Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by wakeupcall, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    difficult child was tested (once again) by an independent contractural child psychologist at his school on Friday. They wanted their own diagnosis instead of all the others we've gotten over the last few years. Okay. Guess what? He diagnosis'd him with a serious emotional disorder. We don't have the written report yet, but husband and I met with him and got his opinions. He said, "depressed, no self-esteem, pessimist, negative and definitely ADHD". He said this will open up many more doors for assistance than with the original diagnosis of ADHD/ODD. Are any of your children carrying around this diagnosis? I'm so confused. What other types of assistance are there? I feel very validated....just wanna say, "I told you so, I told you so..." I know one of the the things the doctor is going to recommend is Social Development Classes that he'll have to be bussed to. I'm sure the school is upset they opened up a can of worms, but I'm grateful (I think) for yet another professional's set of eyes and ears. Insight, anyone?
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Speaking from professional experience, "serious emotional disorder" is what is in the Federal law. From personal experiences, it was only through the label SED that my ex-difficult child could get the help he needed for depression and many of the other things you mention (except ADHD.) The thing to watch out for is what types of students are in the proposed placement.

    Roughly, there are internalizers (depressed, low self-esteem, negative, etc) and externalizers(challenging, impulsive, hyper, acting-out, aggressive etc.) and these two types of students do not mix well. First, the latter bully the former and second, internalizers need emotionally based therapy and perhaps cognitive restructuring. Externalizers need structure and positive behavioral interventions.

    The problem with this nice dichotomy is some emotionally disturbed kids act out and some externalizers have underlying emotional problems. However, NOT having OSFA classes is still important.

    When my ex-difficult child was young, I kept him in regular classes with in-school therapy (in addition to a lot of private therapy) because the BD class (no SED class existed) had all the bullies he was trying to avoid. Also, he had no academic problems that were not motivational in nature so he did not need intensive direct instruction of a special class (which is one of the good things that Special Education CAN provide--but doesn't always of course.)When ex-difficult child could not remain in public school because he was too ill, I made SURE that the EGBS I chose had an appropriate program AND students who were depressed internalizers just like him. No acting out behavior or aggression toward peers was tolerated. This safe environment was what these particular kids needed to open up and utilize the 18 hours of therapy that they had weekly. This program would not be good for every kid but it was very good for an immature, depressed kid with low self-esteem.

    So if you think the new diagnosis is closer to the mark, then you should get an IEP FIRST with goals that address you child's specific needs (including in school therapy) and only THEN look for a place to deliver these services. Your school district should not be using diagnosis alone to dictate placement--which is what they are doing if they conclude your difficult child should go to a certain placement because of a diagnosis. It works the other way around: if difficult child has needs on the IEP that can only be met in a therapeutic school, then he should go there. However, some SED kids have needs that can be met in the regular class with support and related services (therapy and social work.)

    I do not fear this diagnosis because therapy can work and kids can and do improve with interventions.

  3. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    Can you say a bit more about why you mean by in school therapy? Would this be therapy by a licensed professional (ie. not a guidance counselor who perhaps is not a trained psychologist or social worker). Why does hte school have to provide that?

  4. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    [ QUOTE ]
    Why does hte school have to provide that?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Because of the expense.

    Counseling by an appropriate professional is a related service.

    The following was written by OSEP and in relation to IDEA 1997, but it's still applicable.

    "Related services are transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech-language pathology and audiology services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation [including therapeutic recreation] social work services, counseling services [including rehabilitation counseling] orientation and mobility services, medical services, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to help a child with a disability to benefit from special education. (Sec. 1401 (22) of the 1997 Reauthorization of IDEA)"
  5. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I'm not exactly sure what Sheila means "because of the expense." Schools resist in-school therapy because of costs but the costs are MUCH cheaper than the alternatives that the school district can become responsible for IF the child has a parent who knows the law (and/or has a good advocate or attorney.)

    What I did was divide ex-difficult child's world: he had problems that did NOT arise from school but school was also a problem in and of itself. I did not want his outside therapist spending time "speculating" about school when the school could provide direct services regarding school problems that could be internally communicated. E.g., ex-difficult child is refusing to go to science bec. he is being bullied and the teacher, in effect says, "solve your own problems--I'm here to teach science." A licensed school social worker can intervene directly whereas an outside therapist can either try to restructure (which never worked with my kid until after EGBS, or can try to intervene as an outside consultant (which would be at my expense and less effective.) Since ex-difficult child was receiving extensive outside therapy, it allowed me to keep the school social worker from going too deeply into areas that she might not have expertise, i.e., the particular identity formation problems of transracially adopted children; however, dealing with unsupportive teachers was her cup of tea. This did not confuse ex-difficult child at all--his outside therapy was "his." (We also did family therapy off and on as well.) The school social worker was there to help him cope with school--a big challenge in itself. These services were written into his IEP.

    The quality of school social workers: it varied from not too good (but ex-difficult child was young and liked the attention and break from class) to one so good that I hired her privately during the summer (because ex-difficult child did not qualify for ESY services although he should have.)

    My ex-difficult child has a somewhat unusual Hx--he was fully in regular class, with social work services in his IEP--then he attended part time in 7th and 8th grades, also regular classes. He washed out of 2 high schools in 6 weeks and after 14 very successful months at an EGBS (that the school did not pay for), he never returned to public school--our choice. He graduated from a regular ed program with no special accommodations for his emotional needs BUT the high school was a very good match for his interests and abilities, so his in-school emotional needs were very diminished.

    This is really a case where the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" and you have to know what you are asking for in order to get what your son needs. There is a minefield of INappropropriate services out there for internalizers but there are some appropriate service provided by law.

    Martie :warrior:
  6. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Martie, what is EGBS?

    It never occurred to me to try to direct his therapy into two different directions; school and non-school. Of course, of course, they will overlap as he's only one person, but to not waste time in the therapy that our insurance pays for and let the school's psychologist handle the school stuff is ingenious!! Thanks for a wonderful idea. I intend to have everything I can think of included in his IEP. I think the doctor who did the testing last week will suggest the Social Development classes and I hope that he also suggests how often he needs it. I look for it to be extensive and if nothing else, difficult child will love the break in the day.
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    EGBS = emotional growth boarding school
  8. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Thanks, TM!

    Martie, my difficult child is still in regular classes also. He has Special Education for math each day, but the rest of the time he's in regular classes. He IS able to go to the Special Education class (he loves the teacher) whenever he feels overwhelmed with something or if he thinks he needs help. I'm so glad the school allows this sort of at his discretion. He needs the break and I think it does him good. I'm also considering summer school this year so that he doesn't lose all that he learns "socially" over the summer. I wonder if that should be put into his IEP also? So far, his grades are good, but I wonder how long we can hold on.
  9. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Make SURE the Social Development class is not an alternative placment away from his current school.

    That is what I took from you first post; maybe I was mistaken. If it is a service at the current school, the decision is a less drastic one but what type of students are in the class is still important in my opinion.

    I'm glad you found the suggestion useful--it worked quite well for ex-difficult child.

  10. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Hmmmmm, the way I understand it is that the school district doesn't offer the social development classes at his elementary, but at a nearby school. Should I be concerned?
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    [ QUOTE ]
    Schools resist in-school therapy because of costs

    [/ QUOTE ]

    That's what I meant.

    PamelaJ: I responded in your General Forum thread.
  12. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Yes you should be very concerned if they are talking about transferring to a self contained special clss at another school. As I said, an IEP would come first and then, if the IEP could only be met in a more restrictive placement, then the move might be worth it.

    Best Practice would strongly suggest that more intensive support should be offered where he is first, however.

    IF it appears that there is a reason to consider full-time special class placement, then what I wrote in a thread above about what type of class is is (therapeutic vs entirely rewards and punishments) and what the other students are like is very important.