IEP advice needed

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by flutterbee, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I posted this first on the General Board and was advised to repost here. A brief background on difficult child. She is in the 6th grade (age 11) diagnosis with chronic depression and severe anxiety. Recent neuropysch evaluation shows significant neurological deficincies in non-verbal areas, auditory procssing issues and mulit-sensory integration deficiencies. She also developed cluttering in her speech in the 2nd grade that has progressively worsened to the point where it is hard to understand her at times. Before the school can sit down for an IEP we have to go through an IAT (Intervention Assistance Team - or something similar). There are no evaluations done with an IAT and they narrow everything down to one or two issues that need to be addressed. They try that for 6 weeks and see how it goes. Yet, they are refusing to even start an IAT until they receive the report from the neuropysch - which I've been waiting on for over a month and have now been promised it by Tuesday. Further, they are (now) saying that they cannot provide speech therapy through the school district unless it adversely affects her education. Ummm...it affects her ability to GET to school because it really plays into her anxiety and is worse when her anxiety level is higher...just goes round and round.

    My original post:

    difficult child has not been to school for the last 3 days. After reading the other posts, this seems to be a popular thing this week.

    difficult child was homeschooled second half of last year. I call it homeschool, but it's actually an at home, internet-based pubic school. Her transition back to regular school was tough this year, but she's been making progress. During the transition she missed some school due to huge anxiety-induced meltdowns (curled up in the corner of the landing for 3 hours saying she wanted to die kinda thing). The guidance counselor called me and suggested that maybe she should be homeschooled again because it was too hard on the teachers when she missed. She also told me that they didn't want to have to turn me in for truancy and possibly have CPS involved. She changed her tune when I told her that as far as I was concerned the school district had some culpability in this. I have been communicating with the school district since the 2nd grade (difficult child is now in 6th) and they have done nothing except tell me that I was the one with the problem, not difficult child. Had they done the little things I had requested to help with her school anxiety, I really don't think it would have gotten this bad - and I do mean little things, like check her homework folder before she left to make sure she had her homework so she wouldn't panic at home when she forgot it which she did a lot - the teachers told me they didn't have time. Of course, the Student Services Director told me that if I asked them to do something like that, the teachers were required. By the way, when I made that request she had 2 teachers in her classroom all day with only 22 students.

    But I digress. I spoke with the therapist yesterday and she is recommending day treatment - checking on insurance coverage, so I'm not holding out much hope. She also mentioned a school for kids with Learning Disability (LD)'s (an hour away) where I might want to enroll difficult child temporarily to get a good IEP in place, because the process I have to go through with this school district is ridiculous and I know it's going to be a battle and will not be what is really needed.

    I talked to the guidance counselor today and repeated the above. I also told her that I was considering re-enrolling difficult child in the homeschool program because she just couldn't function. Now she says she thinks it's a bad idea. However, she does want her medicated. Hmmm....something I've been saying for a long time, but you know, I was the one with the problem, not difficult child. Now the guidance counselor is saying she doesn't understand why she's not on a mood stabilizer yet. I almost asked her if she was going to pay for it, but I stopped myself. Guidance counselor also hinted that I might want to put her in private school. Maybe the difference between the homeschooling and private school is the homeschooling is actually through a charter school and they then get the money we pay through property taxes for the school district rather than the school district getting it and that wouldn't be an issue if I put her in private school?

    The school district's attitude has always been exactly what her 3rd grade guidance counselor told me: "[difficult child] doesn't have a problem. You do." Even though I had been communicating with her middle school teachers and guidance counselor since day 1 of the school year (actually starting the week before school), they were shocked when I withdrew her from school last year. In fact, none of her teachers even noticed her speech problem, except her science teacher. All you have to do is speak with her for 5 seconds to notice it. How could you not notice it??? was my question.

    Anyway, I'm preparing myself for a battle I'm ill prepared to fight at the moment because of my lack of knowledge on the subject. Any advice, ideas is welcome and appreciated.
     
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Your school district is walking all over your rights and your difficult child's. Has been for years--will continue to unless you stop them.

    FIRST, you need to send a CERTIFIED letter to the school district requesting a full case study evaluation of all areas that may be impeding difficult child's progress in the general education curriculum. It only "counts" if you send it certified. All these discussions you have had over the years do not "count" because they are not in writing. Here is a link to a sample letter. If you do not have a "parent report," omit those references. However, you SHOULD write a parent report in my opinion because you have things you want noticed about your difficult child. Further, it will allow you to demonstrate that you are NOT the problem indirectly.
    http://www.conductdisorders.com/com...a-formal-request-for-iep-re-evaluation.22433/

    The school district must evaluate within 60 days OR take you to Due Process Hearing to show cause why they do not have to evaluate, i.e., follow the law. They cannot win, so unless the Director of Special Education is VERY stupid, they will not take you to DP over the evaluation. They can still do their IAT thing, but the clock is running on the evaluation. You DO NOT have to release your private evaluation unless you want to. It is not up to you to get evaluations to qualify your child for Sp. Ed. By law, that is the school's job. If you choose to release an independent evaluation (IE), then they must "consider it." If they do not have their own neuropsychologist evaluation., then they do not have much evidence against yours. If I were you, I would want to see their evaluation before deciding whether or not to release yours.

    In a fair world, your child would already HAVE an IEP. In keeping her home last year, you did the school district a big favor in my opinion no matter what it did for your daughter. The school district practice is not research based: research says that the longer a child with anxiety successfully avoids school, the less likely it is that the student will ever return.

    If you want to educate your daughter privately, that is your right. However, that the school district would effectively put your daughter out of school and then threaten you with truancy laws is just disgusting. by the way, truancy laws are rarely enforced at all and when there is a medical problem involved, the enforcement is even less. This is a coercive threat, pure and simple in my opinion.

    So, what do you do with you daughter while this evaluation is being conducted? That is up to you but you might want to ask for a meeting to work out some of the problems you mention while the evaluation is in process. All you are required to do is make your daughter reasonably available to their evaluators. If she is in the hospital locally, that is still "available." Heck, my school district traveled 2400 miles round trip to evaluate my son when his psychiatrist said he could not return to the school district for evaluation without endangering his health. I signed the consent forms and told them the clock was running AND produced the psychiatrist’s letter. The school district COULD have declined to travel to evaluate, but then they would have been out of compliance on a three year re-evaluation. They did not want to be seen as out of compliance as attorneys were involved, so they traveled. I make this point because if your school district says they can't evaluate, you just say that she is available and it puts the ball back in their court.

    Without putting this request in writing and sending it CERTFIED, you will continue to get the same run-around. Need I add that since you appear willing to remove your child, they are hoping that with enough procrastination on their part, you will do that.

    You can read the Archives of Sp Ed 101 to learn about many of the common questions parents starting the process have. In addition, I recommend www.wrightslaw.com as a good source for parent self-education.

    If you start the process, we, on the board, can support your efforts with information and encouragement. However, you have to stop your school district from abusing your rights and start demanding what your daughter needs to succeed first.

    Martie
     
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    My school district starting throwing out the word retention very soon after my son started missing parts of days due to anxiety. Mind you, this was for a kid that was ahead of his peers in nearly every subject--you can just imagine the scene that would have been had they tried to retain my son in first grade who was reading at a 5th grade level and could spell circles around most of the 5th graders too. :wink:

    Some things that can be helpful is to make sure that you have had her seen by an MD to write a supporting letter that these absences are due to anxiety disorder (a justifiable medical reason) and not just truant. It also might help to get the ball rolling for a homebound instructor if she's truly not able to handle full days right now until services can be put into place for her. You will also probably need to play hard ball with the school about getting her assignments/make up covered. Once you get that certified letter sent then you can get the counselor to work out a plan with the teachers because of the pending evaluation.
     
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Thank you for the advice. I'll be sending them a certified letter next week. I was hoping since she is seeing a therapist recommended by the guidance counselor, who is wonderful by the way (the therapist), and they have had a lot of contact with her therapist that it would be much more of a cooperative project with the school district. I was wrong.
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    These intervention teams were a good idea on paper, but the fact is, unless an appropriate evaluation(s) is performed the underlying problems are not usually identifiable.


    [ QUOTE ]
    I was wrong.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    There are school district's that do what they are suppose to do. Ours wasn't one of them either.

    It's a real downer when a parent learns their trust has been misplaced, but just go forward.
     
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