Private IEE results are in!

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Mickey2255, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    I'm a little bit giddy right now. We met with a highly recommended psychologist who spent about 7 hours with difficult child testing him for a private IEE - the one I asked for and the school wanted to take us to due process to refuse! So to make a long story short, one of his recommendations is a ONE ON ONE aid!! The school is going to have a cow when they see this. I've never even mentioned an aid before and now he's suggesting a one on one and makes a very good case for it too. Not only does he feel it's necessary educationally but also behaviorally to create a safe environment for the OTHER children. Very nice way of telling school that there is an alternative to the suspensions they love so much!

    Of course, the report means nothing if I can't get them to buy in to it but we do have a mediator coming to the next IEP meeting so I'm hoping they will do more than just say "NO" to me constantly. I'm trying to round up a decent advocate to go with me for support - and as a witness. I'm getting tired of getting beat up alone.

    Happy New Year to all - and best wishes for getting everything we ask for in our IEP's this year!

    Michelle
     
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Dear Michelle,

    The school district is obligated to "consider" your IEE but not follow it. I would STRONGLY suggest you take an advocate with you. At a minimum, a good advocate can help you point out to the school district that at this point, you will not take, "NO" anymore, and that an aide is probably their least costly alternative now (which is not how thye will initially think of it.)

    When is the meeting?

    Martie
     
  3. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    Martie,

    I am trying to bring an advocate - I know one who would be great but she's already got so much on her plate that I'm trying not to ask but hoping she'll volunteer.

    The meeting is the 18th.

    Do you know much about NCLB and the curriculum requirements? It's my understanding all curriculum must be "research based". I just got an email from school saying they use the "Michigan Curriculum Framework". I thought those were just the state guidelines and not truly researched based curriculum programs...I have to check the state's website to be sure. The IEE also recommended Lindamood-Bell for reading so I want to be ready to compare the two and it won't be easy if they are only using a framework and not a real program....

    Michelle
     
  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Michelle,

    All states (to the best of my knowledge) have some version of "state curricular standards." These are different than methodology; they are goals or topics/skills that should be covered by grade.

    Here is an important distinction that is in an evolutionary process. Previously, the Supreme Court ruled that parents of Special Education students do NOT have any right to dictate methods of instruction, granting what is referred to as "due deference" to professional expertise in these matters. The only exception to this was in NY state, where there was a circuit court decision that requires SDs to use discrete trial training for students with autism because it is "researched based," and it works. I feel like I am lecturing in Legal Issues 410, but hang on, this is on point to your situation:

    As you probably know, Rowley (1982) prohibits parents from seeking "the best" special education services. Special Education students are only entitled to "appropriate" services. HOWEVER, MI is one of the four states that exceeds the "appropriate" service level, but I still would not ask for "the best" for strategic reasons. Enter NCLB which requires "researched based" instruction and uses "excellence" and "maximize" language. This leaves a weird situation in that IDEA uses one standard (appropriate) and NCLB (excellence) has another. However, ALL children are covered by NCLB so presumably, Special Education students are now entitled to more than "appropriate." HOWEVER, (isn't this about the fifth "however,") the degree to which parents of regular ed students ever got any changes enacted because the school was not using "research based methods" is unclear to me.

    What does this mean for you? Here is my opinion: Do not go in and say, "I want the Linda Mood Bell program," because the school district will say that you cannot dictate methodology. Instead, DEMAND progress accountability in that you will have to use their reading program FIRST, but if after 6 to 8 weeks, there is no PROGRESS, then you have a right to insist that they change to an "effective method." Again, you can't dictate what that will be, but you can demand a change. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to think that whatever is in the IEP is "set" for a year. A good negotiating strategy in my opinion is to agree with the school district, and then set a meeting to REVIEW EFFECTIVENESS DATA in 6 to 8 weeks. Make it clear at the outset that you expect results, and there will be follow-up if there are no positive outcomes with their method. This approach is supported by the Supreme Court's Carter decision (1995.) Implicit in this is the school district has an obligation to collect objective data to show gain or lack there of. If they refuse, then they have nothing to stand on, greatly increasing your chances of winning with a mediator or at Due Process.

    This approach is in line with current trends in two ways: even though the NYC School Board lost in the Supreme Court last fall, there is still the idea floating around that parents should have to try the school's suggestions first; second, RtI focuses on research based, effective instruction, particularly in reading. RtI EMPHASIZES data-based decision making in regard to both curriculum and BIPs. At the risk of repeating myself, ALL of these legal mandates are underwritten by the assumption that a lot of data will be collected.

    So as a strategy, I would not attempt to insist on a particular methodology because that has little to no basis in law. I WOULD insist on demonstrable research based RESULTS because both NCLB and IDEA provide a legal basis for that as well as the Carter decision.

    I hope my reasoning is clear; if not, ask questions and I will attempt to answer them.

    Martie
     
  5. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    Martie,

    You ought to be teaching that Legal Issues 401 class! Excellent explanation in tying together IDEA and NCLB that I hope helps others too. I've read NCLB and I think I understand it but then I try to tie it back to difficult child's situation and our school and it gets confusing.

    So...the IEP we are working off of was written at the beginning of the school year and put in place though I disagreed with it and had virtually no input. Can I ask them to prove progress with the current curriculum thus far into the year and if it's not working ask for a change? Or do I need to ask for progress starting with the next meeting? Considering the goals are completely subjective as written, it's going to be relatively easy for them to say he's made progress....Based on NCLB would it be appropriate to ask for a research based methodology/curriculum if they can't prove that theirs is without specifying which one?

    Now that we have objective data from the IEE that tells us difficult child can learn and maintain grade level with the appropriate interventions and assists, I'm really going to struggle when they won't agree to goals that would help him accomplish just that. I'm not sure if I can use NCLB for that argument - it really only states that they should be reading at grade level by third grade and doesn't say much about what should be done if they are only reading at 2nd grade when in 4th grade. Heck, I couldn't even get them to agree in September that we should expect to see a full grade level advancement for a full year of education!!

    I truly do appreciate your help - and 101 or 401 or whatever class you are lecturing on is just fine for me!!!

    Michelle
     
  6. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Michelle,

    I DO teach Legal Issues 410 to future school psychologists and I just POUND them on parents' rights.

    You MUST get a SMART (this is from the Wright's) IEP in order to have a basis to demand accountability. The easiest way to do this in my opinion is to follow the format provided by Wrightslaw.com. It conforms to the law and is fairly easy to understand. If you do not own From Emotions to Advocacy, I think it is a worthwhile investment for you. It explains standard score tracking very well, and include SMART IEPS. It also contains a great deal of information about how to avoid being overly emotional, which is easier said than done.

    http://www.fetaweb.com/

    http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/iep.goals.plan.htm

    S Specific
    M Measurable
    A Actionable
    R Realistic/relevant
    T Time-limited

    If you allow an IEP to be vague, "Johnny will improve reading comprehension," the strategy I outlined in the prior post will not work.

    Here is what NCLB says about reading instruction:

    http://www.wrightslaw.com/nclb/rbi.htm

    Martie
     
  7. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    Martie,

    Too bad you can't pound all our school administrators in that class too...but the psychiatric's are a start I suppose!

    I do own all three of the Wright's Law books and attended a 2 day boot camp this summer. I went to that September IEP meeting with all my goals written in "SMART" format. My son's Sylvan director attended the boot camp with me and then his IEP meeting. They showed up with a pre-written IEP and basically just said NO to everything I asked or tried to get an explanation for. A well respected advocate looked at the IEP after and said it was one of the worst she'd ever seen. We got so steam-rolled it wasn't even funny. That's why this time I asked for a mediator to be present for the discussion. I'm hoping a mediator won't let them just flat out refuse every single comment or request by me.

    I negotiate for a living and have taken many classes on successful negotiation skills. What I've never learned though is how to negotiate with people that won't talk! Reminded me of when my son was 2 and would just scream "no, no, no, no..." until I would walk away or give up. I guess it really is a successful strategy!

    Again, thanks so much for your help and interest!

    Michelle
     
  8. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Michelle,

    You are correct: it is impossible to negotiate with an entity that says nothing but "no." As you know, your school district is in violation of the law. Unless you are very wealthy, you will shortly have to decide whether to spend money fighting the school district or spend money directly on your child, because it is hard for most families to afford to do both simultaneously. It is a very difficult decision for many parents because in some states, including IL., it is VERY expensive to go to Due Process.

    In general, if a child is young and has very expensive to serve needs, then fighting the school district pays off. The older the child, the less likely this is to be true. Since your child is "middle aged" in terms of school, the biggest advantage of an IEP is it confers legal protection he will need in middle and high school even if it is not currently delivering FAPE to him.

    I hope the mediator can get your school district to listen. Obviously, their screaming, "NO" has been working for them.

    Martie
     
  9. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    Martie,

    Hubby and I were just talking about this yesterday. He's getting impatient with everything moving so slow and I keep reminding him that we are slowly building our case and can't do anything stupid. We are far from rich and are already paying for tutoring 2 hours per week. I have both our house and cottage up for sale hoping to move to a more cooperative district and have some cash to go to due process if necessary.

    The part that bugs me is that if they'd done some of this stuff with him in 1st grade we wouldn't be having half of these problems now. On Friday they gave him a 2 page reading assignment with no assistance and then he got in trouble when he didn't finish it because he spent 30 minutes in the bathroom hiding. When I leveled the pages it came out to an 11th grade reading level!!!! No kidding - I'd hide too if they told me to read this when my ability was closer to 2nd grade.

    I'm not ready to give up but it sure is frustrating!

    Michelle
     
  10. Calista

    Calista New Member

    Can we archive this? It's great info to refer back to.
     
Loading...