they decide "X" is needed and parent says it's not so parent refuses it?"

    Good question. If te parent is present, then either the meeting can explain the reasoning well enough so the parent will agree, or the parent will explain at the meeting, before the decision is locked in, why it won't work.

    The important thing in all these meetings is to keep things working towards a practical solution, where an action plan is put in place. You need a good moderator to keep things moving to a practical level, but the staff should be skilled in this or they shouldn't be doing this job.

    klmno, I also am ambivalent about Ms H. I don't think she's another Warrior Mum though, I think she's got a relative who may be. She was working professionally, but with maybe an added level of compassion. Often it's why educators go further into some Special Education areas professionally, because they have a bit more personal experience and can bring this to bear to help others. Howerver, keep in mind she is school district and not YOUR advocate. She may turn out to be an angel, but her job will always depend on ther goodwill of school district. If she has to make a choice, I would expect her to eventually choose school district.

    My 2c worth.

  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Marg! What sticks out in my mid- 1) If a parent has a right to attend and be a prt of IEP meeting and FAPT (county team) meeting, why shouldn;'t they be a part of MDT meeting, too? The MDT meeting is apparently the school district's meeting to take care of things before it reaches "county" needs level. That sounds more like a CYA meeting to me. If it's school district lead- the only reason I can think of that the parent isn't wwelcome is so the school district can CYa- if the parent has a right to be involved in the iep meeting and fapt meeting, a parent has a right to be involved in this meeting.

    2) based on GAL's actions/recommendations last year- I wouldn't give 2 cents for anyone's recommendations who didn't really understand, look into, or discuss with me the costs me thousands of dollars, countless hours from work, and endless headaches and provided not even ONE more door open for difficult child getting help.
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Have you talked to an advocate about your rights as a parent to attend the MDT? Have you checked state regs? What about Something doesn't sound right with the process . . .
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would definitely do some digging. It does seem odd to tell you that you can't go to the meeting. Hugs.
  8. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hmmm. Would you mind PMing me re what county you are in, and I will see if I can do some digging re this MDT... and maybe even see if a Special Education friend of mine in my county school system can give some insight? It can't hurt. I still speak to the Special Education IEP guru of our county fairly often, she even asked me to be a "surrogate parent" for another child's IEP, since this child's parents abandoned her (long story). I would never mention specifics of course, just ask if they know the system works in your locality. I also know some court services people here...

    Worth a shot.

    One thing that jumps out at me is, if difficult child's grades have fallen, it IS affecting him in school.. even if it's not behavior-wise. Besides, there IS a behavior issue.. it's him not going to school because he is so unstable he is unable to cope! To me, that means they need to do something. And, it's not a matter of them wanting to help, they are REQUIRED to help by law. Keep that in mind. They are required to provide an education to him. If his disability is keeping him from that education, they are required to find a way around it.

  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I've been digging around online and the only MDT I see referenced at this school district is pertaining to eith er IEP meetings or the initial Child Study process. I'm wondering- would this team (MDT) be the group that also reviews whether or not the school district will have a child on an iep or not?

    It has to be somewhat formal- Ms. H said they meet twice a month and it's mental health people, social workers, etc. It wasn't clear if they all work for the school district, but she said it was an school district meeting but they have access to other agencies. She said they decide what they want to recommend, then they take it to the county team to get approval. She said she might be able to get us something this way.

    Then what really makes me uncomfortable- the middle school sepc ed director wants to invite PO to that meeting. How can a meeting like that take place without a parent giving written consent at least, if not invited to attend?

    I don't think this is the best route. I'm thinking maybe I should go ahead and request a hearing. before the jjudge.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I just emailed the middle school Special Education person- I didn't have Ms. H's email address. I asked her to clarify if this was an internal school meeting or a meeting involving various county agencies. I said I didn't understand the purpose of a meeting like that to discuss a specific child where the parent was not involved. I also said that I was not comfortable with any meeting between the school district and the PO where difficult child and our needs are discussed and I'm not present. I copied principal on the email.

    This doesn't even sound legal to me. (I didn't put that in the email.)
  11. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good job! I've sent you another PM.
  12. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    I once when to an IEP meeting, where I expected to develop a plan. I found out that the plan was already developed by the MDT which I had not been invited to (and never even knew happened). The plan was completely inappropriate for my son, and I would not agree or sign. They pushed real hard and let me know it was a major issue as they would be required to hold a second MDT meeting to approve the changes I wanted. They did not have time or budget for this. (I felt "Not my problem, should have asked for my input first"). I would not budge. It was hard and we never got a plan I liked, but we did get a compromise. They never held the second MDT meeting, but did make some calls.

    I had troubles with things like the accommodations I felt he needed were not in their list of accommodations. Thus they could not click on it and add it in. It was very hard to get them to add an accommodation not on the list.

    This IEP was related to reading issues not behavior. But the frustrations are the same. They did not know how to implement the type of programs that are effective for kids with reading issues (any of the multi sensory structure phonemic programs). They did not even know what a reading program was. When pushed for the name of the program they would use they gave me a book list. What I wanted was supported by 30 years of research at the National Institute of Health. So I had material to back up my claims. Still I had to find the resources to support him outside of the school system and use the limited school compromises to adjust to recommendations from the outside therapist. And even then some of the things they put him through were ridiculous.

    I never felt I was a bad mother, I always knew where the problem lay. As the years went on my son did better then they ever expected him to do, and I started to receive a little bit of respect. I was able to develop a working relationship with the Special Education teacher and this allowed me to provide my input prior the MDT meeting. I was still not able to go, but they at least knew what I was likely to sign or not.

    If you don't already have it, request a copy of the parent's rights. It should include how to appeal, and what the processes are in your state.

    Good luck.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I just called school admin building and asked what it was- I didn't ask a higher up there- just a receptionist. So, I might not have gotten the most thorough answer, but I didn't have to get into my name, child, specific problem like I would have had to with a director. Anyway, she said it is a meeting of people at the central admin office- the various disciplines are still school district employees (ie, school social worker, not DSS) however, they may at times ask someone from another agency like DSS to come in. I asked the purpose- if it was to determine services needed for a spefic child. She said no, that would be a child study team or iep meeting, done at school level and involving parent. This MDT meeting is to see if school district has progressed and/or met the needs that were identified in the child study team or iep.

    We didn't put anything in writing yesterday. But principal was filling out form and asking PO's and gal's name- even though I told her gal was no longer in picture.

    Hmmm... then why would PO need to be there? To see if it's an school district matter or if Department of Juvenile Justice will handle it? That's all I can figure out.

    But something still isn't adding up- The principal was apparently not too knowledgable about this stuff. I think she said she'd only donoe it one other time and she said she had to fill out a form and it was the same form for both MDT and fapt and she just needed to list which one was being requested. Ms H told her to put mdt. So, all along, the principal could have put in this request for a fapt for me.
  14. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow. I see no reason for the PO to be involved at all, if the purpose of the meeting is to see if the SCHOOL is doing its job. It seem totally inappropriate to me. I can see them needing to know there was court involvement, but that's it.

    I do understand though, if the information you received is correct, why the parent is not necessarily involved. But, depending on what that team finds, it seems that the very next step would be for you to come to another meeting.

    No surprise that the principal didn't know a thing about it. In fact, the principal of my kids' schools was NEVER involved in IEP meetings, not beyond elementary school at least.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Now I'm thinking Ms H plans to go to MDT to say that difficult child needs more services to get FAPE and see if school will provide them or not. If school provides them, the mdt get funding from fapt and I have no part in it but school is delivering services. If school district isn't to provide them all, then apparently, they can decide to send the case to fapt- maybe?

    My guess is PO would be there so school district can determine what falls in school district responsibility and what will Department of Juvenile Justice take care of. (I'm just speculating here.) But, that just stirs up this PO- people really give her too much credit- they apparently think that she is a knowledgable spokesman for Department of Juvenile Justice and difficult child's best interest. Maybe she's supposed to be but....well....'nuff said.

    Po wouldn't be able to do anything without judge signing off on it- even if po recommended it. I have a call into therapist- I'm going to see if I can just pick up his letter from his receptionist. Then, I'll go get it copied and go file paper to ask for hearing from judge. Let's hope that doesn't get kicked back and sent thru PO. They have very strict guidelines for a parent asking for a hearing directly and even stricter ones for asking for an emergency hearing. I dread this route since I can't afford another attny.

    Did you take an attny or do it yourself without one?
  16. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I'd do what I could to get rid of that po.

    PO has made it clear her interest is not what's best for your son. Even just having the paperwork filed and awaiting a hearing would probably be enuf to keep the PO from attending any school meetings.

    My .02.
  17. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I did it without an attorney, an attorney was not required. It was all through her CHINS order... I requested additional services be provided and that those services be determined through a referral to FAPT. There are two types of CHINS in Virginia.. in some cases the S is for "supervision" and others are for "services." I was where you are... difficult child already had a CHINS for "supervision" ... I wanted the "services" piece added. I got it fairly easily. Look at your current CHINS order and verify what it says, for now.

    FAPT is the door to funding through the other agencies .. I think that since there is already an IEP in place, the funding is already coming through the schools for that piece.. .it's a matter of what they are willing to authorize. From what the school case manager told me, they can only authorize things that are strictly related to SCHOOL ..i.e., they can't help you with in-home treatment, etc., that's a different agency. So, maybe their goal is to get you to FAPT to get the funding for the services they can't provide (i.e., services outside the education forum).
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    difficult child's chins is for services, which I'm allowed to provide privately, but now we need more than typical outpatient.

    What yoou explained in the second paragraph is exactly what I was trying to get the principal to see and act on. But now it seems that if we needed something not school related (principal's position) that they weren't going to do anything. Once I convinced them it was school related because it was preventing him from accessing his education and preventing them from being able to give him an education, then they said they had to take it mdt to see if school could do more or something like that. I know school district can't get us everything we need- ie, they can't asked fapt to help me financially so I can take difficult child to all meetings/ appts. But, fapt with me on it can provide that. I just don't see why they couldn't have skipped the mdt and gone straight to fapt. Or, request both at same time. This will hold things up for a month for a possibility, not a definite answer. So, I'm not going to wait on it.

    Funny, the first thing all these county people ask me after difficult child gets in trouble or things get completely out of control is "why didn't I do something to prevent it". But then when I try to get help to prevent things, they all use the excuse that they can't because he's not a problem at school, I haven't neglected him, he's not acute, etc.
  19. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know what you mean. It took me writing a letter to the dierctor of social services, and filing (but eventually rescinding) a motion to relinquish custody, to finally get the county (outside the school services) to act. This was after Youngest overdosed three times in a few months' time .. I asked how many times it would take before they'd help her? Did she have to DIE waiting?

    Sounds like you need to ask for another CHINS hearing .. not sure how quickly they are scheduled, my county does certain types of hearings on certain days.

    You are doing great, mom :)