IEP - Maybe?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Lillyth, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. Lillyth

    Lillyth New Member

    We had our first IEP Meeting last week.

    So there is good news and bad news.

    The good news is that he *does* qualify for Special Education services based on his ADD. So, he gets 45 minutes per week of private instruction, modified assignments, and a behavior support plan. This is a good thing.

    The bad news is that they are not accepting his diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. (Yes, you read that correctly - these are non-medical personal making a decision to disregard a MEDICAL diagnosis).

    Why you ask?

    Well, that depends on who you ask.

    If you ask the school district, they will tell you that because the diagnosis was from a doctor at the Amen Clinic, they are circumspect because "everyone" who comes out of there ends up with a diagnosis of ADD and Asperger's.

    Never mind that these are probably the bulk of the people who go to see them. I mean: Hello! If your child is normal, happy & healthy with no problems, you are probably not going to drop $3,500 to go get them evaluated, are you?

    Never mind that MY portion of the district's evaluation showed Adam to have Aspie tendencies - their response? "We are concerned with how Adam behaves in an educational setting, and since his teacher's portions of the evaluation came back normal, that is what we are going by".

    If you ask ME, they are doing this because children on the Autism Spectrum are eligble for a ton of services that no one else qualifies for and they are expensive. The school district is broke, and doesn't want to pay for any of that.

    Oh, and they found him NOT to have dyslexia, despite the fact they are not qualified to diagnose it!!!

    So I signed the IEP, and checked the box that says "I agree with the IEP, with the exception of ___________". In that blank I wrote: "Mother disagrees with portions of PsychoEd Assessment that says Adam is not Learning Disabled or does not have Asperger's & would like to pursue further assessment."

    When I handed this to Adam's resource teacher, she refused to begin services for Adam until she checks with her boss to make sure we can go forward with the IEP now that I have written that.

    I can certainly see her point (she does not want to get in trouble with her boss), but if you know anything about an IEP, I can say I agree ONLY with the services they offer, and agree that those should go forward, but that I disagree with everything else. That is my legal right as a parent.

    We'll see what they say on Monday.

    Also, I called the Department of Ed on Friday, and spoke with a lday for an hour. She is mailing me a complaint form. She told me that the school district has NO business refusing to accept a medical diagnosis because they are not medical doctors. I think this could potentially be a class action law suit, as I know at least one other Aspie parent that the SFUSD has done this too. It sounds to me like the district does this to lots of other parents.

    The lady at the Department of Ed further advised me to make sure they write into the IEP notes "Parents submitted documentation of:" and then list all the diagnoses.

    I have asked them to do this, and dropped the list off today.

    They are very tricky, the school district - they kept telling me "the services cannot being until you sign off on the IEP". They are trying to get me sign off on & agree with the measly 45 minutes per week, so I can't come back & ask them for more, which is exactly what I am going to do.

    Some of the parents here suggested I get Adam re-evaluated at a hospital, that way the school district can't come back and say that "everyone" who goes there comes out with that diagnosis. We have an appointment on December 3rd - this was the soonest I could get.

    In the meantime, I have a son who has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, who is getting NOTHING in the way of support for it.

    I got a call from Adam's RSP teacher after school today, saying she had gotten a hold of Dr. Mills (the Assessment Admin) this afternoon and that she would either try me later this afternoon or hook up with me tomorrow morning.

    This can't be good, right?

    I mean, if Dr. Mills okayed the services, wouldn't she have just said that?

    So now I get to worry overnight. Great.

    I KNOW that they are supposed to go ahead and start the services as soon as they have my signature, no matter what else I want amended (section 300.300 (b)(3), and that is all well and good to say that, but in the meantime, Adam just gets further & further behind.

    So, if they say no go tomorrow morning, what should I do?
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

  3. Lillyth

    Lillyth New Member

    Thank you for the link.

    When I spoke to the lady at the Dept. of Ed, she told me the same thing.

    I was wanting to hold off on requesting the IEE until I heard back about whether or not they accept the IEP.

    My reasoning was that I hoped they would let the IEP ride as it is, so that my son could get services, but that if I submitted my request in writing before they began services, they might be less likely to give him the services he qualifies for (if that makes sense).

    I guess we will find out tomorrow morning what they say...
  4. Superpsy

    Superpsy New Member

    Hi Lillyth, some things to consider…

    The school district has to consider outside evaluations and diagnoses but is not mandated to automatically assume the outside diagnosis/evaluation is the "highest" source of information. The school district should weigh all information. It does not matter whether or not it is a medical diagnosis. For example, I've gotten numerous doctors' prescription notes with diagnoses of ADHD, Learning Disability (LD) etc. etc. and to be quite honest they are regarded as one source of information. Two major questions have to be answered: 1. does the student have a disability (as defined by IDEA: educational guidelines) 2. Does the disability have an adverse educational impact? The school district does its own evaluation and the diagnoses are weighed but decisions are not made solely on one professional's opinion; medical professional or no.

    Having said that, the school district should not weigh eligibility on only one piece of information, for example, the teacher evaluation while ignoring parent input AND medical doctor's diagnosis.

    The school most likely did not do 'dyslexia testing.' While dyslexia is recognized as a disability under IDEA there is some controversy in the educational field about whether or not it is a separate disorder from the broad category of reading disability. This is beside the point; most likely what happened is difficult child didn't meet the criteria as a student with a reading disability. If you still suspect this is an area of difficulty for him then an IEE (dyslexia specific or not) would definitely be in order.

    It is most definitely your right to disagree with the IEP and the evaluation results. Like I mentioned in another thread I think you did the right thing by signing; but with the statement of disagreement. I would request another IEP meeting until the issue is resolved; although it sounds like you disagree with the IEP recommendations because of the evaluation results. I would go ahead and request an IEE at district expense.

    I'm sure services cannot begin without your signature (but it sounds like you signed?). You can definitely ask for more services or ask to review the IEP at any time.

    Hope this helps….

    How did the meeting go?
  5. Lillyth

    Lillyth New Member

    The thing that is very confusing to me is that, if we are to determine whether or not my son is disabled under IDEA, how are we assess him as on the autism spectrum other than through a medical diagnosis?

    I have heard from other parents in my Aspie support group that the school district has done this to them as well. Basically said 'we won't accept your diagnosis'. I also spoke with a an independent PsychoEd evaluator, and she said she has heard this same complaint from many parents of children on the autism spectrum, some with full-blown autism who could do little more than sit in a corner & drool on themselves, and the school district still came back & said 'no, your child does not qualify as autistic".

    I will be requesting an IEE soon. I want to make sure I know exactly which tests I want done before I submit that request in writing.

    In the meantime, we DO have an IEP, and so my son does get *some* services while we are waiting to get another evaluation.

    I have also contacted the Disability Rights Education Defense Fund, and told them my concerns about children on the autism spectrum being summarily dismissed in our school district.

    I do know one parent of an autistic child who had to file TWO separate lawsuits against the district in order to get any services.

    I fear the same fate...
  6. Superpsy

    Superpsy New Member

    I definitely understand what you're saying...In my mind (take that as you will) IDEA eligibility decisions are considered educational decisions regardless of the disability because one of the major questions the school district has to answer is, "Is there an adverse effect on the student's education?" Theoretically a student with clinically diagnosed ADHD and Aspergers functioning at age and grade appropriate level in all academic areas may not meet IDEA criteria. Now, I personally wouldn't want to be on a team that made this decision and we know that a student like I described is very rare indeed...but it is possible this is the school's thinking.

    Also, what is the documentation that you have for the Autism Spectrum? I've seen "documentation" be a diagnosis written on a prescription note, a letter, a handwritten note from the doctor, a diagnostic intake form, a screening scale etc. etc. If I were the school district I would prefer a full medical report or psychoeducational or neuropsychologist report.

    What I do not understand is how the school district is willing to provide services for ADHD having an effect on his education but not the Autism Spectrum. I think it would be pretty difficult for the school to say, "well his education in this area is being affected by ADHD NOT Autism Spectrum..." Additionally, schools should not dismiss diagnoses out of hand; each child (on an IEP) should get an individualized plan based on needs. That is why theoretically 2 students with the exact same diagnosis may not have similar plans.

    I'm sorry that the school district is doing this. It sounds like you do have documentation of the Autism Spectrum and I'm fairly certain that this will affect his education. Good luck, hope I was able to help a little and brainstorm why the school district may be acting this way.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My guess -- and I'm not passing judgment at all -- is that your school district is reluctant to accept the AS diagnosis from Dr. Amen because his SPECT scans are not considered mainstream medicine.
  8. Lillyth

    Lillyth New Member

    You are spot on. The school district Admin has a "hate on" for Amen Clinics. The funny thing is that the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis came straight from the DSM criteria, and NOT from the scans.

    But when I talked to the lady at the Dept. of Ed, she told me that she didn't care if they were mainstream or not, the school district had NO business invalidating an actual medical diagnosis...

    I will say though, the the Asperger's diagnosis was the first thing ANYONE said to me that made any freakin' sense whatsoever...
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  9. Lillyth

    Lillyth New Member

    I've re-read what I wrote, and it comes off a bit vent-y. I am only venting at the school district, not at you, or even SDs in general. Just my particular one...

    Our school district is notorious for only accepting their evaluations and no one else's. I have also heard from a number of sources that kids on the autism spectrum are often blown off as not having an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) -- one evaluator even told me she had seen kids that the school district had said were not autistic, and all they could do was sit in a corner and drool!

    The problem is that my child is NOT functioning at grade level. Or rather, he sort of is. Meaning that on the Woodcock Johnson, he scored pretty much around grade level, BUT for the past two years, he has only been able to complete 25% of school work MAX, and even that is a struggle. He comes home all the time complaining about how hard it is.

    I think the other thing that is at play here is that kids on the autism spectrum are the one classification of children for whom the 22 point differential (7%) does not apply. So if they accept that he has Asperger's then he is eligible for all these services.

    What he gets right now with the ADD costs them NO money - he gets 45 mins/wk with the Resource Teacher (onsite, no extra funding). While that is great, and better than nothing, I still think he needs more.

    The documentaion is a full six-page medical report from the diagnosing doctor.

    Also, a lot of his misbehavior can be easily attributed to the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Like the time he corrected a child for saying his dad was a millionaire by pointing out he lived in the poor houses. The school sent him home that day for bullying. In retropect, it explains why Adam was so confused the whole time after and kept insiting that they kid did live in the poor people's houses, so how could pointing that out be wrong, especially when the other kid was lying...

    As for it being an educational decision vs. one based soley on the diagnosis, I am right there with you. Kids on the autism spectrum are eligble for phys. ed should they need it. I'm not asking for it because Adam doesn't need any.

    Every parent I have heard from who got the services they need for their child in my school district has had to take their child for outside testing & pay for it out of their own pocket. And, one parent even told me that though her son qualifies for 3 hours/wk of reding recovery (he has dyslexia), the school district actually said this year that they couldn't afford it, so they would just "check on him in the lunch room". He is currently getting 1 1/2 hours/wk, and they are suing the school district.

    Sorry to go on & on like this.

    While it seems that you have the spirit of the law close to your heart, I do not think they school district Admins in our district do. At least that is my take after hearing so many negative things from so many other parents.
  10. Superpsy

    Superpsy New Member

    Sorry, that wasn't my intention; I apologize that I came off that way. If I sounded vent-y it's probably because I'm upset at the school district. It's discouraging to see how some SDs treat parents and students. I think in trying to guess what the school district is thinking I came off as defending their actions (I didn't think you were attacking me or other SDs). I didn't mean to do this...just wanted to give what insight I could into the school district's process (based on my experiences).

    It's nice to see so many parents on this board who are willing to advocate for their children and I wish they didn't meet with such resistance from the school district. Sorry for the venty-ness. =)
  11. Lillyth

    Lillyth New Member

    I didn't take it that way at all. I took it for what it was - you trying to be helpful.

    I just wish the higher-ups in our school district were more like you...
  12. Superpsy

    Superpsy New Member

    ha, I just re-read what I responded to. I read: "I've re-read what I wrote" to be "I've re-read what you wrote." I thought you were saying I was being vent-y.:redface: Now that that's all cleared up!
  13. Lillyth

    Lillyth New Member

    How funny...

    I've always been bad about re-reading my posts. I am much more of the "hit send the instant I quit typing" ilk myself, so I can totally relate.

    Oh, and I spoke to a SpEd attorney today, one who is familiar with our school district, and when I told her what the Assessment Admin said about the diagnosis, she laughed, and said that sounded just like her, and that she can be very "offensive" that way.

    She also told me that what will most likely happen after I get my child re-assesed by yet another hospital, and it comes back the same diagnosis, the Admin will most likely "blow that off too"...

    Oh well.

    The atty DID make one really good point, and that was that his IEP just started, and I need to give it a chance to work (or not) before I go trying to say that the school district needs to accept his diagnosis. Because maybe what they have will work.

    She also gave me a list of things to watch for that would tell me if they really are missing the Aspie boat on this one and when to start insisting they work with it.

    In the meantime, I will be requesting an IEE, because the bottom line is that I don't trust the woman who did the assessing. She missed Learning Disability (LD) in two other kids I know who have it WAY more severely than my son...
  14. NoMoreTrust

    NoMoreTrust New Member

    Depending on your school district, be ready for the long haul. We have tried everything for the past 1+ year after receiving a private diagnose of Asperger's, as well as a recent IEE (school district paid evaluation) of same. They still say there is no autism.

    I believe the problem is money, and extra services that come with autism. Just more reason for them to "fight".
  15. Lillyth

    Lillyth New Member

    Yeah. There are things that children on the autism spectrum qualify for that no one else does under IDEA, and that stuff is expensive!

    No wonder they want to say no autism!

    I wonder if I should even bother...