need wisdom-here we go again!!

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by klmno, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, my son got no education the last quarter of school this past year but the school district decided he's smart enough to go onto 7th grade anyway. Then, we met to write a new IEP for this coming year and I explained, and took proof, that the psychiatrist now thinks he's bipolar and put him on lithium. The new therapist assured me he could help with this IEP when I asked him for a recommendation of a psychologist or someone who could TELL the school what provisions should be made for a bipolar kid who's just starting trying to find the right medications, etc. So, I pay him to go to the IEP meeting, just for him to tell them he's working with difficult child on behavioral issues. So, I get the IEP mailed to me to review and find the only thing written is #1 he started out well last year then behavior got bad (in so many words), #2 the objectives are for behavior issues to go away by next year, 100% of the time, and #3 the school district will monitor his behavior and report it to therapist and me.

    We have this custody case hanging over our heads so I don't want to tic off the principal, but this IEP isn't going to cut it. They know I spoke with an attny a few months ago about the school district and I think all they want to do is document everything my difficult child does (ie- monitor and report) and offer no other accommodations to him. His psycholog. report from testing last spring (2006) includes that yes, he's bright, but memory and processing speed ranged from impaired to high average (in 1 day), and that he needs extra positive support. No one thought last year that he was bipolar, although the hospital. had listed it as a rule out. Nevertheless, it now appears to me that the test results support this.

    Anyway, does anyone have any suggestions about how to approach the principal and let her know that he needs more than someone writing down and reporting everything he does? Also, I've read the Explosive Child and New Hope for Bipolar kids and have a few ideas but was wondering if anyone else had ideas for what to include in an IEP for a kid who sometimes is great and then starts going out in left field, and if he's punished instead of reeled in, look out- a disaster will happen.

    Thanks!!
     
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Hello,

    This may seem to obvious to ask, but what does your school district's evaluation say about your son's academic performance. What are his academic and behavioral needs? It does not matter if he is above grade level....academics need to be considered because they are often a source of behavioral problems even for capable kids.

    Next he needs a BIP. This is required by law for any child whose behavior impacts learning and behavior or the learning of other children in the gen ed classroom. This is about 100% of the kids on these boards.

    There is no IEP "for bi-polar". By definition, an IEP is individualized and addresses the needs not the label of the child. What you need in my opinion is to understand you and your child's legal rights so that you can force the school district to comply. Taking someone with you is a good idea, although I prefer taking someone who doesn't have to be paid...You are correct, the monitor, improve, report...is not an IEP. Many kids who have problems with "coming unglued" do better if they have one safe place or person they can go to without being punished for it....before things escalate. Schools sometimes resist this saying the child will use it to escape work...the relevant question is how much work is done during and immediately after a meltdown....A brief release valve visit to the safe person almost always results in less disruption for everyone and thus, less lost instructional time.

    You are a full participating member of the IEP team, but it seems as though either your school district does not know or does not care about writing a helpful and legally compliant IEP.

    Martie
     
  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    If there are items left out of the IEP that were agreed to at the IEP meeting, the IEP needs to be revised to reflect them.

    Were any of the report recommendations incorporated into the IEP from school district or private evaluations?

    Did you make any proprosals that were rejected by school district IEP committee members?

    As Marti said, there is not a one-size fits all IEP for bipolar students, but you may find something helpful at the two links below.

    The Educational Issues of Students with Bipolar Disorder
    http://www.bpchildresearch.org/edu_forums/issues.html

    Model IEP (Individual Education Plan)
    https://web.archive.org/web/20071012030620/http://www.bipolarchild.com/iep.html
     
  4. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yikes, I agree with Martie - did they include a BIP in the IEP? There are also special advocates that can be hired to go with you, and representative you and the interest of your boy.
    But the long and the short of it is, there should be multiple procedures and steps in the IEP to make sure a meltdown does not occur. I am being simplistic here - but:

    Step 1 - Johnny gets a coke if he makes it to lunch with-o out bursts
    Step 2 - Johnny gets extra time in math to finish his work
    Step 3 - Johnny can go to Ms Smith's office if he needs time to cool down
    Step 4 - Johnny only has to do half of all homework
    Step 5 - Johnny does not have to participate in gym due to his disability.

    These obviously do not apply specifically to your son, they are just examples - but the list of accommodations and recommendations should be focused on a million different ways to help him get through the day successfully. Do not leave the meeting or sign anything until you get what you think is satisfactory.
     
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Perfect answers- just what I needed to go on!! I'm emailing the principal right now and will kindly let her know that I cannot sign this IEP until it is written to accommodate his specific needs- (it's pointless to wait until he's lost control again then write down what he did)
     
  6. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Were you a part of the IEP? You stated the IEP was mailed to you. You should be a part of the meeting.

    My experience with the IEP's is knowledge. school district offers no information and unless you have educated yourself on the special education laws they will walk all over you.

    My first IEP, I trusted that they knew what was going on. As time went on I began to prepare myself for IEP's. It was a lot of work, but finally believe we have a good IEp for this coming year.

    school district tried to say, and do things that just were not right. Once I started pulling out documents of information they were willing to accomodate better.

    The goal here is for the child to get a good education. It involves both parents and school district.

    I need to stay on top of school, they will try to do things that deliberately set off difficult child. They put things in his records that are just not true, and I had no knowledge of. They removed him from class so many times that I had no knowledge of and were not documented. They cannot do that. He is entitled to an education and placing him in a room alone does not give him that.

    Do not count on the school to inform you. They won't. Educate yourself, be an advocate for your child. You are all he's got.

    Good Luck.
     
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yes, I was at the meeting, but as it someetimes goes, a lot of talk goes on for over 1 1/2 hour and the thing still isn't written so I had to leave and asked that it be mailed to me to review after she'd finished typing it. (I started doing this last year after I figured out that otherwise, I'd be sitting there another hour watching her type then be pressured by them to sign it, assuming that all we'd discussed would be written in there.) Anyway, several things we discussed were not written. Several things that should have been discussed were never gotten around to. I'm willing to keep it on a level that gives them a way out- like sending them a letter with a list of things I want included and just mention that maybe they already intended to include these things in his BIP- which by the way, when is this going to be written? Last year's BIP that was nothing more than a contract saying "screw up one more time and your out" isn't going to cut it. This year's IEP that does no more than expect me to agree to "he doesn't need accommodation, we'll put him in collaborative classes so his behavior can be monitored and we'll keep regular records of it and send them to you weekly" is no more than a setup to get him out. We discussed accommodations, rewards/punishments, etc., but "no accommodations needed" was written in the IEP. They even asked for proof that he was on lithium- really, do they think a parent would lie about this?
     
  8. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I would take the time to go back. Meet with somebody. Tell them exactly what you need in the IEP. don't leave it up to them.

    This same exact thing happend with me. During the meeting, which covered many other things as well as the psychological testing results..we ran out of time. Nobody was writing anything and I was told they would complete it and mail it to me.
    I went over it very carefully.

    both my name and his name were wrong. Birthdate and age wrong for difficult child. Grade level wrong. Things were said that we did not discuss. Many of the accomodations were not listed. My requests were not listed. I did not understand the psycological testing part, not all was explained at the meeting. I wrote letters, made phone calls and the very last week of school I met only with the program director who said she would add all I wanted. She wrote down my concerns, she was very, very helpful. We spent a long time (just the two of us) going paragragh by paragraph. I had it all underlined and highlighted.
    I would suggest to go there. Have concerns written down and insist they have your issues addressed in the IEP. I even included seating arrangements.
    Is this your first IEP? Because I learned during this IEP that my signature is not required. Only on the initial IEP.
     
  9. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    can laugh now. Kind of like my difficult child's BIP was two years ago. He brought a paper to each teacher who circled whether he participated, refused or was a naughty boy. Then he was suppose to bring that home to us.

    Like that would ever happen.
     
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, all! I emailed the principal, copying other IEP meeting members, then typed up my ideas for accommodations using the links above as a starting point. Another important point that website had listed was gradual, realistic improvements. This school district always lists goals as being 100% cooperative, organized, whatever, by this time next year (HA HA). While that sample IEP indicated 50% of the time the first quarter, 60% of the time the second quarter, etc., and never had 100% of the time listed as a goal or expectation.

    Anyway, a new case manager called yesterday and set up another IEP meeting for next week to go over these and his own ideas about what to incorporate for difficult child. The only thing that concerns me is what ideas I might hear from them now, when they didn't want to include any accommodations before.
     
  11. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    Your signature is needed? Hmm sounds like an initial IEP.

    The only IEP that a school district is required to get a parent signature on is the INITIAL IEP in order to implement and initiate special education services. All other IEPs that have a "signature" read the statement carefully - you are signing that you attended the meeting. That's it. Nothing more. If you don't agree with the IEP you need to write a letter to the powers that be that you are rejecting their IEP and that begins a due process proceedure. If you ever want to see an IEP team sit up in their chairs and jump, watch one that's just had a rejection letter dropped on them at the end of the IEP meeting.
     
  12. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I know it is difficult to work in groups, but if you sit down with one person and "write it," it is not a legally constituted IEP and will not hold up if you have to force the issue. I think that Child Study Team meetings and IEP meetings should be separate for the reason you state: time always runs out.

    It used to be true that once you signed an initial IEP, you were sunk: no further consent was needed. Under IDEA 2004, however, you may withdraw consent and the school must still enroll your child. This brings IDEA into line with generally accepted civil law, but if you withdraw consent, then protections against suspension and expulsion are lost (as well as any special education services).

    Martie
     
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    We had another IEP meeting yesterday- much to my surprise, they had a social worker and school psychiatric there. The team agreed to include more in the IEP than just monitoring behavior, then asked my permission for the school psychiatric to do her own evaluation of difficult child (observation, interview of him, etc.). I told them I would think about it. It could be beneficial but it makes me a little worried because 1) this person is an "Educational Specialist", not really a psychiatric or psychiatrist, 2) they have been trying to cover their a---s since they know I spoke with- an attny and she could just say that she sees no mental/emotional disability, 3) if the lithium is working, how can she determine a diagnosis opinion? 4) what if she tries to dispute psychiatrists diagnosis (who has been seeing difficult child for over 18 mos and monitored him for about 8 weeks this summer after taking him off all medications)

    They did have me sign the notice of the meeting, but they've always had me sign an agreement/permission form to implement the IEP any time it has been reviewed and modified, too. So far, any time I haven't signed that agreement, they held another IEP meeting to discuss my concerns with it and they've pretty much given in to what I want- albeit not completely but enough for me to agree.
     
  14. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    An Ed.S. degree is pretty typical academic preparation for a school psychologist. If you do not allow the school to evaluate your difficult child, then they will not be able to determine what services are needed. You have a right to continue to believe that your outside evaluations are correct and the school district has an obligation and duty to consider your outside evaluations. A good school psychologist will note what medications a child is receiving at the time of testing or observation. If this is omitted, you can call it to the school psychologists attention, who in my opinion should be embarrassed.

    To qualify for an IEP, a student must have a negative educational or emotional/behavioral impact. The way the law is written, it is the job of the school psychologist to collect and coordinate large parts of the information that demonstrate negative impact or lack thereof. I think your most realistic fear is that the school district might try to use the evaluation to demonstrate no negative impact. However, this is really a Catch 22, because you need the evaluation to demonstrate negative impact and what services are needed. Like everything else in special education, the law expects parents to consent, but the outcome for parents who monitor what is going on is consistently better than for parents who assume "the school district knows what it's doing and has my child's best interest at heart." if I were you I would let the school district to evaluate but that is just my .02.

    Martie
     
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Martie! After sleeping on it, I think I'll email the school psychiatric, with a copy to the case manager and principal, and consent, and support, her evaluation and opinion regarding the school component of difficult child's issues; but try to tactfully make it clear that diagnosis and overall treatment plan are going to stay in the ballpark of the other professionals we're seeing. Of course, the other professionals should review her opinions, too.
     
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