How would you approach this school district meeting?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by jal, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. jal

    jal Member

    I first posted last October, but haven't been around until yesterday, but I have been lurking. We had been in limbo...A little refresher on my situation...difficult child began issues around 18 months - 2 yrs of age. Been through 3 daycares, loads of professionals. In Aug 06 difficult child, then 4, diagnosed with ADHD. Tried Metadate (bad reaction), took him back to psychologist and was told he was Bipolar. Tried Risperdal (it didn't help). Meanwhile psychologist "dropped" us because we questioned Bipolar diagnosis. (He is very well known and respected in ADHD community). Meanwhile set up a meeting with the school district to evaluate my son and see if he qualified for Special Education preschool. (This was done at the urging of his daycare providers). They found upon initial meeting/evaluation that all behaviors etc. were out of the norm. During this time we began seeing a child psychiatrist. She said he's not Bipolar but he's ADHD. Began Ritalin LA in am and a Ritalin booster in the afternoon. By the time they did the field evaluation of him at daycare and spoke with the teachers before our 2nd school district meeting he had been on the Ritalin and showed some improvement. They found that now on Ritalin all behaviors are in the norm and he did not qualify. Daycare was finding that by 11am he was totally melting down and the afternoon booster wasn't touching him. He was taking Ritalin LA at 6:45am and it was supposed to last around 8 hours. We dropped this psychiatrist for reasons I won't go into and have started with a new psychiatrist last month. We really like him. He is working with an evolving diagnosis of Bipolar. difficult child is now on 5mg Abilify 1x day. Daycare has said ODD behavior greatly improved, difficult child being able to better maintain control of temper However they find him flitting from activity to activity, not completing "projects", seems anxious. (This was present before too, as we have seen it, but the ODD overshadowed it at school). psychiatrist wants to stabilize Bipolar before working on ADHD (We agree). Daycare teacher been in constant contact with preschool sp-ed teacher as we were to revisit difficult child's situation this month. Daycare teacher called last night and we have a meeting with elem school principal, kindergarten teacher, evaluation team, daycare teacher and difficult child next week. She wants to make sure that if anything happens when difficult child goes to kindergarten that he will have services in place if need be. She loves difficult child and knows what a bright, smart child he is (as do we) and doesn't want him to fall through the cracks in school district (same as us, as we have been fighting for 2.5yrs). My question is how should we approach this meeting? What should I expect? Has anyone ever looked at putting an IEP in place for a child getting ready to enter kindergarten? They evaluated him in Sept. and said he didn't qualify - is this just to make them aware that he "may"need something? difficult child will enter kindergarten in Sept of this year.
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I have to go to work and can't answer in full, but school district are obligated to transition preschoolers with IEPs into K--so yes, lots of children enter K on IEPs.

    There is an issue here that Sheila may be able to give you links for. You do NOT have to medicate your child for school. It is beside the point that you want to at this point. I do not think that a school district can say, "no disability" when the behavior is "somewhat improved" by medications. Getting medications right is a long road for many and your child needs the support and protection of an IEP while this is happening.

    When parents of "old" kids on this board talk about what they would do differently, most say, "deal sooner with the school in regard to sp. ed. now that I know my rights." No one says, "I wish I had believed the school and let me child suffer for a few more years."

    Your difficult child is lucky that you are so proactive in my opinion.

  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    An evaluation to see if difficult child qualified for pre-school may not necessarily be the same as a full and initial evaluation under IDEA regs.

    If you didn't get a copy of the school district's written report, you need to get one.

    You might want to do a short parent report for your child and deliver it to whomever you will be meeting with. BUT, I'd also send a copy of it to the Special Education Director by Certified Mail. If you requested a full and initial evaluation previously, this will be your 2nd notice to the school district that difficult child is a student with a disability and proactive measures should be taken.

    I'd want to include a brief history of how the medication was temporarily successful but medications had to be changed, they are still being adjusted, difficult child is under the care of a psychologist/psychiatrist, private evaluation history, etc.

    You'll find a link to a short version of a Parent Report at the bottom of (Portrait of Michael). is written for ADHD, but it could be applicable to a number of neurological disorders.

    ADHD in School

    The school environment--with its schedules and assignments, its long stretches of desk work, its emphasis on writing--all too often becomes a battleground to the child with ADHD.

    The battle of the classroom can't be won with medication alone. It's only the initial building block. Study after study shows that medication alone doesn't improve academic achievement.

    Medication doesn't teach anything; it simply removes a major barrier to learning. If the classroom environment doesn't support the specific needs of the child with ADHD, most of the benefits of medication will be wasted.

    ...ADHD children will likely need more individual attention in and out of the classroom....

    Let us know how it goes.
  4. jal

    jal Member

    Thank you Shelia. I do have copies of difficult child's reports and I will take a look at the links you provided.
  5. SchPsych

    SchPsych New Member

    A newbie to this board...but from what I understand about the law and practices where I work, a child can be and is classified "Other Health Impaired" with a medical diagnosis, regardless of whether or not the child takes medication. Medicating your child is always at the parent's discretion, so a child study team cannot force you to medicate them unless it is so severe that it could be viewed as neglect on your part to let them experience life in a way that is so psychologically damaging that it is unfair to the child. Keep in mind also that children that are not medicated usually are viewed as "behavior problems" in school - disorganized, unprepared, talkative, etc. and teachers will pursue putting them in more restrictive settings, such as resource room or self-contained. Is that right or o.k. to do to a child, no. Do I think a good teacher could probably manage some children with ADHD if they aren't medicated? Yes. But it has to be a very good teacher who is dedicated to helping, not worrying about how hard it is on them to help your child. I've seen both sides of the coin...
    My advice would be to go into the meeting looking to get an IEP for kindergarten, a request for a patient, dedicated teacher for next year who you can keep constant contact with, and demand that the group comes up with a behavior plan that will meet the needs of your child. You don't want a phone call every time there is some minor issue. You want them to try to resolve it at school or else your child will think there will be a call home every time they are "a problem." The group should be able to say, "when this happens, we will try to do ___,______,and ______." Then they need to document what happened when they tried those interventions (and they need to try them more than once). If those interventions don't work, then the group can sit down again and brainstorm new interventions. Don't let them automatically tell you that your child is too difficult. They need to prove they are doing everything in their power to help on a daily basis. And please review the special education law book for parents that explains you legal rights. They should be provided to you at every meeting that involves an IEP. That will tell you what you can demand, so that the school district does not force you into any bad situations. Hope that helps...
  6. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Welcome SchPsych

    We generally recommend either specific link or The state parents' rights books are confusing and very incomplete.

    The best book for parents who are really into "managing" their child's education is Wright & Wright, From Emotion to Advocacy. it is very tactically comprehensive as well as contain information on testing and other topics such a NCLB.

    Welcome to our world.