I don't understand

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JLady, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    I met with the school this morning and told them to move forward with the referal for Special Education services for my AS 7 yr old. They didn't want to do it. I had already been in touch with the school board and found out about the program that could help my son. The school wanted the oppotunity to do more of the same which hasn't helped my son. They didn't feel like a referal for Special Education was good for him.

    I don't get it. Why wouldn't they want him to have services that would help him? They went ahead with the referal but it was clear they didn't like it.

    Now I'm second quessing the advice of the school board. Should I have NOT said to proceed forward? Is he now going to be labeled or is he going to be helped? I just don't understand why the school wouldn't want to help. Obviously what they have been doing isn't working. How is more of the same going to help? Why are they reluctant?

    Help me please. I just don't understand this stuff and I don't want to make my son worse than he already is.

  2. jal

    jal Member

    Usually when they are reluctant they do not want to spend the money. First of all what were their reasons for the reluctance to do a Special Education referral? Do you have an IEP in place currently? Is the program you mentioned in the same school as the school your difficult child attends? What are they doing to support him that they feel they can continue to do and is it helping in their opinion?
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Special Education is a service, not a place. The IEP, through services and accommodations specified, determines placement.

    As jal asked, does your son currently have an IEP? If so, you need to ask for an IEP review meeting and make clear that his needs are not being met in his current placement. I'd strongly recommend taking along an educational advocate or Special Education attorney to guide the proceedings.

    If your son does not currently have an IEP, you need to put IN WRITING and send CERTIFIED MAIL a request for a full and initial evaluation for the purpose of determining eligibility for special education and related services. This sets forth a timeline under which the school district must comply with evaluating your son.
  4. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    We do not have an IEP in place. You have to have the Special Education referal to determine eligibility before they will even do an IEP. That is what I am requesting. The placement testing and the evaluation is what I am asking them to proceed with.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You're asking them to put in place a process that will put them to some trouble and eventually a fair bit of paperwork as well as someone somewhere having to spend money. even if it's not thwir mooney, there is still some kudos to coming in under budget.

    A problem we have in our area (Australia) is the person who has the responsibility to ensure that kids are given adequate and appropriate support, is also the person who gets some sort of reward (in terms of professional kudos) for not spending the money over budget.

    That's why so often when kids get assessed by school counsellors, they average out the test results so the exteme high scores (indicating splinter skills and giftedness) and low scores (indicating learning problems) sipy disappear into a semblance of 'normality' so thye can say, "Well, the child's results aren't too bad, considering the IQis only average."
    It means TWO programs can get dropped - no need for extension, no need for special support. So a kid gets doubly frustrated, and falls through the cracks.

    It's just one more example of how a school system can try to be obstructive, without it being that much skin off their noses to get off their collective rear ends and do something to help the child.

    Please note - a good school system will not be obstructive, but will instead do their best to help you. But where you have one school not helping well, you can often find the rot has set in at a higher level and this affects a number of schools in the area. I've jsut spent the day at a school which bends over backwards to help kids with problems. But we also spent a number of years at a school which was NOT helpful, but with a district office which held the entire region captive to lack of support unless you really fought hard for it by kicking every rear end that got in the way, AND screaming to those higher up the ladder. Their reward for being obstructive - promotion.


    Go get 'em.

  6. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    They don't want to put in the leg work or spend the money! In the very beginning of my journey with my daughter way back when, I had to fight tooth and nail just to get an evaluation! Stand your ground and don't let them intimidate you. If you become a big enough thorn in their side and keep persistent, you'll get what you need. Don't give up. If you continue to have trouble you can contact your local Student Advocacy Board. They are lawyers who advocate for the needs of students. I have used them in the past. They are very persistent and will not allow the school district to shun your needs.

    Good luck :)
  7. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    First, no one puts a label on your child. His behavior will label him/her regardless of what any professional tells you.

    I never had a problem with getting services because difficult child was obviously in need but it is my understanding that if you feel your child needs evaluated or IEP that there is a process in place. Check in the Special Education forum and ask or search in the Special Education archive forums.
  8. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    I have more insight today. Aparently my contacting the school board and being put in touch with the head of the Autism program resulted in a few people getting their hands slapped. All year my son has had trouble and I have been taking him to many doctors during the year for testing. The typical initiation normally comes from the school. The school knowingly sat back and let me do it all at my own expense even though they knew there was a problem.

    The requests I was making should have been made by them long before my request. When we started going to doctors, we should have had some test scores from them (the school) to take with us.

    I talked with the head of Autism again today and she informed me of all of this and that she had instructed them to move ahead and get the child the services he needs. This will also take my son out of their school which doesn't break my heart at all.

    It's just wrong to confuse a parent that doesn't know what to do. To try to manipulate me was just an awful thing to do. Had I said not to test them (like they wanted me to), they would have reported back that I didn't want the testing. What an insane game they are playing. It is just wrong.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You actually did the right thing in my opinion. I had my son tested privately. I don't trust school diagnoses. My son is also on the spectrum and when our school district wouldn't send him to a school with the resources he needs, I called the State Dept. of Public Education to complain. The next day the school district's Special Education director called to assure me that L. would be transferred and bussed at their expense. I guess they got into trouble...hehe. The Dept. of Public Education can decide to run it's own investigation in the offending school district, which is NOT good for them, and can also withhold funds for the district. It's not something any school district wants to deal with. If a parent knows this and contacts them, the school district loses it's smugness very quickly.
    My sister is an aide for autistic kids at a public school and she sees the politics. Nobody in a particular school district will work in favor of a parent who wants to move a child--not the principal, not the superintendant, not the school board. They are all on the same team and they lose $$$ if a child is tested and then sent to a different district. It's a game. You sometimes have to go over the head of the entire school district to get what you want and that's when it's good to call the State Department of Public Education. I wouldn't hesitate to do so if this turns out less than what you want for your child. They weld a lot of power and usually help the parents over the school districts. Good luck!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Good point. Things happen slightly differently here, there is more interconnectedness in our state-funded education, so expenditure in one area isn't considered a waste if the child is transferred to another state-based school, anywhere in the state. And in general, our states are bigger than yours.

    Another problem to watch for in school-based testing - they have a vested interest in finding the child to be functioning well. It is not in their interests to find problems. So the school psychologists are taught to average out the sub-scores to give a final IQ score, IN ALL CASES even though the rtests temselves state that where there are large discrepancies in sub-scores, they shouldn't be averaged out.

    If you have akid who is gifted but learning disabled (a common finding in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)) then you can 'fudge' the test results and make the child seem more normal, by using the high score areas to mask the low score areas.
    Example - difficult child 3 scored about 17 in some areas of the test, and 6 in others. Since a child can't fake a high test result, the high score indicates his potential, what he would be capable of given support and maybe didn't have the autism. The low score indicates the extent to which his disability is having an impact on his ability to do the test. The wide gap indicates the degree of frustration he willconstantly experience, due to the odd combination of problems. Meanwhile his classroom performance in tests was near the top of the class, in most subject areas. However, his classroom performance was woeful. His ability to stay on task was shocking.
    The school counsellor presented me with the above results with the following statement: "He's really doing remarkably well, considering his IQ is only a little above average. I scored him as being about 110 IQ. So considering he came 2nd in Maths, I think we can relax a bit and not stress about him needing so much support."

    She had conveniently ignored a very recent test (copy given to her only two months earlier, so she should never had re-tested him, as I would have told her if she had asked for my permission to test, as she was required to do). The recent test had been conducted as part of a research project into finding ways to test kids with autism. They had only applied tests which were likely to not be compromised by factors related to the autism. Where some sub-tests were going to be a problem, these researchers found alternative tests and applied those. Their report made it clear that what they were after was a more accurate picture of the child's 'real' IQ, taking into account the likelihood of the child scoring low on the more standard tests in some areas. The report made it clear that more detailed testing would show the child's deficit areas, but their aim was to develop a more accurate testing procedure overall for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids. And on that test, difficult child 3 scored about 140 (confidence limits plus or minus 5). I'm working from memory here, I could be out a few either way.

    A big difference between 110, and 140. Because at 110, a kid is marginally above average, in maybe the top 40% of the population. But at 140, a child is in the top 1%. At 140, the school needs to support the child with extension in the high sckill areas, regardless of whether there are any associated learning problems. But where there ARE learning problems (as clearly identified in the low scores the school counsellor had found, and then tried to hide by averaging everything) then this doubles their work - they have to not only extent, they have to pprovide remedial support in the deficit areas.

    Much easier to just whitewash the lot and say, "there's no problem here." Then of course they're dealing with a frustrated kid who is struggling in some areas, bored in others.

    It really doesn't take much, just some individual assessment and consideration, to help a kid like this and make a big positive difference. But to alarge school, suchindividual attention requires input of time, effort and often some cost in terms of personnel man-hours. If this cost is nnot likely to see any valid return, r if there is a chance that such effort's need will be challenged by some penny-pioncher in an office miles away who never sees the light of day but just sits at a desk and pushes numbers around, then I can understand the school counsellor doing what she did.

    Doesn't mean I agree with it, or like it. But they are often trapped in their employment situation, they have to toe the line or get knuckles rapped.

    So whenever you're dealing with officials, always try to keep in mind - what is THEIR motivation? Who provides their pay check? What for? Where do their loyalties lie?

    Because when the chips are down and you desperately need some support from the people who tested your child, you don't want to have to ask for help from someone who is paid by the people you're arguing with.