Need advice for our first ARD

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Dara, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. Dara

    Dara New Member

    We just got the reports back from the school district. It is all so overwhelming! The reports dont say anything that we didnt already know. Basically it says that his Overall scores appear to indicate weaknesses in word and sentence structure and understanding basic concepts. Sammy does have a communication disorder.
    The identified disorder is in expressive and receptive language.
    These are the basic scores from the testing:
    Scale Developmental Age Discrepancy from

    Chronological Age (months)
    Physical 26 months -11
    Self-Help 22 months* -15
    Social 28 months -9
    Academic 34 months -3
    Communication 32 months -5
    The Psychologist also did some testing and observed him at his school which is a private school and basically what she said was she agrees with the other doctors and therapists that he is not Autistic. If it were to show later that he was on the spectrum, it would be very minor. She noticed his anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She also said that he is "at risk" for Bipolar or ODD or other behavior/mood disorders. This is not a surpirse to us or anyone else that Knows Sammy very well. He only qualifies for speech in the school district because the other issues are non issues "in the learning enviornment" Hopefully his case manager will call us next week like they said and set up his ARD. Sammys therapist said he will come with us to the ARD to make sure that they actually do provide the services that fit Sammy's needs.
    Has anyone been through an ARD? Any pointers I should know about before starting this? Again, I am not surprised by any of this report it is just weird to see it written in a formal report and there are so many things to process in my brain.
    Again if anyone has any advice about the ARD, we have no idea what we are doing! I guess the thing that concerns me the most is that he does not qualify for anything other than speech becuase to them these other issues such as self help and physical do not affect his learning in the classroom. Given his behavior issues at home which they did note, he is not going to improve from instructions at home because he does not handle directions with these things at home due to severe behavioral issues for us! If anyone has any suggestions on what we should be doing, it will be very welcomed. We have no idea what we are doing when it comes to the school district.
     
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Ladies, I have been following Dara's situation and suggested that she repost over here. Despite the scores above the district only qualified him for speech--no Special Education preschool setting despite some degree of delay in every area they tested. Self help skills testing 15 months behind is significant at age 3. Wasn't there some language in the most recent version of Special Education law that encompasses that area?

    Dara, also significant would be if those scores came from more general screening tools or actual diagnostic tests. Did they give you the names of the tools used to determine the scores in each area?
     
  3. Dara

    Dara New Member

    First of all thank you SRL for your help with this. I know one of the test Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and Developmental Profile II, Preschool Language Scale-4 (PLS-4),
    The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals- Preschool (CELF-Preschool -2)
    Developmental Observation Checklist System (DOCS): Adjustment Behavior Checklist (ABC)

    Early Childhood Inventory – 4: Parent and Teacher Checklists

    Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2): Parent and Teacher Rating Scales
    Hopefully this helps a little.
    As I said before, Sammy's behavioral issues get in the way of his progress at home. He does have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Anxiety as well as Behavior Disorder not otherwise specified. I am really concerned if they dont address the self help issues as well as the other low scoring issues, it will eventually affect the learning enviornment. I am really lost on how these ARDS work and everyhting. Our therapist or someone from the office will be with us to help but all the help and advice I can get I will greatly appreciate it!
     
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    The list looks pretty typical, except I don't see any Occupational Therapist (OT)/PT type assessment. I find it very odd that the speech delay tested on the low end of the chronological discrepancies yet they singled that out as the only area he qualified in. Did you mention anything about thinki8ng you'd continue with private therapy or private preschool that might have given them the idea they wouldn't need to provide services?

    Sheila and/or Martie will likely have additional advice, but if this were me, I would contact his developmental pediatrician you mentioned in this thread. Make an appointment if you have to. Tell him/her that he has been denied all services except for speech and ask for a letter to be written specifying services including preschool. The school still may deny the services but they have to take in into consideration and sometimes doctors hold considerable leverage. Even if you agree the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis isn't accurate, there are still delays in most areas that need addressing.
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Hi again Dara

    I'm assuming you have received a copy of the school district evaluation report, the elegibility for speech-language therapy is addressed in the report, and there has not been an IEP/ARD meeting to date. Is this correct? If not, how are you getting the information that your child will only receive speech-language therapy and nothing else?

     
  6. Dara

    Dara New Member

    It was in the report that it was all he qualified for.
     
  7. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Ok. That's helpful info for my response.

    The process is suppose to work like this: The school district report is a guide for IEP Committee Members, e.g., YOU and the rest of the team. Even when a report says it's the writers opinion that the student doesn't qualify for an IEP, it can be overridden by the committee. In other words, it's the committee that finds a student eligible or not eligible.

    The 1st ARD (IEP) meeting is to determine eligibility. Based on what you've written, the report says that difficult child is "eligible" for an IEP. (If not, difficult child would not be able to receive the recommended language therapy.)

    What you want to happen at the meeting is for committee members agree that difficult child is eligible for an IEP. That's the first hurdle.

    Ususally the diagnostician or someone with-the school district will go over the report with all members and read recommendations. The team than deems the student eligible or not eligible.

    After he's deemed "eligible," the IEP is designed. And after he's deemed eligible other provisions of IDEA kick in -- most specifically the school district is to provide "special education and related services" that the child needs.

    Related services is defined as:
    Statute: TITLE I / A / 602 / 26


    (26) Related services.--

    (A) In general.--The term `related services' means transportation, and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, social work services, school nurse services designed to enable a child with a disability to receive a free appropriate public education as described in the individualized education program of the child, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children.

    (B) Exception.--The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.

    The list is not exhaustive. Example: child needs 1:1 paraprofessional. The paraprofessional is a related service.

    Speech-language therapy is a "related service."

    If your child needs social skills training (another related service), ask for it. If your child can not complete life skill tasks because of fine or gross motor skill problems, he may need occupational therapy therefore a parent would want to ask for it. Etc, etc., etc.

    How do you do that? in my opinion, the best way is to use a Parent Attachment. It has to do with Prior Written Notice and a written listing of parents request for services. You make your list out, take it with you to the meeting, fill it out as you go, leave a copy of it with-whoever is chairing the meeting. It becomes part of difficult child's educational record.

    Unfortunately, we see this terminology a lot in this forum. I think that's auto lingo written into reports. A child that can not transition between activities, can not get along with- classmates, the parent is called to pickup a child from school because of behavior issues....it all adversely impacts education. There are several threads in the Sp Ed Archives that address adverse educational impact -- be sure to read them.

    The first thing you want to happen is official eligiblity, then discuss the other issues.

    Also, keep in mind that if you do not agree with-the school district's report you can request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). There's info on IEEs in the Sp Ed Archives also.

    I mention this because I don't see mention of an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation. If your child is having difficulty manipulating things by hand, has poor muscle tone and is being held back developmentally because of it, an evaluation is something that needs to be done. Maybe it was, and I just missed it.

    I recall from your thread in General that you mentioned cost. There is no cost to the parent for special education or related services.
     
  8. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    by the way, Texas Education Agency's website has tons of good info. They publish A Guide to the ARD at http://framework.esc18.net/
     
  9. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Dara,

    I'm sorry I haven't been around much for a while. Sheila is dead-on in what she suggests in my opinion.

    It especially annoys me when the the evaluator puts a "group" decision in the report having reached that conclusion alone.

    It appears your child has significant delays in areas that the school district is not addressing at all. It also appears that the instruments that were used are appropriate, except the absence of Occupational Therapist (OT) that has already been note.

    It is important for you to commit the "order of decisions" Sheila outlined to memory. school district tend to try to snowball you along and you need a firm understanding of your rights to avoid this. It is also a good idea to never go alone. You need someone who at a minimum can take notes for you. It is even better to take someone with you who is knowledgeable of Special Education Law, but anyone is better than going alone.

    Martie
     
  10. Dara

    Dara New Member

    We are taking our therapist or someone from that office with us. They have been to and helped many parents with ARDs. For now, the therapists office is doing a program with Sammy 3 days a week of intensive therapy that the school district is not addressing. Right now, my head is spinning from all of this. I have to sort out evrything in my head.
     
  11. Dara

    Dara New Member

    Now I am waiting for the school to schedule the thing. I spoke to the case manager and am waiting for her to get back to me. i will probably call her on monday. What a pain!
     
  12. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Dara,

    Please do not rely on phone calls. You need to put your request into writing. E-mails are OK for arranging meetings but anything that sets a time-line in motion or requires a change that will be reflected in and IEP or BIP or is a MD hearing, need to go BY CERTFIED MAIL.

    One of the most import principles of advocacy is to set up a good filing system adn build a paper trail.

    Martie
     
  13. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    Hmm, as a 36 month old with a score of "physical" at 25 months?
    Almost a year BEHIND and no Occupational Therapist (OT) or PT specific evaluation???!!!
    HUGE warning signs there.

    Do NOT let this go much futher without either Occupational Therapist (OT) or PT to do a complete fine and gross motor evaluation. Most general development standardized tests don't even begin to scratch the surface of what information a motor development only standardized assessment and a good Occupational Therapist (OT) or PT observation can identify.

    Self help does affect his skills in the educational environment. If he can't use the toilet, can't get his coat on or off, having difficulty tying his shoes, etc... that Impacts a student in the educational environment.

    Considering that you've posted about Sammy's behavior problems, I'd also suggest that you push for a sensory integration/sensory processing assessment completed by the school Occupational Therapist (OT). This may actually explain a lot for you and for your family.
     
  14. Dara

    Dara New Member

    Babbs, according to his prechool teachers this evening, he is perfectly normal and there is no problem with his speech..Yeah right!
    Sammy is in therapy 3 days a week and they are working on at least 15 deficiancies (SP) We are giving it a month and if he does not start improving than he will be going there full time instead of school 2 days a week. We have our ARD next week so I am going to bring up all of the Occupational Therapist (OT) and PT. I also have put in a call to the Mayo clinic in Minn to see if maybe they can help figure out what is going on with this child!
    Sensory intigration has bee looked at and is not the problem. Sammy is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) so that has a lot of behavioral problems and it was written in the school report that he is at risk for ODD and BiPolar. I do agree, Self help skills do indeed affect learning in the classroom. We were trying to show Sammy how to take off his won shoes which he can do if he were willing to listen and watch. The second you try to show him something or tell him something he has a mind blowing tantrum. He wants to be independant but does not have the skills!
     
  15. Dara

    Dara New Member

    Provided we dont get rained out, Our first ARD is tomorrow. i want to thank you all for your advice as I will be taking that information with me to help me! I will let you know our outcome! Thank you all again for all of your advice. We are entering a very confusing system now!
     
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Dara,

    I just read this and I hope your ARD/IEP meeting went well.

    I wonder if they gave you the scores for each test? If not, it would be wise to get a copy of hte tests and scoring for EACH test. It sounds like thye are trying to snow you. Having copies of hte results from the tests can give so much more info that the basic results that you gave in your first post on this thread.

    Who said that Sammy does not have sensory issues? I also thought he might have them, based on some of your other posts. Has Sammy seen an Occupational Therapist (OT) for evaluation? Often insurance will cover this (ours did) so the out of pocket cost is not so great.

    Hugs,

    Susie
     
  17. Dara

    Dara New Member

    The IEP meeting went very well. He started a speech/self help program in the elementary school on tuesdays and thursdays. It is 2 hours each time of intensive speech and self help. This week they are doing a story on who goes on the bus. "Do Tigers go on the bus? No, No, No...." They then act out the story, do pretend play with the story do music, art, and do self help skills all at the same time. Sammy is exhausted after the class but he really enjoys it and talks about it at home so we are happy. We are taking a break from our private therapy for now and letting Sammy be a regular 3 year old and have a lighter schedule and playtime. It was just too much before and he has been in private therapy since he was a year and used to go 25 hours a week. He had the schedule of a business man and he seems more relaxed now that we have stopped. I know we arent stopping forever. We will be back but for now, we are giving the school district program a chance to work. our Neurologist agrees with the decision so that is good.
    We have tried Occupational Therapist (OT) and PT and our inusrance covers 4 visits which as we all know, helps nothing! But we are going to stick with the status quo for now and see how it goes. It also gives me and Sammy a chance to improve our relationship.
     
  18. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm glad to hear things went so well! Sometimes a change in the therapy scenery can be very helpful. New setting, new therapist, different peers, new things to do and talk about--all can be very instrumental in bringing about progress provided the time and the fit is right.
     
  19. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Good news!
     
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