Manifestation Hearing??? Sorry Occupational Therapist (OT) ended up being so long.

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by TeDo, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I just received an email today from difficult child's new SpEd case manager. I am very confused and extremely scared. Sorry if this gets long but I want to provide as much info as needed to explain the whole situation.

    difficult child was diagnosis with Asperger's on 1/24/2011. I requested an educational evaluation by a Regional Autism Specialist. Her evaluation showed he qualified for SpEd services under Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) but also under EBD due to his EMOTIONAL reactions in school that are caused by his Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) characteristics. When things happen such as things not going the way he thinks they should, sudden requests to change mind set, schedules/expectations being changed without notice or explanation, not understanding what is being asked of him, etc. he has resorted to yelling, slamming doors, tipping chairs and throwing markers. Every time he does this, the principal ends up sending him home which has created a new "routine" for difficult child. He has been given 8.5 days of out-of-school suspension, 1 day of in-school suspension and 8 unexcused absences.

    With the new diagnosis and evaluations, the IEP has met for a total of 4 hours over 2 weeks (2 hrs one day and 2 hrs another day the following week). At the first meeting, Autism Specialist, advocate and I brought up a need for a 1:1 para for difficult child but school refused to consider it. The only response we got at all about it was "what if the para gets a different job and moves away?" That was at the end of the first 2 hour meeting.

    After the 2nd meeting last Monday, the team decided to meet on the 21st to discuss how the new IEP is working. It is now the 16th and the new IEP is not done so I have not seen it much less signed it so nothing has been implemented yet. I was told today in the email that the meeting on the 21st will be a "Program Review and Manifestation Determination".

    I don't know what they have up their sleeves since the new IEP isn't even done yet much less implemented so no one know if ANY of it will work. I know difficult child is getting increasingly agitated with the delay as it involves some class changes he has been waiting for. When he does melt down, there is no one available to HELP him and the principal does nothing but put demands on difficult child at the height of the episode, making things worse which causes difficult child to escalate to slamming, yelling, throwing, etc which ends up with difficult child being sent home.

    I am scared about what they are planning. I can't be prepared if I don't know what they are trying to do. The principal has said EVERY time we meet that he isn't sure the school district can meet difficult child's needs but he puts a limit on what they are willing to even try. They have known since the last meeting that my advocate will not be available on the 21st so I am even more nervous. I am being blindsided and feel helpless to stop it. If they won't listen to the Specialist, what are the chances anything good can come of this?
  2. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Have you contacted your advocate? You need that person to step up and put some things in writing to the school district regarding the timing of this hearing as well as documenting the lack of progress/agreement regarding the IEP.

    You should read the earlier thread about a manifestation hearing. It has links and some info on a similar situation and may answer some of your questions.

    What could they propose as an alternate placement? Or are you thinking they want to determine this behavior is not disability-related and throw the book at your difficult child?

    You don't say difficult child's age in your sig - is he in HS or what?

    You can stop it. Don't feel helpless. You are not. You ALWAYS have the power to up the ante by filing due process against them. BUT you really need an experienced Special Education advocate to represent you.

    Has the advocate attended all the IEP meetings? If not, have you been recording the meetings?
  3. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    First off, contact sped dir and tell her that mtg date needs to be changed because your full team is unavailable on the 21st, as she has been aware of since last IEP mtg. Since school district has changed the purpose of the mtg to program review and manifestation determination, you need the input of your advocate at the mtg. I'd follow up email or phone call with- certified letter. If school district gets snarky about it, I'd let them know that they informed you of the change in reason for mtg on 03/16, and have not provided you with required 10 days prior written notice. There's a big difference between an IEP mtg and a program review/manifestation determination.

    My gut says this is a meeting to change difficult child's school. It sounds like you've got adequate documentation from autism specialist that his behaviors are a result of his disability (manifestation determination). I would guess that school district is going to say they cannot handle his behaviors in LRE (obvious argument to that is they have not provided 1:1 para - their excuse for that is beyond pathetic), so they want to move him to a different school.

    In briefly skimming your prior posts, it looks like this is the first IEP that will address the autism issues, correct? Logic would say that school district cannot just say, "Oh, now he's diagnosed on the spectrum, we can't deal, he's outta here." Unfortunately, logic sometimes is a stranger to mtgs with- SDs. They *must* provide FAPE in LRE. Just because he requires additional supports does not automatically mean those supports cannot be provided in his current school - school district hasn't even tried.

    So - get the date of the mtg changed to a time when advocate can go with you, and you need to have some serious discussions with- advocate on what your options are. I'd plan for worst case scenario in terms of what school district is going to offer.

    In the meantime, you need to search your heart really carefully. Do you think there's a reasonable chance that difficult child can function in his current school? It sounds like the principal is a real piece of work. Are you willing to subject yourself, and more importantly subject difficult child, to his continued antagonism? In my experience, you cannot underestimate the lengths some school staff will go to to trigger your kid - I'd like to say unintentionally, but I also saw some very intentional junk with- one of thank you's schools. And it worked.

    I understand you're in a rural area - have you researched *private* schools that might meet difficult child's needs. school district must provide education, outside of district if they can't do it themselves. No where is it written that they are limited to other public school settings to provide that education.

    I think the last thing you need to really think about is how far you're willing to push the issue. PJ is right - you can always take it to due process. But you need to know it's more than likely going to be an uphill battle, and it could take a huge toll on difficult child and you as you go thru the process. You also probably need to consider a sped lawyer if you do go the DP route - here in IL, parents have lost DP before they even get there if they don't have an attorney. Not all states are like that - I filed DP in WA many years ago. school district requested mediation, and I got *every* single solitary thing I wanted. Would've been easier if they had just done their jobs in the first place, but... some SDs are going to fight to the very last second. My experience here in IL was the exact opposite - *never* underestimate a difficult school district or their attorneys.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    TeDo - I've been thinking of you - did you end up having the mtg yesterday?
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Yes. There was no question that his behavior is a manifestation of his disability. No, the school was not negligent by not following the IEP. No, the IEP was not appropriate (that's why we have spent so much time revising and tweeking). That is the part that had me so confused and scared. We had spent 4 hours SO FAR revising and rewriting the IEP that this just seemed so stupid. Several of the staff members commented that "we are just not able to handle these types of behaviors" referring to what has now been determined by the psychiatrist to be caused by the Risperdal. The medication has been d/c'd as of last night. I was given the name of a psychiatrist that is highly trained to work with kids on the spectrum but he is 3 hours away in another state. They also mentioned a 1-week inpatient neuropsychologist in that same area.

    It all boiled down to:

    1. they don't want him there using the reasoning that they aren't "equipped" to handle a child that tips chairs and throws markers when they have pushed him too far.
    2. he doesn't qualify for "homebound instruction" because he doesn't have severe health issues or extremely dangerous behaviors like "bringing a knife to school and trying to stab people" so there is nothing they can do there.
    3. they are willing to "try" anything BUT ......

    At the advice of my advocate when we talked on Friday, I have requested mediation. She agrees that we are not getting anywhere with the school and it has dragged on long enough and difficult child has missed WAY too much school because of being sent home. Guess we'll have to wait and see now. In the mean time, I am getting a county children's mental health social worker involved also.
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Mine was throwing chairs, not just tipping them. That was even before her Risperdal reaction. She also has a recognized high anxiety level linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (more like perfectionism than compulsion-type activities). They have to create an IEP that allows him an out before he feels he's being pushed too far. Kiddo's allows her extra time on things, more verbal prompts, etc. It helps that the principal also has a background in SpEd herself, and I've done everything possible to enable open communication between the school, her talk therapist, doctors, etc.
    I think I have her copy of her IEP in the truck (yeah, I know, great place for it, but then I don't have to remember it for doctor appts). I have an appointment myself in a few hours, but I can get on Skype later if you want to discuss the things they put in Kiddo's IEP and why.
  7. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    We have "sensory break" choices in his IEP for them to offer when he seems upset but they only offer them, actually they tell him to choose one, after it's too late for him to make a conscious decision like that. They try to get him to cooperate with class first and when that doesn't work, the teachers send him to the office. The dreaded principal takes over and pushes too far, resulting in yelling, slamming doors, tipping chairs, throwing things, etc. before telling him to choose a break. When he doesn't "choose" fast enough, he gets sent home for "not following staff directives". difficult child has also told me that principal has stood there with the phone in his hand and his finger on "SEND" while telling difficult child to "hurry up and decide before I push send".

    This one was an art teacher. ROFLMAO

    I have done this also but the school refuses to contact them to get their input. Instead they have me ask and relay the info back but then they don't listen to what I say the docs said. Yes, this is messed up. GGGRRRRRR

    That would be awesome. Thanks!
  8. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I also had her talk therapist (who works in same office with her case worker) at the IEP meeting. We had to reschedule several times (weather, illness) and none of those times did her therapist have enough notice to be there. I finally said talk to therapist first and make it around what day she can be there, because otherwise I'll just demand a reconvene anyway. They did, and that was the meeting we finally didn't have to reschedule for unforeseen circumstances!
    Kiddo is allowed to take her break(s) when SHE decides she needs it, which can be well before staff thinks she needs it. She also has a reinforcement schedule of things she can do (of her choice) when she's having a good day. It's really helped.
  9. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    So... dumb question here, but what is their solution???? I mean, they have to educate him. They don't get to just say we can't handle him... uh, too bad for him.

    Has anyone suggested that staff be trained to recognize when they're pushing too far?

    Egads.... what a mess. So what's difficult child's status right now? In school, out of school, or just getting frequent early releases when they trigger him and can't deal with the fallout??
  10. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    HaoZi, difficult child is not able to recognize when he needs a break. Teaching him this is one of the goals they JUST put in his new IEP. In the mean time, I have heard teachers say "I could tell when in walked in the room that it wasn't going to be a good day." Then they wait until something does happen and send him to the office. THAT is where the problem lies. Right now they have it that he gets "free choice" for 10 minutes at the end of every class if he just sits there but doesn't cause a problem. The problem comes when a teacher (2/5) try to make him to DO something in class and when he refuses, they send him to the office, thus losing his free time even though he doesn't cause a problem until they push AND then principal takes over and The End.

    Sue, their solution (the principal's at least) is to get him out of HIS building and send him to a therapeutic school where only the "hard core" kids are Sent. The other option they are pushing for is for a psychiatric hospital stay. Neither are acceptable to me because these problems ONLY occur at SCHOOL and they are the ones that have set the tone for the entire school year. They claim that the staff ARE trained to notice but I have yet to see one of them that ACTS on whatever they see BEFORE they cause a problem. That is where the problem lies. He has Asperger's and doesn't understand things sometimes but he doesn't feel comfortable enough to tell them what the problem is because of the way he has been penalized all year long because they didn't listen to him. That is also one of the goals the have JUST put into the new IEP. He hasn't been to school now since first thing Thursday morning when he was sent home. They send homework home for me to do with him. It's gotten to the point when he does go that I wonder WHEN my phone will ring, not IF.

    My advocate advised me to request mediation and I sent the paperwork in on Friday. The school now knows I intend to follow through but they are ASSUMING it is because I want difficult child to have a 1:1 para and they aren't doing that. I'm not saying a word. Let them think what they want, like they are going to listen to me anyway. The Dept of Ed needs to get the principal "with the program"! My advocate, the regional autism specialist and I aren't getting anywhere with them. Maybe someone with more authority than him can get HIM to COMPLY with the "rules".

    Thanks for the feedback ladies. I always welcome advice from the Wise Warriors I feel proud to be associated with.:bigsmile:
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'd go with a 1:1, too. Even if it's only part time. Are there specific classes he runs into this problem more than others? Sure hope DOE can do something about that principal (like maybe get someone better in there!).
  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Good for you for taking it to mediation!!

    Tigger's principal is equally inept at handling the Special Education kids. Huge improvement once he admitted he wasn't helping the situation as he had zero sped training. School hired a vp-Special Education just to deal with the 4 Special Education classrooms (about 25 kids).

    I don't remember how old your difficult child is???
  13. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    difficult child is almost 13. The problem I have now is that with all that has happened, he refuses to go back to school. He is severely depressed over the school issue. He stays home by himself all day and today spent most of it crying. He finally admitted that he is afraid to go back and to be perfectly honest, I can't blame him. I meet with the county case manager tomorrow to figure out what to do. The principal has just made it such a horrible place for him to be. Not sure how I wil get him back there. We only have 7 weeks left of school. I hope the case manager has a brilliant plan.
  14. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    When Tigger had his year-from-hell, we had the doctor write a note to put him on homebound for the rest of the year (about 7 weeks) and just started fresh the next fall. Course, that only works if the school is going to fix the issues or you can get placement at a better school.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  15. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    That's kind of what I've been thinking of doing. They have totally ruined much chance he will go back and I hate to open enroll him in another school with only 7 weeks left. That is exactly what I plan to discuss with the county worker tomorrow and see if she has resources to help while I'm at work.