Is than an IEP Placement Issue or Not?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by tee2, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. tee2

    tee2 New Member

    I originally came to this site many years ago because of my difficult child who's 15 now. Ten years later, here I am again because of my 2nd child, who's 5 and has her share of anxiety issues.

    She's been in the county's Special Education preschool program at a local elementary school for 3 years. She is transitioning to Kindergarten next year. This school and everyone there have been terrific -- far different from the other school and personnel I dealt with with my difficult child.
    Last year, her teacher raised the idea of her staying at this school for Kindergarten, rather than going to her base school. The principal was receptive.

    She has selective mutism, along with other things in the anxiety family. The teachers, the school psychiatric all agree. We haven't sought outside treatment for many reasons. But the school has been great in working with me to help her, and we've seen progress. They've also seen the regression from things beyond anyone's control -- illness, a substitute teacher, strangers entering the room, etc. So, they have experienced, and acknowledged, firsthand how important things like familiarity, structure, change only one thing at atime, are. Everyone there, including the Special Education team, agree it is best for her to stay there. The school's testing, because the psychiatric took the time to get familiar with her first, was able to show her true, very high, IQ -- the highest the school psychiatric had ever administered!

    It is only in the last 6 months or so as I have gotten to know her teacher better than I realized how huge the discrepancy between the child the school sees (very quiet, non-responsive) and the "real" child is. I showed a video to the teacher and she was stunned! In the 3 years she's been at that school, she has made slow progress -- but she's still got a long, long way to go.

    The school did continue to qualify her, using the ED label, and we're in the process of writing her IEP for Kindergarten. Some "IEP expert" at the school decided that her placement -- to keep her at this school -- was not an IEP issue. The school psychiatric feels strongly that it is (I haven't spoken to her about this yet, but hope to today). I feel strongly that it is also.

    Why on earth would it not be an IEP issue?

    The base school is an all-day program, larger classes, with all completely unfamiliar people and territory. I know that some kids in this situation might not, but I KNOW my child is going to feel a complete sense of loss and abandonment inside. All at once, every support she has ever known -- emotional or physical -- will be taken away. She NEEDS, BECAUSE of her disability that qualified her for the ED label (I didn't like that label, but that said that's where anxiety fit), to stay at this school because it provides what she needs.
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Yes, it is an IEP issue.
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Of course placement is an IEP issue. Be sure to have the IEP team describe in detail the kind of program she needs (basically describing the current school) and include that an all-day program was discussed and determined inappropriate to meet her emotional/behavioral needs. While, in theory, her placement in "special education Kindergarten" would give the district the freedom to put her either place, a very detailed list of what is necessary in her program should eliminate any other place from consideration.

    Be sure to be very detailed. Both Kanga and Eeyore had non-IEP placement changes forced on me (when I was first learning to navigate IEP-land many years ago) because we weren't detailed enough in our description of the program, we just said he'd go to "developmental kindergarten", well they changed the definition of developmental kindergarten to be inclusion instead of self-contained -- you think that would be a major change, yes?? They didn't. So now I make sure it says exactly what subjects and how many minutes of instruction are provided in each environment (self-contained v. inclusion).

    Unless that "IEP expert" is on her IEP team, they don't get a vote (other than what influence they hold over her IEP members).
  4. tee2

    tee2 New Member

    Thanks for the replies!

    She (the Pryamid Resource Specialist (PRS) for the current school) has already "gotten to" the principal, and convinced her that she cannot pursue it as an IEP issue. So who do I go to to go over this person's head?

    I like the idea of her IEP team describing in detail what she needs, in effect describing the current school, but that's what got us into this in the first place, I think. They went to the PRS for advice on some wording to use in the IEP, then the PRS announced it wasn't an IEP issue. At that point, the principal tabled the discussion. (Not that I was present in the meeting). So, I don't think at this point the IEP team is "allowed" to write that in the IEP at all, although I know they want to.

    If we get to the point where we have to have her IEP meeting, and this issue is not resolved, I can just not sign the IEP, right? But, then what do I do?
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    "The buck stops" with the District Special Education Director and ultimately the District Superintendent.

    "Placement" is not really a specific "place," however, a specific school or location can be written into the IEP.

    This is the fed reg; you'll find similar terminology in your State regs.

    From :

    Regulations: Part 300 / B / 300.116
    Sec. 300.116 Placements.

    In determining the educational placement of a child with a disability, including a preschool child with a disability, each public agency must ensure that--
    (a) The placement decision--
    (1) Is made by a group of persons, including the parents, and other persons knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options; and
    (2) Is made in conformity with the LRE provisions of this subpart, including Sec. Sec. 300.114 through 300.118;
    (b) The child's placement--
    (1) Is determined at least annually;
    (2) Is based on the child's IEP; and
    (3) Is as close as possible to the child's home;
    (c) Unless the IEP of a child with a disability requires some other arrangement, the child is educated in the school that he or she would attend if nondisabled;
    (d) In selecting the LRE, consideration is given to any potential harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services that he or she needs; and
    (e) A child with a disability is not removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum.
    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(5))

    Do not sign the IEP and announce that you want the meeting "reconvened" so that you can get a ruling from the Special Education Director, the State Education Agency Sp Ed oversight department, and the US Department of OSEP -- follow through if necessary. If they are smart, you'll see an immediate change of attitude.

    The fact is, is that the IEP team can do pretty much what they want to do. The reality, however, is that higher up administration trys to control the team.
  6. tee2

    tee2 New Member

    Thanks for the regs -- that's really helpful to see what they might be trying to make it fit into.

  7. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    by the way, don't ever sign an IEP until you have a hard copy and time to read it without stress, pressure or distractions. Have them send you a copy after the meeting and take the time to read it before you sign it. Then make a copy of what you signed before you return it.
  8. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I'd wait until the meeting. Give the school district a chance to do the right thing, and if they don't.....

    The US Department of Education looks to State Education Agencies to insure that the SEA's school districts adhere to IDEA.

    OSEP home page:

    Virginia Department of Education Sp Ed :
  9. tee2

    tee2 New Member

    Thanks! I'm gathering my info now, and will meet with the principal later this week. If that doesn't work, it's on to the IEP meeting next week -- where I know I won't be able to get anyone to see my point of view! So, I may be back for more advice and support then!
  10. tee2

    tee2 New Member

    I thought I'd check in and give an update. In the end, I got what I wanted, so it's all good.

    In the end, I was able to use a student transfer to have her stay at this same school. But, that's only because I got "outside documentation," AND mainly because I had the principal's support and help. I still believe it should have been a part of her IEP, but I don't have it in me to fight a fight that even other school personnel had already tried to win and had lost! The school system's "gatekeeper" was doing plenty of gatekeeping, unnecessarily, during the IEP meeting. Usually, it was over something so minor that it would have been amusing if I wasn't already so irritated.

    Oh, how common/uncommon is it to have them ask during the first 5 minutes of the IEP meeting if the general education teacher may leave to return to her classroom? I thought that was strange, since if we had been planning to send my daughter to that school (which was what they were saying at that point was going to happen), the teacher would be about the most important person at the meeting.

    Anyway, I truly believe that, as long as some key people stay at this school, it won't really even matter so much what's in her IEP. They really have been reasonable to deal with. And that's so completely different from my dealings with other schools in the past. So wish me luck!

    Thanks for all the help! I'm sure I'll be back for more advice at some point.

  11. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Under the 2004 revision, "unneeded' personnel may be excused but ONLY WITH MUTUAL CONSENT. You could have kept her at the meeting if you thought she had a role to play.

    I'm glad this worked out for you.