Opinions needed!!

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by klmno, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm supposed to drop off money (more than I can really afford- but I can come up with it) and Iep to an attny tomorrow if I want him to go to the IEP meeting on Fri. I have a ed spec. from the MDE team (also works at the day treatment program) who will be attending the iep meeting- his position is that difficult child is not necessarily ready for day treatment (the school would have to refer him in order for him to be accepted) and he believes the school district should be doing their part, so he wants to pursue iep again. Ok, but, there are some details he isn't aware of. On top of that, the probation officer wants to go to this meeting and she may or may not have the time available to actually attend. Her position is more of "should difficult child be in the system"- as in detention or other.

    The school district has been more this way- not complying with IDEAA or IEP; has difficult child arrested; but will change his grades to make it look like everything is fine- they do stand by the fact that he has shown great improvement with behavior this year, so they are more like "let's change him to the 504". Well, maybe it depends on how you define "behavior effects learning". difficult child has shown outstanding improvement on number of violations of code of conduct. However, his grades have plummeted and are nowhere close to reflecting his ability. The school district would say this is due to his bad choices regarding classwork and homework. I, on the other hand, deal with the meltdowns, raging, and depression at home.

    The psychiatrist does not feel difficult child should be in the psychiatric hospital (acute is our only option)- most don't since he doesn't meet their definition of "acute"- but psychiatrist, of course, says if I feel he does need to be in psychiatric hospital, then take him. (Like I can) Tdocs are useless, but we're court ordered so we have to go. Ok, well, the walls in the house have holes punched (huge ones) all over the place. The worst part- difficult child has been taking knives or scissors or both and stabbing areas in the walls during the night. This has happened more than once. He has walked around on the roof. He was put on the monitor by PO because I called police for him "disappearing" last week for 2 1/2 hours. Other than the disappearing, I have no proof of all this unless I take photos and show them to psychiatrist or whoever. I will say that zyrtec for alergies seems to have made things worse until I switched to another allergy medication.

    I want help for my son. I want him to live at home and I think he is treatable but I don't think these things should be overlooked- that isn't treatment and it won't help him. If I take photos, who should I show them to? Will psychiatrist back up the idea of day treatment? Would it be a good idea to show them to the ed spec from day treatment? I feel like just taking them to the school district and saying "oh, YOU don't think there is a problem?" But, I don't want difficult child locked up for five years- institution, detention, or otherwise. I'm sure school district and PO would realize there is a problem, but then, you know, this is where we find the "great hole" in our society between not addressing mental health problems and treating them by locking them up in detention or "sending them away for years". There is a guardian ad litem on board too but she will flip out as well and difficult child wouldd be gone. I guess I wonder if psychiatrists (child and adolescent certified) really understand when we say the difficult child is raging. Can they handle the truth and reality without flipping out? Will they pursue real help or will they give up too? school district would want him out for sure- but would they back up him getting help and then returning to school? Even this attny- he has dealt mostly with adhd and has never dealt with mood disorders- he would probably flip out too.

  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Before you take your money to a sped attorney who doesn't understand mood disorders, can you find an educational advocate (or another attorney) who does understand mood disorders and their impact on education? We're working with both a sped attorney and educational advocate who understand mood disorders and they most definitely are making inroads with our school district to have our son placed in an appropriate educational setting to meet his needs (it's a self-contained program within a mainstream high school for kids coded for ED).

    In terms of the photographs of destruction in your home, I strongly believe this is a mental health issue and needs to be addressed by the psychiatrist. If the psychiatrist does not take it seriously, you need to move on to a new psychiatrist. To the extent the raging is in response to being asked to do homework or prevents your difficult child from doing homework, then it becomes a school issue. But I would in no uncertain terms show such photos to anyone in the juvenile justice system because they will think they need to punish the behavior when I strongly believe it is a result of a mental illness that needs treatment.

    If you can get your son into a day treatment program that will observe him, refine his dxes and overhaul his medications, that is probably your best bet. A day treatment program should also make recommendations for appropriate educational settings, which in turn should open up doors for you. That's how it's worked in our case.

    Good luck.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Smallworld! Now , what do I tell the attny who is expecting to hear from me? difficult child's defense attny says he is becoming partners with an attny who just won a Special Education suit around here- but it was for autism. I am not sure we have ANY around here that know anything about mood disorders. I testified to the judge in Jan. about difficult child's problems and treatment and research (quite frankly, research meant the books I'd read and my "online suupport group" meaning here)- but I need to keep showing some support for that or else it looks bogus.

    I would sell the house to support this- whoever has been able to read everything knows that difficult child has melted down over kids at school harrassing him and trying to sell drugs/alcohol- which he turned them in for. But, he has does so much damage to the house, I don't think I can sell it right now. So, I can't turn my back on him. I just want to get him help.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    A good sped attorney should be familiar with all childhood disorders, not just one or another. I think you should call the attorney who just won the autism suit and see what he's like.

    Our attorney recently recommended that we have an educator (in our case, he is a former school district employee turned educational consultant) observe J at his current school and talk to his teachers about his performance. He observed J with his head down on the desk, motionless, not talking to peers, not participating in class, incredibly shut down. He wrote up his observations in a report that we will be submitting with neuropsychologist testing to our school district for the IEP process. We think it will definitely help us in getting J appropriate services and accommodations. Maybe you can arrange something like that as well.

    Why is there an IEP meeting Friday? Did you or the school district call for it?
  5. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    During The Bad Years we hired three attorneys and used a Pubic Defender once. Two of the three attorneys we hired -- the first two, including the one we took to a school hearing -- made no effort to understand the situation and gave (or intended to give) us their one-size-fits-all representation. I had to learn the IDEA and spend a lot of time undoing the result of first one's failure to do the job he was paid to do. The second was fired when he refused to do the job he committed to before he was hired. The third one dismissed my information as that of a biased mother who didn't want to believe her little boy did a bad thing and refused to listen to anything I said ....right up until courtroom scene where the Evil Vice Principal lied on the witness stand totally contradicting the testimony of the pretend victim who was unable to continue in lying once he was under oath exactly as I had predicted. The best representation we got was from a Public Defender. But the most help we got was from an Assist. DA who's job was to prosecute my son even though he personally thought there was no crime to prosecute.

    Naturally, I'm going to advise you not to go into anything with an attorney who doesn't completely grasp the complexities of your son's situation and/or who doesn't know IDEA backwards and forwards. The wrong attorney can make things worse. Nothing like sitting next to the person you are paying only to have them start making the school district's case.

    (I beat a school district sped ed attorney at a due process hearing once. I don't know if she didn't know the law or if she just assumed I didn't. The other time I faced an attorney at a due process hearing was a formality -- he conceded on behalf of the school district and was tasked with sitting in a room with me and writing up the proposed solution to the problem. He was not happy and snapped at me about not gloating. Gloating?? Huh??? Never quite got what that was all about. Apparently making a school district abide by a mediation agreement is a bad thing.)
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    OK- I'll find some way- something to say- to deal with this attny. I think I could get school district to MAYBE agree to difficult child going to day treatment. My concern, though, is that they would never agree to placement back in mainstream school. Really, they think he is doing ok this school year- although they had him arrested for tearing up his school-issued computer.

    The ed spec from MDE/ day treatement is acting somewhat like an advocate- I think- but I've never had an advocate on board, so I can't say for sure.

    I have to mention- when I said a couple of things I had learned from this forum to the judge, she seemed to take it pretty serious. Of course, I didn't tell her the forum or website- I just found it interesting that she did seem to understand that the tdocs weren't getting us anywhere, but communicating with other parents was.
  7. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    Oh hone, I can only offer <<<hugs>>> I am in a similar boat with my 11 y/o difficult child and I cringe to think of him at 13 or 16 like this.

    Does your county have a "Family Support orginization" here in NJ every county has one and it is made up of parents of special needs kids who have "been there, done that" and they're trained Occupational Therapist (OT) advocate for you, my FSO worker is coming with me next month to the IEP meeting.