Mental Health Collabrative

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by iloveturtles, Sep 28, 2009.

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  1. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    We are now in Middle school, my son is in 6th grade. I am not sure how I feel about it. Some days I like it other days I hate it. My son has already been suspended once in the third week of school for 3 days. 7 more to go and he will be expelled, and only 30 something more weeks to go. :anxious:

    They are now talking about a Mental Health Collabrative School. No idea what that means. His IEP is under Emotional Disturbance.

    This is a new school, new administration, new teachers. I feel like none of them get my son. I want to go back to elementary school. There at least it felt like the got that my son is a great kid with problems, now it feels like they just see him as a kid with problems.

    I have no idea where to turn. The dr. that we see doesn't give a diagnosis unless it is beneficial to services received or for insurance reasons.

    I am so lost!

  2. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    get a new doctor if possible. You need better back up and a diagnosis is pretty much necessary in my humble opinion.

    No medications?

    I wouldn't jump to too many conclusions about the mental health collaborative school. Ask to go check it out ASAP. It may be a better choice than regular middle school. Or not - only way to know is to go look yourself.

    I would also tour other middle schools that are transfer possibilities and talk to the principal about how they handle difficult kids. My kids just started at a public middle school and it's going OK so far. The administrative team is terrific, the Special Education teachers are great and no one is interested in making life harder than necessary for the kid with challenges. They have weekly team meetings to follow kids they are concerned about, they communicate effectively with teachers and each other, they welcome and encourage parent input at all times, and they just plain use good judgement and don't come down heavyhanded when they don't have to.

    For example, I met the vice principal today and told him my difficult child 2 is having problems at home and might melt down on them at school. One of the things we discussed was how to handle difficult child 2 when he melts down - give him space, let him walk around and cool down, don't keep pushing or trying to confront him until he's calm, etc. The VP is nodding his head the whole time and says "yep, I always try to give them space. I usually stay 10 to 15 feet away. One reason is that way I can pretend I didn't hear what they're saying about me or whoever. Then I don't have to make a big deal about it as long as they don't do it in the office where I can't ignore it. It can even take us a really long time to walk back to the office to talk things over - we might have to cover the entire campus 2 or 3 times." If you aren't at a school with smart administrators like this guy you are probably right to be pessimistic.

    Go talk to head of Special Education. You don't have anything to loose and may have a lot to gain by asking for his/her help in finding the right placement for your son.

    good luck. And don't forget about manifestation hearings. You can google it for your state and see what the rules are for determining whether inappropriate behavior is being caused by disability or not and how that affects the discipline that's meted out.
  3. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    He is taking 54 mg of Concerta for helping him focus. The Dr. did tell me he is not ADD or ADHD.

    I guess I do not have any trust for our school Special Education system because of the game playing. It took me until the end of fourth grade to get any help from the school for my son.

    At his last IEP meeting the end of 5th grade I was requesting help for the summer program I send him to which is a therapuetic camp that helps with his stuff, social skills and such. The person from Special Education that came and listened to my request waited until I signed the IEP to respond. And her response was since there is no extended school year in his IEP then we can't help you. Sorry.

    This game playing makes me sick. Why didn't she say at the IEP that to get help for summer he needs ESY. They play these games with their own peoples kids.

    I just don't trust them.

    I think if I don't feel like I am getting anywhere with the Vice Prin. I am going to the principal who was my sons elementary school principal.
  4. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Frankly I think you need to get a second opinion from a child psychiatrist as soon as possible.

    Concerta rxd but the doctor says he doesn't have ADD or ADHD? Then why give him a stimulant? Pardon me but this makes no sense to me based on my understanding of the use of drugs like concerta and current thinking on diagnosing attention problems.

    It is entirely possible that the Concerta is contributing to DS's aggression and difficulty with self-control.

    How long has he been on the Concerta? Have you seen any improvement in problem behaviors/moods since he started it?

    Have any other medications been tried in the past? Do have an opinion about what diagnosis you think your son should have?

    Typical treatment for PTSD is therapy and SSRI's NOT stimulants. Here's a link to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs info on treatment of PTSD. If anybody has an idea how to treat PTSD it's them.

    If you want to discuss diagnosis and treatment I suggest you start a new thread on the General board asking about this.

    Re: school district

    FYI - You could have taken that IEP right back and said you wanted to rescind your agreement and done so right then and there. There is tremendous pressure in IEP meetings for the parent to go along and just sign so that withdrawing your consent right then is really hard to do. Best strategy for this is to avoid it. See rule #6 Never sign the IEP at the meeting.

    Rule #1 you can always withdraw your consent to any part or all of the IEP at any time.

    Rule #2 you can call for an IEP meeting at any time. They HAVE to convene one if you ask them to.

    Rule #3 you can always sue them for what they did last year if you can show that they failed to provide FAPE. They are the ones who are responsible for assuring your child received FAPE - not you. And there may be procedural violations like not giving you prior notice that they were denying your request for the summer program.

    Rule #4 go into every meeting with the school district as if you will be going to due process. Record every meeting, take someone with you, etc. There's lots of good advice about this at

    Rule #5 you and the school district do not share the same goals. They are serving hundreds or thousands of kids and their goal is to provide the minimum level of services necessary to meet the letter of the law due largely to budgetary pressures. You are focused on ONE child and your goal is to maximize the services/benefits that he receives. Hopefully you and the school district can meet in the middle with a minimum of disagreement while behaving politely and respectfully when in each other's company.

    Rule #6 NEVER sign the IEP at the actual meeting. Tell them you want to go over it with your spouse or that you want to sleep on it or whatever you like but take it home with you instead of signing it right then. That will prevent little scenarios like the one you described.

    I don't mean keep the IEP for weeks, just take it home, sleep on it, review every detail on every page and make sure it is accurate, the baselines and goals are appropriate and measurable, make sure that any notes detailing the meeting are correct or include all important points (like the summer program thing). I can guarantee you that you will find at least one thing that is wrong or not included or mis-represented on that IEP that you want them to fix or change.

    My son's most recent IEP was so bad that I went through every page with a fine tooth comb all the way down to subtest scores and dates. I ended up with a 7 page list of errors, omissions, and mis-representations that I wanted corrected. The school district was not happy and I imagine that someone got a reprimand because some of the errors were just so bad they would have left the school district open to damages if I had chosen to go to due process as well as giving me ammunition for procedural violation complaints.

    Rule #7 Before the meeting breaks up, read through every single page so that anything that is obviously mis-stated or left out (like the discussion of the summer program and your request for that to be included in the IEP) can be included or fixed right then. Do NOT let them just hand you the signature page. No No No.

    If they don't want you to read through it right then or to address your concerns because they have scheduled another meeting that needed to start 10 minutes ago or someone has to leave then tell them you want the meeting continued to the following week and you will not sign anything today.

    Do not be afraid to ask for the meeting to be continued. I made this mistake once (just forgot in the pressure of the moment that I could ask for that) and lived to regret it. Don't be nasty, just business-like.

    It is totally unrealistic to expect the school district to be "on your side" or to do what is "best" for your child. What is best is a very subjective thing and that's why lots of people end up going to court over the content of IEPs.

    My advice is that you get an advocate to help you (as in now). See the wright's law website for more info on why you probably need an advocate and what to look for in one.

    Generally there should be a manifestation hearing when a child with a disability is at or approaching 10 days of suspension. Look this up for your state (google it with your state in the search window) so you know what the deal is - if things don't change at school or with your son's medications in a positive way you will probably be needing this info. Sooner rather than later.

    The principal may be helpful - I sure hope so. My experience is that things like suspensions are not done without the principal's express approval. So you may find that she/he is not much help.

    Best wishes.
  5. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    Thank you for your information. I am going to get ink for my printer tomorrow, and print out your posts and put them in my IEP binder.

    Thank you.
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