School psychiatric wants me to withdraw MDE (UPDATE)

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Jules71, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Had my meeting with the school psychologist at difficult child's school this afternoon. It went fine. We just talked about difficult child and some of his issues and his observation when he watched him in class once. He gave me a a booklet called Interim Notice of Procedural Safeguards. He also gave me a 'copy' of a letter dated 9/18/07 that was not signed and was only page 1 of 3. This letter is addressed to me & husband and states difficult child has been referred to Special Education (by my written request recv'd on 9/4/07) and explains the timelines (as I requested). He said I would be getting something in the mail and he asked me to refuse or deny (don't remember how he put it) the evaluation at this time. He wanted to have the SST meeting on 10/4 and then try some interventions first, and then if those don't work - we could continue with the referral to evaluate.

    What do you think about this?
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I would not withdraw the parent request to evaluate.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What did he do with the other pages of the letter? Why does he want you to withdraw your request? Just my opinion, but something about this stinks.

    If you refuse or decry or whatever, your son will be bumped way down the list if you ever want services for him.

    Our kids often do much better in life if they have early intervention in problem areas. Please be very very careful before you refuse or whatever the services and assessments for your son.

  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Probably what he is talking about is trying RtI first. Let them try interventions, BUT do not withdraw the request because that would let them off the hook with the timeline--which they have used up almost half so far, apparently doing nothing. If the intervention is insufficient, as it usually is with "our" kids, the school district can roll the intervention data into the evaluation. Discussion RE: IDEA 2004 notes that RtI may SUPPLEMENT but not replace evaluations and wishing to use RtI cannot be used as a reason to deny an evaluation. This prevents SDs from saying, "We don't need to evaluate, we do RtI."

  5. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    What I think they are doing is trying to buy more time.

    I sent my request for evaluation to the director of Special Education, who is no longer in that position. I think because of the changes in staff at the school district my request got shuffled around for awhile.

    8/30 Sent certified request for evaluation
    9/4 They received it
    9/5 First day of school
    9/13 Emailed copy of letter & parent report to teacher (they did not know about it). She then made copies for everyone who needed it (principal, etc.)

    Here's what I think doesn't feel right:
    1. 'Copy' of letter (unsigned and dated 9/18, but recv'd 9/26)
    2. Only given page 1 (on the bottom says 1 of 3)
    3. He said because my difficult child's issues are only behavioral/social/emotional - we should try interventions first.

    He wanted me to commit verbally to withdrawing my request so that I would do that once the letter is sent to me. I told him it sounded reasonable to try interventions first but I would need to talk to husband. I didn't want to commit to anything on the spot and then feel I would have to keep my word.

    The letter he gave me yesterday stated their timelines:
    Within 25 SCHOOL DAYS after receipt of referral a review would be completed to determine if there is good reason to evaluate for Special Education. (We have the SST scheduled for 10/4)

    evaluation will be completed within 35 SCHOOL DAYS following receipt of written consent for evaluation (which I gave them in my original letter), unless an extended time line is needed and mutually developed.

    So what do you think? When he told me about difficult child's issues being just behavioral, I gave him a completed copy of a 'Learning Disabilities Checklist' (that I found in the IDEA Parent Guide). We have checked off several areas where difficult child has problems.

    I just don't know what to do. I don't even know what I want, other than for my son to get along, have a good experience and learn and not end up hating school for the rest of his life. I don't want him kicked out because he cannot handle his frustration.
  6. starcloaked

    starcloaked New Member

    Hi Jules,

    We sound like we are in very similar boats; I'm just a little further down the SPED road because things came to a head last year in preschool. Not that we're in better shape, though.

    Anyway, all last year the school system violated procedural safeguards, denied requests for evaluation out of hand, and generally screwed up paperwork, procedure, and implementation. Happily, H was in a fantastic preschool program with a brilliant teacher, and he did wonderfully throughout his experience. He was like a typical kid when he was in school. I didn't fight all their procedural screw-ups, because things were working in school, but what I did do was document everything in writing. After any meeting or phone call in which someone did something illegal, or said no to something, etc., I wrote it in a letter and sent it to the person saying that if they disagreed with anything I said, they should respond in writing. I faxed these and saved the fax machine receipt confirmation (I guess certified mail would have been better, but it was all I could do to manage writing the letter).

    I haven't had to bring these documents to a hearing, but when I handed them to the director of Special Education a few weeks ago, let me tell you we had his attention. It sounds like they're trying to mess with you (and my advice would be to definitely NOT deny the evaluation authorization). I'd send a letter to this man stating the date you received the letter (and the discrepancy of the date on the letter), its incompleteness, what he asked you to agree to, and the fact that you would like them to proceed with the evaluation you requested on 8/30. Get connected with a Special Education advocacy group (here in mass. we have the Federation for Children with Special Needs) and take a workshop. I found mine invaluable. Talking to a lawyer was also helpful, though I haven't gotten to that level (yet).

    Finally, a lot of things I read said to get a binder, organize everything you get from the school, every letter, notes from every meeting, etc., chronologically. I didn't do that until things fell apart this year because it felt overwhelming and I hoped I wouldn't need to. I devoted a couple of hours to making that binder a couple of weeks ago and let me tell you, it's a beautiful thing. It tends to get the Special Education people to pay attention too, because it sends the signal that you've got your ducks in a row and you'll be documenting what happens.

    I'm in a bit of a crisis myself right now, so I guess my way of coping is being full of advice, so take this for what it's worth. My son had a neuropsychologist evaluation this summer and got a diagnosis of nonverbal learning disability (in addition to ADHD and general anxiety). When you write incessant talking in your sig line, that's a real tip-off to the possibility of nonverbal learning disability (they say "if they're not talking, they're not learning."). You might want to explore that possibility. After spinning our wheels for a long time, the neuropsychologist evaluation (paid for by insurance, though we had to sign something saying we'd pay if the insurance refused)was by FAR the most helpful information we have gotten, and the diagnosis of a learning disability helps to force the school to deal with it. Don't let anyone leave it at a diagnosis of ODD--they need a reason *why* he has ODD, and generally speaking that diagnosis will take you down a disciplinary, not therapeutic road.

    That's quite enough for me, but good luck to you. All the documentation and organization and follow up is EXHAUSTING in a life where you have a kid with this kind of issue, but in the end it's worth it. At least that's my experience...

  7. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    This probably isn't necessary but I want to reiterate the importance of creating that binder too. Honestly, I probably wouldn't even matter much if it was completely disorganized but boy oh boy is it intimidating when you show up with that binder exploding with documentation! Then they KNOW you are serious and prepared.

    Mine turned up missing a few days ago and I about had a heart attack! So now I'm scanning every single page so I have an "electronic" binder of all this stuff as well.

  8. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thank you all so much for the advice. My gut tells me not to withdrawal the request. I agree they should try the interventions first - but they are running out of time and I think that's why they want me to do that.

    The binder is an excellent idea. I have all my documentation, emails, etc. but not organized. I have also been keeping a daily detailed log of any conversations I have with the school, and the daily conversations I have with his teacher. I also made a timeline document that lists the date and a quick note about any contact, conversations, etc. with regards to the IDEA process. I just need to print copies from my easy child and stick them in a binder. I have been in situations before where I did not have all the notes/documentation I needed and won't let that happen with this.

    I just don't want the school staff to think I am not being flexible and put me on their $hit list. Ya know? Arrrgghh.

    by the way, when I was on my way to the meeting with the school psychiatric yesterday I got a call from the school asking me to come in immediately after school for a conference because my son hit someone and was in the office for the rest of the day. (sigh)
  9. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    The school psychiatric's opinion of difficult child after watching him in class one day was maybe some ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety.
  10. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">My gut tells me not to withdrawal the request. </div></div>

    Trust your instincts. If you allow the withdrawal, you'll have no input on interventions and you'll end up having to do a 2nd request for the evaluation. At that time, their "time clock" starts all over again. Until the underlying problem(s) causing the behavior(s) are identified, intervention is just a "guessing game." in my opinion, it's kind of like a doctor taking an appendix out when, in fact, the the problem is ovarian cysts, e.g., similar pain, but different treatments required to treat the real problem.

    I think there are some instances where RTI is appropriate. However, if a group of educators could sit down and create appropriate interventions without evaluations, there would not be a need for evaluations to begin with.

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> The school psychiatric's opinion of difficult child after watching him in class one day was maybe some ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety.</div></div>

    Well, that's a start. But a full evaluation is still needed. Can't help but wonder why they would want to postpone the evaluation if that's the school psychiatric's first impression.

    If they want to put some interventions in place, agree to it. If they tell you they can't unless you withdraw your request for evaluation, that will be incorrect information.

  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Personally I agree- I'd let them put whatever interventions into place but stick with your original evaluation request.

    If you decide to go this route, make your intentions clear IN WRITING and attach a complete copy of your original request since he appears he may be playing games.

    I always carry my Big Black Notebook into all meetings and appointments. :smile:
  12. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I got the letter in the mail today - Prior Written Notice (dated 10/5/07, postmarked 10/9, received 10/10)

    It states....
    The District refuses to initiate an evaluation for difficult child.
    As we have discussed, this action is only a refusal at this time pending the outcome of pre-referral intervention services for difficult child.
    ...Lack of significant evidence to indicate the need for special education services. It also says... difficult child is receiving pre-referral intervention services through the SST (Student Success Team).
    The current focus is on evaluation of pre-referral intervention services. Blah blah blah.

    Now what? I can contest their decision, can't I?
  13. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Is anyone else in the district besides the principal (ie SST and director of sped) aware of the fact that difficult child was just suspended from kindergarten for 3 days?
  14. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    The SST (Student Success Team) is aware and during that meeting on 10/4, the principal agreed to let him return that day (after only 1 day of suspension). I do not believe the director is aware.
  15. starcloaked

    starcloaked New Member

    ARGH! Unbelievable.

    I can't believe this. You know, I had done a bunch of reading, paid an educational advocate, and did a whole bunch of other stuff, but just hired a lawyer and I really wish I'd done it a long time ago. We wasted time, money, and my son's precious start to school. Other friends have told me that nothing happens without a lawyer, and so far that's what I've seen.

    I'm hoping someone has some advice for you that's more helpful than this, but I'm so sorry you got this letter. Grrr.

  16. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    You should have been given Procedural Safeguards and Prior Written Notice documents by the school district. They will tell you the steps required to formally address the issue. You'd have to file Due Process. To be successful you'd likely have to have an education attorney.

    The school psychiatric stated his/her opinion of difficult child after watching him in class one day was "maybe some ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety." Based on this alone, they should do the evaluation because a disability is suspected in my opinion.

    From :

    "If, however, the public agency does not suspect that the child has a disability and denies the request for an initial evaluation, the public agency must provide written notice to the parents, consistent with Sec. 300.503(b) and section 615(c)(1) of the Act, which explains, among other things, why the public agency refuses to conduct an initial evaluation and the information that was used as the basis to make that decision. The parent may challenge such a refusal by requesting a due process hearing,...."

    I'd write a letter to the DISTRICT SPECIAL EDUCATION DIRECTOR asking for clarification in a way that will give them an opportunity to change their position.


    Via Certified Mail: #_________
    Via fax: (xxx) xxx-xxxx


    Address, etc

    We have a problem that I hope you can help sort out.

    We received a letter from ABC dated xxxx denying our request for a Full and Initial Evaluation for special education. In that it is an XISD professional's impression via observing our child that the problems at school may involve ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and generalized anxiety, I do not understand why our request for the evaluation has been denied.

    The information in XISD's letter appears to conflict with information I have regarding a school district's need to evaluate when a disability is suspected. We can't correlate this in that three disabilities are suspected.

    We wish to appeal this decision. How do we proceed? Can this be done at the local level or do we need to contact the Washington State Education Agency or U. S. Department of Education?

    We'd appreciate a response within 10 days. And thank you for your assistance.


    c: XISD letter dated XXXX

    See how it goes, but you might want to get a good advocate or attorney specializing in special education lined up.
  17. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    This is great - thank you! Thank you too Star. I wish it didn't have to be a constant fight.

    My question now is - If we go along with this (to try interventions first, and then if they do not work, to re-refer for evaluation) - is my son protected under IDEA, or not until he is re-referred?
  18. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Protections for children not yet eligible for Special Education should apply, but I think your district may be using their own rules.....
  19. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I sent a variation of the letter above via email (prepared to back it up by certified letter if needed) to the Director of SpEd. Here was his response:

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">There are several routes to take if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your request to have your son evaluated and you want to appeal.

    Citizens Complaint. This is a complaint made to the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction OSPI (the state education agency). OSPI will investigate the complaint and issue a finding. Citizen Complaints generally involve alleged procedural violations.

    Mediation. This involves both parties meeting with a third party mediator provided at no cost by OSPI. The focus is on attempting to find a mutually agreeable solution that becomes legally binding to both parties.

    Due Process Hearing. This hearing is held before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Issues may cover any matter relating to identification, evaluation, educational placement or provision of a free appropriate public education. The process is very formalized and parents are not required to retain an attorney but the school district almost certainly will. The results are binding.

    These three options are covered by Washington Administrative Code, have more to them then I’ve laid out here and have specific steps that must be followed. The details may be found in the Interim Notice of Procedural Safeguards that you were given when you received the paperwork for permission to evaluate. If you don’t have a copy of this then let me know and I’ll get you one or the school can provide you with one. You may also contact a parent advocate to help you through this process. We have such a group in X County that is funded by the county and is independent of the school district. I would encourage you to contact them if you are contemplating any of these three options as they know the ins and outs of the system. The name is X, ask for X and the number is #.

    You may also meet with me and ask for my review. My role would be to examine the process and the outcome to ensure that procedures were followed and standard practices were adhered to. I take no sides and will try to help the parents and staff resolve their differences. If an error was made by staff I will ensure that it is addressed promptly. My preference is to resolve disputes at the lowest level and as quickly as possible, usually a day or two. If you choose to meet with me this would not prevent you from taking any of the other options as stated above. Even if you want to take other steps I would like to hear about this from your point of view.

    Please give me a call at X and we can set up a meeting so we can discuss this in more detail. I look forward to hearing from you. </div></div>

    What do you think? I am so frustrated! I am confused. I don't know what I am doing. Part of me wants to push this and part of me wants to see if they can straighten things out by using interventions such as a behavior plan, etc. Of course I keep going back in forth in my mind - is this my fault (bad parenting, inconsistency), is he just stubborn and strong willed, or does he have some other problem. I think part of the reason I am so confused is because most of the time husband believes it's just a parenting problem and of course my fault! Do I want him labeled if we can avoid it?
  20. PollyParent

    PollyParent New Member

    I'd push to get him evaluated.

    If he's NEVER evaluated, then everyone can shrug their shoulders and say maybe it's this, or maybe it's that. You'll still get a lot of that once you get a desgination or a diagnosis, believe me, but once he qualifies for SpecEd he has certain legal rights to educational accommodations that the District doesn't really have to follow through on now.

    I've never been too hung up on labels, myself. I think therapy is a good thing, and I'm rather honest with people in talking about mental health issues, for example. It's not bravery or anything, it's just identifying a problem and working to solve it. So I have depression. So what? I work to live my life around it and not let it take over. Same with a SpecEd designation. Who cares? At least get him the help he needs now when it's still so early that those interventions can have really positive benefits.