Martie, about the IEP meeting

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by mistmouse, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. mistmouse

    mistmouse New Member

    Martie, Since you had asked about the IEP meeting, I thought I would update. It took place today, and although my attorney couldn't attend in person so was only there on the phone, and the school district brought two attornies, the meeting still went pretty good.

    The diagnostician hit some of the points of the psychoeducational evaluation, but skipped over other parts. Understandable as it is a 20 page report. The psychologist who sees my daughter and is also a part of the IEP team discussed the auditory processing that is indicated by the discrepancies in the verbal and nonverbal memory, and nobody disputed it. Then the school district's Occupational Therapist (OT) read the indepedant Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation, and basically played up the strengths, and completely skipped over the paragraph he wrote about the prior testing. However, she did read the GE part, and that wasn't disputed. Again the psychologist discussed the impact of both the auditory processing and the visual/motor deficits and how the two together can be causing some of the behavior problems.

    Anyway, some goals were discussed and agreed on, and I think they listened when the psychologist discussed that while it may look as if my daughter is willful in her refusal to do work sometimes, or in taking redirection, that her tests prove otherwise. She discussed that when my daughter is agitated, frustrated, or whatever she most likely isn't getting any of the redirection they are giving, and especially when more than one adult is involved.

    All in all it was an okay meeting, but they always insist on everybody signing the signature sheet before the meeting even really begins. I refused to do so twice when it was handed to me, saying I wanted to wait until after I had read what was written on the IEP before I signed. I was told it was for attendance only, but I still declined. Then all of a sudden, they said the meeting was over, handed me a printed copy and said goodbye. The psychologist and I just looked at each other and said, I guess this meeting is over. I told her, I never signed the sheet. She said, I guess they will mail it to you. About that time one of the school district's attornies brought the sheet to me and asked me to sign it. Again I told her I hadn't had a chance to read the IEP and that everybody had left so I wouldn't be getting anything corrected if there were errors. She again told me it was just for attendance, and I said what do I do if there are errors then. She said, I guess you would contact the SpEd director. So, I signed the sheet, and signified it was to show attendance only. Then I got home and there were errors and things not reflected that were discussed. So, now I get to write a letter to reflect that and ask that it be included with the IEP.

    I wouldn't bother to clarify, except anybody reading the IEP will not see that the auditory processing and visual/motor deficits were discussed and noted. They report the VIX, NIX, and CIX, and nothing else about that evaluation. Then on the Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation it only talks about the recommendations for a keyboarding device, and says nothing about the visual/motor deficits. Because not everybody who reads the IEP or has access to it may have or take time to read the evaluations, it is important that those things are noted in the IEP for today.

    I did feel at a disadvantage because they refused to have their attorney attend by telephone even though they knew that was the only way mine could attend, and that they sent two instead.

    The only downside was when they explained away the agreement from December regarding CPI training and documentation, and the resulting battery charges being filed when they do an improper restraint. The attorney tried to basically act like that conversation never took place and that they are properly trained. I reminded her that she had admitted that the de-escalation techniques are the most important part of CPI training, and that I am not seeing where those techniques are being used in the incident reports I am getting. She tried to take focus off that by saying that in the heat of the moment and because I am asking for this documentation the same day that they often don't have time to reflect what they did before calling a redlight and clearing the room. Mind you there are two adults who intervene during a redlight incident besides the classroom teacher, so accurate documentation shouldn't be a problem. They seem always able to report how my daughter appears (she was edgy, or agitated, could tell she wasn't going to easily calm) to be and her every action, but unable to report their de-escalation or redirections. Of course I know it is because they aren't doing positive redirections, nor are they trying to de-escalate anything prior to calling a redlight. A redlight gets called from her being too loud, crumpling a paper and refusing to do it, to slamming a book closed. Once a redlight is called, the classroom teacher and all the students leave the classroom. After that there is no choice except that difficult child leave the classroom. Once she leaves the classroom, either walking out on her own, or if she refuses to walk out, they restrain and move her, then they try to calm her down in another room. Often she only escalates to the point of needing calming down once the redlight is called. Anyway, there is little I can do about that, so hopefully the psychologist, who is also the behavior consultant can make some recommendations to the staff to better handle that.

    So, that is a brief update to what took place in the IEP meeting, and while they are still proclaiming they do everything right and difficult child still has problems, difficult child is making progress in spite of it. I hope that continues.

    Thanks for all your help and support.

    mistmouse
     
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    MM,

    I am happy for you if you are fairly satisfied-- go :warrior: !!!! --but if I were you, I'd be really unhappy about the school district attorney reneging on a prior VERBAL agree.

    I do not mean to lecture but your account shows why it is important to send a "memo of understanding" following any such verbal agreement. I always put at the end something like, "Unless corrected by you, this memo is a factual account of ____." Your attorney might suggest different wording, but unless they take the trouble to correct you, in later proceedings, your memo is a lot stronger than their personnel saying, "that's not how I remember it." If I had been more effective at doing this (in the midst of getting ex-difficult child into EGBS), I might have done better at Due Process.

    RE: the "attendance sheet." You could have declined to sign it and take it to review with your not-present attorney. It is ridiculous in my opinion for the school district attorney to suggest you sign something that you haven't read and then have your only recourse be to contact someone else after the fact to "correct." (A DP hearing officer would say, "you signed, didn't you read it?")

    Speaking of things that will never be attached to the IEP, you subsequent "correction" would be one. When I eventually got around to signing an IEP, I was signed on the last page,--not the signature AKA "attendance" sheet, with the following: I am signing page twelve of this document. Additions require an IEP team meeting." Then I would number the pages (which, conveniently, were NEVER numbered by th h.s.) You do NOT have to sign at the meeting--which by the way, ceased to exist when they left abruptly--so even though you signed at the school, it was not at the meeting. This counters the argument that you have to sign with all members present.

    It sounds as though you handled things well, but you are correct in my opinion, the IEP needs to reflect that the DISABILITIES of auditory processing and motor skill frustration, lead to your daughter's difficulty in being redirected or following other rules. Their omission of this helps them win any future manifestation determination hearing, so in my opinion, it is really important to get this causal connection into the IEP itself.

    I always found it interesting that my school district could go on for pages about their speculation regarding ex-difficult child's adoption (which is NOT a disability--it's how he entered our family--would they have gone on and on if it had been by C-section?) but when I asked for things, they would say it would make it "too long". I would suggest the deletion of their editorializing--especially stuff that I would strike through because it was speculative-- such as easy child's level of achievement-- (which is in HIS IEP--hello?) This gave me the idea that it was very necessary to number the pages--the degree to which numbering the pages of a document made them unhappy shows to me, what they intended to do. by the way, the pages in ex-difficult child's elementary school district WERE already numbered. The h.s. was very, very sneaky.

    CAVEAT EMPTOR!

    Martie
    :warrior:
     
  3. mistmouse

    mistmouse New Member

    Martie, You bring up important points. I have made it policy to read the IEP before leaving, although it is usually after the end of the meeting, but with the caseworker and other personnel who are entering it into the computer. I didn't handle it too well yesterday. When presented with the "attendance" sheet to sign after the meeting ended and most of the IEP team had left the room, I should have written a note on there that I was not signing as I had not been given a chance to read the IEP nor had it been read back to me after it was typed in.

    So, should I ask for another IEP meeting to make sure that the corrections are noted with the presence of the IEP team, and therefore will be more likely to be included in anything given to the teachers working with my daughter?

    As for the memo of understanding regarding the verbal agreement regarding CPI training and such, there was an email that was sent to the school district's attorney that was on the phone and made the agreement and CC to several other attornies in that firm that have worked either independently or together with said attorney. It was also CC to me. The email was never disputed. What took place yesterday was a dance around the issues and the stand that the CPI training had been reviewed and was adequate, and that the failure is with documentation of any de-escalation techniques due to my wanting a report on the same day. I am able to get a half page typed incident report that may go into detail about the mood my child was in, to her actions prior to a redlight being called, and great detail about what she did or said after a redlight was called. What I am not getting is where it says she had any positive prompts to stop the behavior (which is in her BIP), or any attempts at redirection that don't include a threat. The reports indicate she exhibits some behavior such as crumpling a paper, the teacher calls a redlight and then the SpEd teacher comes in from the resource room to assist the 1:1 aide in removing my daughter from the room. The report is written by the SpEd teacher who was not even in the room until the redlight was called.

    I will have to try my best to rectify my mistake of signing anything yesterday, although I did signify it was to show attendance only.

    The discussion at the meeting was fairly good regarding how these evaluations are impacting my daughter, but now I need to make sure it is captured that way. So, after reflecting on this and with your reminders, I am going to write a letter requesting another IEP meeting. My daughter's annual IEP meeting comes up in May, and I doubt I will get another meeting before then.

    I am concerned about the disregard for putting it in writing that the testing does indicate auditory processing and visual/motor deficits, and how that impacts academics and behaviors.

    I guess in spite of all I have been through with this school district they can still take me by surprise by abruptly ending an IEP meeting and presenting me with the typed IEP and all members of the team leaving the room, with the exception of the one attorney who presented me with the sign in sheet as she was preparing to leave the room.

    I should know better.

    mistmouse
     
  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    MM,

    Don't beat yourself up--I've done worse, and I REALLY should know better.

    These are very high stress, high stakes meetings.

    Martie
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    It sounds successful.

    [ QUOTE ]
    Don't beat yourself up--I've done worse, and I REALLY should know better.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Me, too.
     
  6. mistmouse

    mistmouse New Member

    Martie and Sheila,
    Thanks for the support. The meeting was relatively successful, but what was recorded for the IEP doesn't reflect all the things that were discussed. That is what I have to try to remedy now, either through my attorney or calling another IEP meeting. You can bet that if I am unable to get anything else done before then, that when we go into the annual IEP meeting in May I will be sure to bring all this up and request that it be noted in the IEP. For sure I will not ever be signing any "attendance" sheets prior to being able to read the printed IEP they hand me.

    mistmouse
     
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