Need some info

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by KellieK, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. KellieK

    KellieK New Member

    I am new to this, although I have been reading some of your posts since I found this site a couple of weeks ago. My difficult child, Kyle, is 16 and is driving us insane. His problems started when he started school and he has been evaluated and diagnosed several times. The school psychiatrist had him down as "behaviorly impaired" when he was in the the 2nd grade. Since then, he has been diagnosed with ODD and ADHD. I absolutely agree with the ODD diagnosis, but I am not convinced of the ADHD and neither are any of his past teachers. None of them could believe that he had ADHD and they all say he doesn't act like any of the students they have had in the past that had ADHD. But, on the advice of the psychologists, we have tried him on adderol, once when he was in the 3rd grade and then again this past June, when we had him evaluated again. When he was in the 3rd grade, the adderol did nothing for him and more recently, it made his behavior about 10 times worse than it was before. So, I brought him to a psychiatrist, and he put him on Stratera. Again, doesn't do anything but give him a stomach ache. Then, my difficult child, refused to keep taking it. Said that if anybody needed to be medicated, it was me and that I only wanted to make myself look good by making him take the medication. I'm straying here I know, but thought I needed to give a little back ground info. Anyway, over the years, Kyle's IEPs have gone from one thing to another. It's like they can't decide what to do with him, so they are making stuff up. First he was getting help for language arts and reading, then it went to giving him help for behavioral issues. Then it went back to language arts. Just as suddenly, they switched gears again to math being his problem. I've tried to tell them countless times that he doesn't really have a problem academically, that his problem is that he doesn't want to do any work period. On to what my questions are. Kyle was expelled from school last fall for bringing a knife to school. Of course, he claims he forgot it was in his pocket and didn't bring it on purpose. He was living with my mom and stepdad at the time because his relationship with my husband had deteriorated so much at the time. When he got the initial suspension, my mother called me up and said to come and get him because they had, had enough. So I went up to Maine Thanksgiving weekend and brought him to Virginia to live with us. I was totally honest with the school here in VA and told them he had the 10 day suspension and why. They said that since their policy was an automatic 365 day expulsion for bringing a weapon to school, that they had to get his previous school's recommendation. The school in Maine recommended the expulsion and that's what they were going to do and that I could appeal to the school board to not to expell him at their next meeting. Which, of course I did. They upheld the expulsion. The next thing I know, the assistant superintendent calls and says that they will be providing tutoring services at home because Kyle has an IEP. At this point, I suspected something weird was going on, so I went searching on line to find out what services they were required to provide to a Special Education student that was expelled. That is when I discovered, to my dismay that he shouldn't have been expelled at all, according to the Parent's Handbook for Special Education Rights. To make a long story short, I went to see a lawyer about what could be done about getting him back into regular school. Basically I was told that it would be a $5000 retainer with no guarantee that he would get back in. The school board meeting was the first or second week of December 2006. I had to fight with them to provide the tutoring that they had promised. The tutoring did not begin until June 14th. They did the entire ninth grade language arts curriculum in 7 days at an average of 45 minutes per day. Did geography in about the same amount of time. She managed to stretch algebra out a little longer as she has had several days she couldn't come and vacations. They will be finishing algebra on Thursday this week. That gives them 8 days to do the Earth Science curriculum, as the tutor never comes on Friday's. In February, we met to do the new IEP. I asked about the expulsion then and was told by he assistant principal that the school board's decision was final and nothing could be done. I pointed out that a manifestation meeting had never been done etc. The assistant principal got on the phone with the assistant superintendant and they said that we gave up our right to due process by taking him out of the school in Maine. I pointed out that I wasn't a resident in Maine and couldn't make them do anything, and that my mother didn't even know what the due process was at the time because she was never informed of her rights. My fear at this point is that they will stop tutoring him again once school starts up because they don't have anyone available. The issue was that my husband and I work and don't get home until around 6PM and they didn't have anyone that could come that late and they wouldn't send someone if there was not a parent present. I told the assistant principal that we couldn't quit our jobs so that we could be there. His response to me was " parents, we all need to make sacrifices sometimes." Again, I was stunned. I don't think I even had a response for that one. So, what do I do from here? Incidently, we were going to take $5000 out of our savings and hire the lawyer. I told my difficult child, that we were willing to spend all that money to get him back into school but if he messed it up and got himself in trouble "accidently" again, he would have to pay back every dime of it. His response to me was, "don't bother then." Any advice anyone can give me will truly be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Welcome to our world. Glad you are here but sorry you need to be.

    Please take a look at your post. It needs to have paragraph breaks to be readable. Also, please go to the MY Stuff section and prepare a signature. You may include as much or as little information as you wish and feel comfortable disclosing, but it helps us keep the members' situations straight. See mine as an example.

    You might not want to use your son's name, especially given his age. I called my ex-difficult child MrNo for years in place of his name. Many people use nicknames, other use difficult child#1, difficult child#2--if they have more than one child with problems. It's your call, but this is a public site.

    I will come back later when I have more time to read your post.

  3. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Have you had a neuropsychologist done on him? I ask because ODD and ADHD are kind of like biproducts of something else. For quite a while they were listing my difficult child 1 with those two, but in reality he has Aspergers syndrome. The finer the diagnosis, the better you can pin them down on his IEP...

  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm in VA as well and have not been impressed with the efforts for needed accommodations. They fare well on education, then get sued over and over by parents of kids with special needs. Feel free to personal message me and depending on where you're located, maybe I can at least tell you waht I've tried so far.

    Don't let them make you give up- because they will if you let them.
  5. KellieK

    KellieK New Member

    Hi there. Thanks for the responses. What exactly is a neuropsychologist? difficult child has been evaluated several times, but they pretty much keep wanting to focus on the educational side of things, despite what I say. I keep telling them that he doesn't really have a problem academically, other than the fact that he refuses to do homework etc.

    He flunked the 7th grade because he wouldn't participate in class or do his homework and they "administratively" placed him in the 8th grade anyway. This was because his test averages were all As and Bs. Plus, the teachers were supposed to be checking his planner everyday to make sure his assignments were written down etc. and they only did it about 10% of the time. He did great in the 8th grade because we moved to get him into a different school and they actually followed through with communicating with us, so his homework was completed everyday.

    When I found out I was being transferred from Maine to Virginia for my job, we decided to let difficult child stay up in Maine with his grandparents. He was doing so well there in school and he and husband were having more and more issues. At the time, it seemed the best solution. It didn't take long for my parents to figure out that difficult child had fooled them. He had them convinced that we were abusing him, more husband than me. He went to live with them in May and by October my mother was calling me and saying that if he didn't straighten out by Christmas, that I would have to come get him. Of course, he didn't make it that far because he was suspended in Nov. for the knife issue.

    Before I totally strayed, the point I was trying to make is that I really don't think difficult child has a learning disability or ADHD. He is super smart and when he does put in just a little effort, he excels in any subject. What I guess scares me is that if he was 18, he could very easily be given a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. I keep trying to tell the psychologists that it's his behavior I'm concerned about at this point but they keep minimizing the behavioral issues and focus on the educational aspect that isn't really an issue.
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    IDEA is the Federal law pertinent to Special Education and IEPs. All States must adhere to the minimum requirements of IDEA.

    Based on what you've written, your school district has several non-compliant issues they wouldn't want to have to answer to the Feds about if you were to file a formal complaint.

    As you've discovered, students with IEPs can't just be expelled.

    It sounds as if he's presently on homebound, and his IEP is not being implemented. Homebound is typically short-term for students that, for instance, have to be out of school due to recovering from surgery, etc.

    One of the primary things you need to be aware of is that as the parent, you are a full member of the IEP Committee. As such, you can call an IEP meeting at any time.

    Another "biggie" is stop talking. Always correspond with-the school district in writing using Certified Mail. Follow up any conversations with-Letters of Understanding.

    Why? Because he said/she said will get you no where in the event you have to file a complaint at the school district, state or federal level. Leave a paper trail. This practice can go a long way in circumventing school district's that are intent on side-stepping the law or manipulating parents.

    Calling an IEP meeting is how you go about getting him back into school. How do you do that? Write a letter; send it certified mail.

    There's info in the Sp Ed Archives on how to prepare for an IEP meeting if you need it.

    You mention that your son has been given extra help with language and math. School districts don't do these things without need. What I'd like you to know is that learning disabilities are tricky. I'd caution you to not dismiss the possibility out-of-hand -- most particularly with-ADHD being involved. LDs with ADHD are very common. See

    I'd also recommend that you request (in writing, via CM) that the school district do a complete reevaluation on your son. Things change over time -- it's hard to design a good IEP when you don't know the specific needs of the student.

    Couple of links for you:

    Letters of Understanding

    Parent Attachment to IEP -- never attend an IEP meeting without one. This will tell you why and there's a link to the attachment.

    Welcome to the site!
  7. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Our Dept. of Ed did some testing and found our son (difficult child 1) was "profoundly intelligent". After hearing about neuropsychs on this board, I got him in to see a neuropsychologist. They tested him every way from Sunday and interviewed me so intensly that for a while I started to feel like the worst mom in the world because I really couldn't remember all of the milestones (walking, talking, potty training, etc) for all 3 kids (I had 3 in less than 3 years - I couldn't remember my NAME by then!). They are now scheduling testing for read/write disorders for our oldest. He's brilliant, but hates to read and writes like a 4 year old, can't remember his spelling words at all. I brought a hand-written note with me to show them, and this prompted them to order add'l testing.

    You can usually get a neuropsychologist evaluation done at a childrens hospital or a research facility (we have one that is a research facility for all mental/ neurological illness). It usually takes a month-6weeks to get in, but it was worth the wait!

  8. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I'm sorry I didn't get back sooner but Sheila gave you great information.

    Your school district is not following the law. Students in Sp Ed can be staffed to an alternative setting but non-existent tutpring does not meet their legal obligaton.

    Be careful about attorneys. in my opinion a good Sp Ed att'y could win this easily but an attorney who is not an expert in Sp Ed law is not much help at all. It's pretty easy to win when the school district is in such flagrant violation of Federal law.

  9. KellieK

    KellieK New Member

    Thanks, I will check into getting a neuropsychologist evaluation. I am also checking into getting him back into counceling. At this point he's refusing to take any medications and I think I will have another fight on my hands as far as getting him to go for counceling. Pretty much has the attitude that all the professionals are just out there to make a buck and of course, I'm just trying to make myself look good. So, I can't really "make" him do anything. I can't even drag him to his room when he refuses to go, he's 6'-1" and 180lbs.

    All the lawyers, at least on line, that I could find in this area that deal with Special Education cases, work for agencies that help low income families. We're not low income, but we don't have any extra money floating around either. The one lawyer that I found that didn't work for an agency, was the one that wanted the $5000 retainer and did not seem to know Special Education law any better than I do. That's why she needed the retainer, to pay for her research. Besides, if I had an extra $5k kicking around, I'd hire a tutor or put him in a private school until he could go back. I've left several messages for the ombudsman at the state level, trying to get info and she has not returned any of my calls.

    I almost hate to rock the boat at this point. I am finally getting at least something out of them. If they keep up with the tutoring once the new school year starts up, I think he'll be ok. He'll have to make up the electives, but he'll have been working on the core classes. My husband is building our house so isn't working right now, so he can be there whenever they want to send someone. No more excuses for them. The problem is, I won't know if they are going to follow through until school starts up. Then if they don't follow through, I am sure they will use every stall tactic possible to drag things out until he can go back to school at the end of November.

    Thanks for all the great advice!
  10. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    A good Child Advocate may be an alternative to an attorney. They are sometimes difficult to locate, but a helpful resource is .
  11. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Did a quick search on child advocates - try :

    Virginia child advocates

    There were a few sights out there and here's the best part of advocates: they don't cost AND they're up on the info. for respite, services (speech, Occupational Therapist (OT), pt, behavioral, counceling, sometimes teen clubs, etc.). They really do work hard for you and are totally aware of your rights as well as a child/teens rights when it comes to an education.

    Most are federally or state funded, so there's no cost involved. I would have given you some links, but I have no idea what part of Virginia that you're in!

    Give them a shot, they helped us out!

  12. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Some advocates do charge for their services; some do not.