Help, school taking away iep.. Says she met the standards and i don't agree

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Kez508, May 3, 2011.

  1. Kez508

    Kez508 New Member

    I Just had the IEP re-evaluation for my daughter in 4th grade with Aspergers, school anxiety, and mood disorder. They say she is happy at school, is not disruptive and is doing well academically. Meanwhile, she has anxiety attacks every morning, states she "hates school, its too loud, too hard, ect." We end up late. She went to the nurse over 20 times last quarter complaining of "dizziness, or just not feeling well" (her anxiety). The problem is that she internalizes her stress and then melts down at home. I feel that she may be dyslexic, and that her math isn't quite at level (and she experiences alot of math anxiety). Her last report card, she got all 3's (B's) and good behavior. They say she no longer qualifies for IEP or a 504. But I disagree that she is academically secure in her grade level skills. Any suggestions.. I have fought back and forth with them.. and now told them that I would like her to be evaluated by an Independant outside the school. Do they have to pay for that? Where should I go from here. I've implemented a visual morning chart which remarkabley has helped with staying on task, getting ready, and reducing transition meltdown, but I dont agree to just let them take away her IEP. Please help, and where should I seek evaluation services. I am in East Providence, RI. Thanks!
     
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hi Kez! Welcome.

    First of all - does she have any diagnoses at all? Clearly there is at least an issue with her visiting the nurse that much. I agree that it's anxiety.

    What does the IEP cover? Extra help, time, Occupational Therapist (OT)...?

    My stepson had an IEP beginning in K because he "couldn't talk". Turned out that, one, he couldn't hear well, and two, he spent most of his time with his Japanese grandmother, who barely speaks English, even now. No diagnosis at all. Just speech therapy. (After 4 years of living with us, he no longer pronounces the letters "or" as "oy" - which is good considering his first name (not really Jett).) In late 2nd grade (March), BM put him on Concerta. My cute little boy turned into a monster on stims. And his anxiety went nuts. Then she had tubes put in his ears. Beginning in 3rd grade (he is in 6th now) he began living with us. We got a second opinion, weaned him off the Concerta (whew), and while we do still see signs of ADHD, it's not as bad - neither is the anxiety. However, due to his other diagnosis's, we kept the IEP on board.

    The school seems to have some problems implementing our requests, so we are looking at an advocate. I would suggest you do the same. The school must provide a Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If your school will not help, try the district - if they won't help, go to the state Board of Education. You may even have to find an education lawyer...

    Again, welcome - and hugs.
     
  3. spedconsultant

    spedconsultant New Member

    Hi,

    Sometimes IEP teams rely on paperwork, but don't look at the whole picture as you are describing it. You have the right to disagree with their determination, you can also ask for additional evaluations as well as an independent evaluation. It's appropriate that you requested the independent evaluation and yes they have to pay for it. But you need to also let them know that you have concerns that she may have dyslexia, but clarify what you mean, is it a written language disability or reading disability? They may not be seeing this. As far as anxiety, that definitely qualifies under Other Health Impaired or a 504. Her disability disrupts her day because she is leaving class often to go to the nurse. Her anxiety is her communication that she is experiencing stress. They can put guidance/counseling into her day as well as checkin's to help her manage her anxiety. Her anxiety attacks and home can also be covered as demonstrations that anxiety is affecting her functional abilities and that by supporting her disability through services and accommodations, her anxiety attacks at home may decrease.

    Your school can let you know what type of evaluator you need to re-evaluate, but they can't pick who it is. I would compose a letter to them letting them know your additional concerns about dyslexia and listing how you see her anxiety affecting her at school. IDEA covers not just academic but functional skills. How are her social skills? Does she have friends at school? Can she maintain friendships? Is she engaged in recess, luch? If she has Asperger's then they may be missing alot. While you do this they have to keep the IEP and implement it. Contact AANE.org for support on the aspergers advocacy, they are great! GOOD LUCK.
     
  4. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    My understanding about the re-evaluation process is that they can review existing data to make their determination --but you being part of the team can request additional testing by the district. What exactly happened at the re-evaluation meeting? Did they review existing data, re-evaluate, take your input? I didn't think they had to pay for an IEE just because you disagree. I would push them to do more testing as part of this re-evaluation.
     
  5. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Can you tell us more about what areas they assessed as part of what I assume is her triennial evaluation? And the results?

    Not being disruptive is NOT the same thing as being able to establish and maintain effective/positive social relationships with peers and teachers. Is she able to do this? Has she been observed during recess? Lunch time? Before/after school?

    Just because she has responded to medication does NOT mean she no longer qualifies for Special Education. Here's a link to a commentary on this from Wright's Law that may be helpful to you.

    http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=3418

    If you feel that your child has additional areas of disability and/or needs additional services beyond what is called for in her current IEP then you need to get the school district to do additional assessments and/or get independent assessments.

    If she was not evaluated in all 7 areas of disability (as defined by IDEA) in preparation for the triennial then I think your first step could be to request that the district conduct additional evaluations rather than ask for an IEE.

    To do this, I would write them a letter telling them they didn't assess your daughter in all areas of potential disability and you would like the meeting tabled while assessments in those areas are being done. If you have specific concerns like the reading then you should specifically state those concerns.

    I will tell you that if she has not had a complete speech evaluation you should be asking for that at the minimum. Most ASDers have language processing problems in the areas of abstract and pragmatic language. She may be "passing" OK right now because the language processing demands in those areas have been pretty minimal so far. But each year those demands increase and she is likely to start having significant problems by 8th grade.

    A lot of kids "grow" into their disabilities in this way. And typically you see a big jump in the need for services at times when the academic expectations increase or change in nature. This happens usually at 4th/5th grade, 7th grade and 9th grade.

    If she has not been assessed by Occupational Therapist (OT)/PT then I would strongly recommend an assessment of fine/gross motor skills and sensory issues. The "too loud" comment is classic for kids with sensory integration disorder and may be contributing to her anxiety about school.

    Do you have a letter from her treating psychiatrist stating her diagnoses and recommending any services he/she feels are appropriate at school? If not, you may want to get that. I have done that several times. But I usually write a rough draft for the doctor who then edits it and puts it on letterhead. You will need to talk to the doctor first and make sure you know what accommodations the doctor is OK with recommending before you write the rough draft. EVERY doctor I have done this for (as in at least 10 now) appreciates this. And it is the only way I have gotten letters that are actually helpful.
     
  6. Kez508

    Kez508 New Member

    Thank you all for your excellent input! So, to clarify.. she has an official diagnosis of Aspergers since age 5, along with Mood Disorder not otherwise specified (she had one of her meltdowns in front of the Psychologist/specialist that diagnosis'd her). She has had sensory integration issues since she was born, and we have come a long way..we have had Speech and Occupational Therapist (OT), but now the school wants to take it all away! They say she is a "model" student in the speech/social group and responds appropriately and "Skips" in the hallways.. I dont think she CAN even "skip" due to the coordination it takes. Currently noise (during lunch, hallway, indoor recess "unstructured time") bothers her. Like I said, she went to the school nurse (documented) atleast 20 times this past quarter. I thought that would be enough written proof to state my case.. Apparently not, since she is not causing a problem in the class. She is socially ok. She does have atleast 2 or 3 friends at school, but I do worry about bullies that she may not even be aware of. I do worry about what will happen as they get older and social interactions get taken up a notch. They gave her all B's on her report card, which I think was a setup to get her off the IEP. I saved all of her work and she got more C's than B's and she struggles with remembering the steps in long multiplication, and division. And while she does read at level, she hates to read outloud, and makes many spelling errors even on small words, and still occasionally mixes up her b's and d's. She has had IQ testing..came out average and above average in some Math aspects. I'm not sure it they tested in all seven areas..Thank you for that, I will request a copy of all of her school evaluations. It seems that they are oblivious to Asperger's, and that her true weaknesses are masked by her strengths. Since the meeting, they have given her earplugs for lunchtime, allowing sensory breaks (visit nurse, take a walk) as needed, extended time on tests, and allowed quiet room to take tests in. I just don't think it is a good idea to pull all her supports and leave her to fend on her own.. if anything, she just barely got B's, but is not "secure" in her skills. I did meet with an advocate (she is a specialist in Aspergers and is a Special Education teacher) but the problem is that she cannot meet during school hours to attend the meeting, and the school says they can not convein after school hours. Now they have proposed a 504, but I am still unsure what to do. Thank you all for your input, great suggestions!

    Kerri (me, anxiety, musically gifted, possible Aspie?)
    Husband-ADD
    Daughter- Aspergers, Mood disorder, anxiety, loves Mario and arcitechture
    Daughter-ADD
    Son-neuro-typical? not sure to even use that word, sorry if offensive
     
  7. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    If you don't want to go full bore into fighting with them you could propose that the current IEP stay in place and the team agree to meet again in the fall after she's been in 5th grade for a couple of months to reconsider placement. This may be acceptable to them or not. If not, then I think you need to ask for additional assessment from the district. What you ask for will depend on what has already been done and whether the assessments were targeted correctly. Hopefully you can get what you need without asking for an IEE. If you can afford to do some assessments privately or can get your health insurance to do anything like the Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment then you may want to do that over the summer so you have new ammunition to bring to the table next fall.

    I think you need to look carefully at the speech assessment (I'm assuming one was done) and the Woodcock Johnson (WJ) subtest scores. Schools often focus on only the broad scores on the Woodcock Johnson and disregard subtest scores that point to a pattern of strength/weakness that ends up being "average" when you combine all the scores.

    She probably has low fluency rates in reading and writing.

    The WJ test results should be presented with several columns of information starting with the Cluster scores followed by the subtest scores. Most districts look only at the SS (standard scores) of the clusters and if they're less than 1.5 deviations from the mean (i.e. 85 or above) they consider the child to be performing OK.

    A more helpful way (in my opinion) of understanding the scores is to look at both the RPI and the SS. RPI tells you how your child is expected to perform in the classroom by describing where she lies on the continuum of proficiency. WJ assumes the average student will be able to perform a grade level task with 90% proficiency. So if she has an RPI of 65/90 that means she is predicted to have 65% proficiency at a grade level task. This tells you how hard or easy grade level tasks are for her. An RPI of 76 to 90 is considered acceptable. Less than 76 would suggest she finds that grade level task very hard.

    But you need to also look at the corresponding SS for that task. If her RPI is 70 but the SS is 85 or greater that tells you about the variation in the abilities of students in that grade/age group to do that task. A combination of RPI 70 and SS of 85 tells you that there's a big variation in how many kids have mastered this task at that grade level. And a combination of an RPI of 80 (in the normal range) and a SS of 75 tells you that there's not much variation - most of the kids have mastered that task.

    Ignore the AE (age equivalent) and GE (grade equivalent) scores. they are worthless.

    You want to see what they were assessing when they did the speech assessment and what testing instruments they used. Again you may need subtest scores to help interpret the results. In particular if they did the TOPL-2 look to see if they did the informal testing that looks at effective communication. If it was done and reported it should have been in the narrative description of results. It is reported as either a ratio (successful trials/attempts) or a percentage if it is reported at all. This part is not "normed" and has no standard score. But it is also an area that may show some serious problems in communication. If it's not reported ask the speech therapist who did the assessment if it was done but she didn't report it.

    A lot of kids in 4th are still struggling with division and long multiplication so that is not actually unusual.

    Spelling mistakes on small words is interesting and may signal an underlying learning disability or attention problems. Does she also have trouble with learning spelling strategies like using root words/prefixes/suffixes?

    It's also not uncommon for kids as late as 4th to make occasional reversal errors. Consistent reversals across all work samples is not normal.

    Occupational Therapist (OT) - well in our case my son still has significant coordination issues at 15. He is unable to ride a bike and can barely do a skateboard. But our experience was that, unless the kid can't walk across the room or has some obvious physical disability that requires adaptive PE, you will not continue to get Occupational Therapist (OT) through the school at that age. She should have been able to skip (in a traditional matter) by age 7 or 8 but my son still can't do that either. Can she cross the midline? If not then you may be able to make a case for continuing Occupational Therapist (OT).

    If you have work samples from her that suggest she is having more problems than are being reported I think you should bring them to the meeting and ask the teacher to address your questions. I did that when they told me my daughter could do multiplication and division in 4th grade. She could barely follow one step directions let alone do a division problem. The school had brought in the spanish teacher instead of her regular teacher as the general ed teacher for the meeting. I told them I didn't feel my daughter's grades were an accurate representation of her skills and the temperature in the room dropped to below freezing. They said - are you saying her report card grades are not accurate. I said yes that's what I'm saying. I passed out copies of my daughter's homework and the meeting was abruptly shut down by the principal who said that the classroom teacher needed to be there to defend herself. Duh.

    Bottom line is you need more info and you need to understand the info that you have/get. Wright's Law has an excellent tutorial on understanding test scores that you may find helpful if things like Standard Scores is new to you.

    Patricia
     
  8. Aylahmay

    Aylahmay New Member


    Wow, this ia my situation with the school for my oldest son. He was diagnosed by 2 different pychs with severe generalized anxiety and aspergers. The school say well he does so good here the dxes are wrong, we dont see it! I say at home its a mad house he crys doesnt want to go to school feels like everything is to hard and has issues with his peers. They got their own diagnosis and she said anxiety and bipolar. So I dont know what now, she said no to asperger's. So I had an iep today with my advocate, it ened up that we asked for mediation with the school and they said no mediation we can go to due process:( im so stressed but thats the last resort, I m only trying to help me son, these schools dont care, its sad and frusrating. they showed me some test scores and said she he doesnt qualifiy .
     
  9. keista

    keista New Member

    Document this. These are all accomodations that are turning her into that "happy at school, not disruptive and doing well academically" child. At the very least, she needs the 504 Give them this math lesson: child+a=:D child-a=:sad-very:

    I just don't get why schools want to pull IEPs. Schools get paid per child. Children with IEPs get more$ (not much, but every little bit helps) The more kids in a school with IEPs, the more $ a school gets.

    5th and 6th grade, my son kept his IEP but got no services except for the use of a laptop. The laptop could have been covered under 504, but why take away the IEP when he would more than likely need it in middle school? It stayed in place, school was happy, boy was happy, mom was happy.
     
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Her grades are irrelevant to her IEP. Anyone can write an A or a B on a report card. They need to document through testing and other means that she has met her IEP goals and that she no longer needs services to access her education.
     
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