IEP and scared

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by gabby, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. gabby

    gabby New Member

    One of my dearest friends led me to this forum as I have been struggling with our school for appropriate placement for the oldest of the 2 children I adopted recently. This battle with the school has been ongoing for nearly 4 years now. And recently I have obtained the results of his evaluation - which was heartbreaking. Most of it I expected. But I was hopeful.
    His IEP is scheduled for Wed. to review the results. I do have an advocate that is going with me that I hired under the advice of my attorney.
    I spoke with the school SW regarding the results and the psychologist's recommendations (that he be placed elsewhere). The SW stated that the team is split - some suggest a special school and others prefer to ammend his IEP.
    He is already in Learning Disability (LD) classes - support for reading. He was originally recieving help for math but they pulled that.
    They never tell me what his Learning Disability (LD) is - they just say specific Learning Disability (LD). It infuriates me. He's now 11 and in 5th grade. I believe he's dyslexic - that couldn't be more clear. He has great difficulty with reading, spelling, writing, and math. His reading comprehension is not even at the primer level according to the results. Math is limited to basic add/sub. Processing speed is a 70. His short term memory is very low as well. He also has a diagnosis of bipolar - though relatively stable on medications.
    I worry that I may have a difficult time getting him into a Learning Disability (LD) school even with the advocate. Everything with them is a battle. When he was in 2nd grade he was threatening suicide - that's when the school decided to get him an IEP - despite my begging for one the 6 months prior to that.
    He's clearly sinking. I see it every day he comes home from school. And my heart aches.
    Is there anything else I can do to ensure he gets what he needs? If the team is split and they don't let him go to a different school what can I do - or is my only other alternative due process?
    I'm scared. And I don't want to fail my son.
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Hi, I am sorry you are feeling so scared. I understand how that works...

    I think it is very good that you already have an advocate going with you...I hope he/she is knowledgeable. Not all advocates are, but it is NEVER a good idea to go to an IEP meeting alone.

    Here is what I would suggest: (I have been suggesting this a lot lately) becasue it is in line wht new "Best Practices:"

    Look at his current IEP. Are the goals written in a measureable format? If not, they need to be re-written. If they are, where is their CURRENT data on difficult child's progress toward achieving goals. It is February, they can ardly say they have no data (UNLESS OF COURSE THEY HAVE NONE!!!)

    If you "lose" on an alternative placement, then try to negotiate a REALLY short time form (4 weeks) for the school to SHOW measurable progress on the IEP goals. This is why they must be re-written as measurable. If they cannot show progress, then you are in a MUCH stronger position to assert denial of FAPE. IDEA 2004 requires mechanisms to be in place that can be used prior to due process. These include mediation, a complaint letter to your Stat Board of Ed and binding arbitration...the exact mechanism depends upon the state.

    Due process is very costly both financially and emotionally. You still have several things you can do before you have to make that decision.

    Let us know what happens...

  3. gabby

    gabby New Member

    Thank you for replying:D

    I've gone to all IEP's alone until this school year. I usually left them in tears.
    The advocate seems knowledgeable - she does. But when we speak she seems to be all over the place - and that makes me nervous. She did well at the IEP she accompanied me to - she actually got the team to agree to retest my son earlier than was indicated. And she was very thorough when reviewing all of his past IEP's.
    Yet, I fret. This is my child's future.
    His current IEP goals are measureable - the advocate made sure that happened at the meeting in Oct. Some of the previous goals were vague.
    I do take issues with the goals though, because my son has very poor retention. Fine, he meets the goals - which is good, great, and wonderful according to the school, because he is making "progress". But I disagree because down the road it's lost, literally as if he has never learned it. They don't, or won't, take that into consideration.
    This is a good idea. Perhaps I could incorporate retention as a marker of progress as well.
    I'd forgotten that the advocate had mentioned mediation several months back. I am so frustrated and overwhelmed it seems I'm just jumping right to the end. bah.
    Thank you for the info, I appreciate it.
  4. Peanut

    Peanut New Member

    Hey you ... make sure to let me know how the IEP goes. I'll keep ya'll in my thoughts in the meantime.
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    These meetings can be very intimidating. It helps me to remember that no matter how many people representing the school district are at the meeting, there's only two "votes" -- one for the parent and one for the school district.

    The school district evaluation report should give information on this. If you don't have a copy of it, request it.

    If you need information on interpreting test scores in reports, let us know. Actually, I believe there is a link on Understanding Test scores (or something to that effect) in the Sp Ed Archives.

    Hi Peanut! Great to hear from you.
  6. gabby

    gabby New Member

    that is a good way to look at it - I get very overwhelmed at the number of people that are there for the school. gah. I feel very out-numbered.
    your way of looking at it carries a less overwhelming feeling.
    actually it doesn't. i have read it over and over. it describes his strengths and weaknesses - but it does not list what his Learning Disability (LD)'s specifically are.
    additionally, they refuse to give him a diagnosis of dyslexia; claiming that they do not diagnose dyslexia.
    i find it funny that they are unable to do that - but were rather quick to tell me they believed he had adhd and inquired about the possibility of having him put on medications. ironic, no?
    And I'll def go check out the link you mentioned in the archives - thank you!
    I love you :love-very: I'll call you after the meeting.
  7. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    If this is a recent report and you do not agree with it for any reason, you have the right to request an IEE - Independent Education Evaluation (see archives). It's at school district expense.

    If the report does not contain scores, you have a right to that information.

    The school district has the right to ask you why you do not agree with their evaluation, but you do not have to say anything except "I do no agree with it." IEEs must meet the criteria set forth for school districts. They ask this question in order to limit the depth of the IEE.
  8. gabby

    gabby New Member

    The evaluation does have scores. But it doesn't have something like - dyslexia. His word reading score was 75. I expected that - but is it because of phonics, trouble decoding - I want to know why.
    for example - he can be presented with the word "basketball" and he'll read "balloon" but why?

    Am I failing to get this or do they not tell you why?

    Math he is only able to successfully solve basic addition/subtraction. And I want to know why.

    Is this all related to his processing speed? he scored only 70.
    Why aren't they telling me this?

    If I can't fiure out where he is having trouble /and/ why - how am I going to be able to help him.

    They say he learns best visually and auditorily - but that still poses an issue because of retention and short term memory problems.

    Maybe I'm wrong in wanting to know the exactly what is going on. I'm not even going to pursue the how come this happened questions the school district is raising - they want a neuro evaluation to see if the abuse with his bio parents caused this. But realistically that isn't going to solve what's happening right now. I can determine the why's and how comes later.
    My mindset is this: as a nurse if I have a patient with shortness of breath it's determined why before it's treated, because the course of treatment for a collapsed lung will be different that a patient with asthma.
    Is this not what they do with Learning Disability (LD)'s?

    I faxed all of his results to the advocate - the IEP is on Wed at 10, but she couldn't get me in to meet with her until 9 on Wed. So I have my list of questions and expectations ready for the team.

    I have been trying to compare the current results with the results from 2005 - and it would figure that the 2 psychologists used some different tests.

    God. I feel so lost.
  9. gabby

    gabby New Member

    Well, I had the IEP today. It lasted 2 1/2 hours. But I have GREAT news. They are allowing my son to transfer schools. AND they told me that I can choose whatever school I want that is going to be able to best his needs. I am so happy, so relieved. I can finally get him the help he needs.

    They also explained the whole specific Learning Disability (LD) thing thoroughly to me - so I feel better about understanding it now.

    Thank you all for helping and listening.
  10. dyslexia

    dyslexia New Member

    schools in some states won't diagnose dyslexia they just call it a reading disability! which i feel is wrong!
  11. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Welcome to the board Dyslexia. Why don't you start your own thread and introduce yourself. Let us know what your situation is, what brought you to us, your family make-up, diagnoses in the family, etc. You have found a great place but old threads tend to get overlooked. General Parenting might be a good place unless your difficult child(s) are preschoolers.

    Welcome. Let us get to know you.
  12. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I have GOT to start always double checking the dates on the original posts. This one is another old one with a sudden out of nowhere reply from a new member.

    sorry. deleted my previous reply.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sounds to me like you need to get an independent evaluation done.
    That person would take all prior testing into account, then re-run the older tests to get a better comparison etc.
    This would at least give apples-to-apples info.
    Ideally, this person would also specifically test for and diagnose LDs...