school district is refusing to provide an IEP

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by 1 Day At a Time, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Our difficult child who has an orthopedic disability was recently diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome in a neuropsychological that was conducted at our expense. difficult child is 16 and a junior in high school. He has been under a 504 plan since the accident that caused his orthopedic impairment, 5 years ago.

    When we received the results of the evaluation, we sent the school district psychologist a copy and requested an IEP. We heard nothing for several months and then suddenly, last week, the Counseling department secretary called me and scheduled a 504 meeting, which was held today.

    These meetings are always extremely stressful for me, and I do professional mediations for a living. But, dealing with your own child places things in an entirely different arena. Boy was I ambushed today! There I was with several teachers, the 504 coordinator, the guidance counselor , the assistant principal and the school district psychologist. We moved through the 504 meeting, and then the psychologist pulled out difficult child's neuropsychological report. She began going through the various test results, sub-test by sub-test pointing out that difficult child was really "very intelligent" and that he would never be eligible for an IEP and he really had no issues, etc., etc. After 5 minutes of this performance , I politely told her that I had not come prepared to defend difficult child's evaluation and that I would prefer that she and I speak privately after the meeting so that we could finish our meeting with the teachers. Instead, she persisted until the time keeper finally said it was time for the next meeting to begin - and we needed to vacate the room.

    Then, the psychologist scooted over next to me in a very intimidating fashion. She began to question me very loudly about difficult child's medication and treatment, really giving me the 3rd degree. I asked her to give me a few moments to pull my thoughts together and then we went through the evaluation point by point together. She began to back track and mentioned several accomodations that could be offered to difficult child in a 504 plan, not an IEP. She additionally stated,"Since you are so interested in research, I suggest that you research our state's education web site to see why your son is not eligible for an IEP. Just because you got your own evaluation and you got some DSM diagnoses, that doesn't mean you get an IEP." She then asked me if I understood her, and I answered that I heard what she was saying. She became even more angry at this point and continued her intimidating approach to me. I politely excused myself and went to my car to have a little cry.

    My husband and I have discussed this at length and we are pondering our options. I know for a fact that the school principal (who was not present) and the school district superintendent would have been horrified if they observed this woman's behavior. The teachers and other professionals who were present in the room were extremely uncomfortable and left the room as soon as they could. Quite frankly, I am still stunned. I am even more shocked by the fact that this person is a psychologist! Additionally I feel quite certain that difficult child is eligible for an IEP. Without one, he will have no transitional services. He desperately needs them. husband and I thought that a certified letter sent to the principal and head of SE for the school district might be a good start. Does anyone have any ideas about this ? I could use some good advice. If I had known that the neuropsychological evaluation was going to be challenged, I would have had the neuropsychologist present for the meeting. Nothing like being blindsided!
     
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Sorry to hear you are going through this- school district's can be a real PITA sometimes. I am fighting a battle with my difficult child's right now. Anyway, I'd like to bring up a few points for you that apply to Virginia and may or may not apply to your state.

    1) the psychologist probably really isn't a psychologist- but they should have a little training
    2) anyone hired by the school district is going to remember who signs their paycheck
    3) I read somewhere- and can't remember if it was in IDEA most recent changes or our state's regulations- that the school district has to consider evaluations done privately. (Of course that doesn't mean that they will qualify the student for an IEP)
    4) Your person there seems like a rude idiot- I think you should send something certified mail to the principal, the director of Special Education, and the superintendent. If you don't get acceptable results from that- go to the state doe.

    Hang in there! It is a fight but it is worth it and it sounds like there was no reason whatsoever to question that your son needs an IEP. I had someone forewarn me that school district's will say "your child is smaart and as long as he makes passing grades, he doesn't need an IEP". So, gather documentation that your son is not making grades that are in line with his potential. That is what counts- if he scores high in certain areas but is making C's and D's in those subjects, that is enough to show it.

    Keep us posted!! Others will come along with more experienced advice than I have and can help too!

    PS Don't be shocked or disappointed if you find out that the principal isn't as suppportive as you expect - and/or that there will be a few teachers on "your side" and a few that always pose a challenge.
     
  3. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    What happened to you is outrageous, and the school district did not follow the law, but unfortunately, neither did you. What the psychologist said (and yes, school psychologists are "real psychologists, but not all of them are good, and this one was not) is literally true: just because you have a DSM diagnosis done by an outside evaluator does not qualify a student for an IEP. However, the existence of the evaluation, and her conceding that points covered might fit under a 504, lets me know that there is something in the evaluation.

    Here is the correct procedure: Send a certified letter requesting a full and complete case study evaluation of you difficult child in ALL AREA OF SUSPECTED DISABILITY. The school district must conduct its own evaluation as prescribed in section 1414 of IDEA. Components are specified and if it is not complete, then it is not valid. Then an eligibility meeting is convened. There is a two-pronged test for eligibility: the child must have a qualifying disability (you have this) and there must be demonstrable negative educational impact. Special education is a service, not a place, and it applies to those of any intellectual level who suffer negative educational impact from a covered disorder. been there done that year ago with my ex-difficult child...he was IEP qualifed with well above average IQ and average grade level reading and really hgih math skills because he had HUGE negative educational impact form depression and ODD. He was classified as EBD, received many accommodations and some services but was never in a special class---he even attended school half days due to his IEP status.

    Here is a link that will be helpful to you: www.wrightslaw.com. Also, the archives of Sp Ed 101 contain threads on "getting started" and other informative things.

    Unfortunately, all the time the independent evlaution sat with the school district is lost. Send your request BY CERTIFIED MAIL and that starts a 60 calendar day time line that the school district has to complete the evaluation. They must consider, but are not obligated to follow, your IE. If I were you, I would not go to another meeting alone. If the psychologist tries to intimidate you again, I would complain in writing...if you have someone with you, you have a witness.

    I know it;s hard even when you have skills as a mediator. I found it hard and I teach this stuff at a university.

    Martie
     
  4. I really appreciate the input. Martie, I'm getting started today, you've given me an excellent road map for all of the steps I need to take. I hate to admit it , but at heart I'm still an idealistic 60's child. I'm always believing that folks that go into the helping professions really want to "help". Silly me....

    The school district psychologist had a real opportunity to inform me how about I need to go about my request, and instead she chose to attempt to intimidate and humiliate me publically. I certainly will not attend one of these meetings alone again. My heart goes out to the other parents in our school district who may not be able to find the resources to get assistance for their children. husband keeps telling me that I need to throw my hat in the ring for a recent school board vacancy. I'm really considering it, even though it's a huge time obligation.
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I still catch myself slipping back to that mode sometimes, and I know better.

    There are sample letters in the archives if you need them.
     
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