Transition to 504 Likely?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by SRL, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    My difficult child is up for his tri--annual review where they will go through all of the domains, see what testing might need to be done, and reevaluate whether he qualifies for continued services. The truth is that he's doing great--he's responded well to interventions, he's an A with an occasional B student, he's indistinguishable from his peers unless you'd know what you are looking for and looked closely, etc. Socially he has exceeded every specialist's predictions and his mother's wildest hopes and has two very close friendships (they call themselves brothers :smile:). Currently the only direct services he receives is one 30 minute social speech session per week. I consider that to be a bonus from the district because it's unlikely any diagnostic test would have provided justification for that--it was recommended because it was clear to all that it had been extremely helpful to him the two previous years.

    In spite of all of that really, really good news, he is still a child who is at risk. He is environment dependent--greatly improved over several years ago but accomodations and extra management in the form of homeschool communications is still needed. Keeping him even keeled has played a MAJOR role in buying him the extra time necessary to mature and develop compensational skills that he didn't come by naturally. He's a smart kid and a good compensator and good at letting us know what he needs or doesn't need so we've happily been able to discard modifications that were once critical.

    What would you suggest I do to prepare for this meeting? I know from reading posts here that 504's aren't the preferred route but (do you ever hear this here?!) I don't think an IEP is going to be necessary at this point. I'm comfortable enough with my district to believe that if his needs would change, they'd respond quickly to put needed services back in place.

    Can you point me to an overview of 504 plans anywhere online? I'd like to find out the basics in advance such as if the child retains the label.

    Thanks for any help with this. And thanks a bunch for all of your advice here--I've learned a ton from reading the board even when the situation wasn't mine.

  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

  3. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Sheila got in ahead of me as I was writing this LOL.

    There is a new piece of IDEA 2004 that is important to this discussion:

    I got the citation: 20 U.S.C. 1414(a)(2)

    You can agree with school district to waive the triennial re-evaluation— which at first I thought would be a BAD idea in all cases.

    Some school district will look at the educational scores only and find "no negative impact" on educational functioning thereby missing the risk factors and dependence upon the environment that you are concerned about. I know someone who waived 3 year re-evaluation bec. the very advocacy oriented school psychologist told the mom that if the child tested "too high," Special Education services (that he REALLY needs due to BiPolar (BP)) would be pulled. The parent followed the advice and the kid still has services. I think your situation is similar in that you have a hard time showing “negative educational impact" in a child who is "at grade level" (or at least getting very good grades) but could slip quickly if the environmental supports were pulled.

    I am not as good as Sheila at pulling up specific chunks of the law but I know I am correct on this one. If this appeals to you (“difficult child does not really need to be put through an evaluation., he still needs some support but let’s hold off until the next natural transition, etc.”) then you should go to the meeting with the law in hand because I KNOW lots of SDs who think they must evaluate triennially (because this used to be the law.)

    in my opinion if the school district pushes very hard for a re-evaluation despite your willingness to waive it, then they probably are going to use it to find him ineligible and discontinue his IEP. If that happens, MAKE SURE they conduct a full evaluation, especially one that taps into social-emotional maturity, pragmatic language usage, and any other “spectrum type” behaviors that could be there still despite his marked improvement. If those are found, then immediately ask for a 504. Nothing should happen immediately (except waiving) because they have 60 days to evaluate (during which time his services cannot be changed without your consent.) The strategy I would use is IF they won’t waive (assuming you are willing to) then I would want an extremely thorough evaluation, which, of course, is costly and which you can disagree with leading to an IE which is even more costly. I know you don’t want of put your son through a lot of hoops and evaluations are stressful, but ANY child with a history of behavior that could lead to exclusion needs the protection of an IEP going into middle school in my opinion both as a parent of a child who was excluded and as a professional.

  4. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator


    Sec. 300.303 Reevaluations.

    (a) General. A public agency must ensure that a reevaluation of each child with a disability is conducted in accordance with Sec. Sec. 300.304 through 300.311--

    (1) If the public agency determines that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, of the child warrant a reevaluation; or

    (2) If the child's parent or teacher requests a reevaluation.

    (b) Limitation. A reevaluation conducted under paragraph (a) of this section--

    (1) May occur not more than once a year, unless the parent and the public agency agree otherwise; and

    (2) Must occur at least once every 3 years, unless the parent and the public agency agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.

    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1414(a)(2))
  5. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    By quoting this, are you saying it's a bad idea in all cases?

    I deal so often with the "no negative impact" problem that if evaluation is waived, then eligibility is maintained. So a parent happy with services for a child likely to test "too high," it seem like a good trade-off to me.

  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    "By quoting this, are you saying it's a bad idea in all cases?"

    Not at all. I agree that there are too many instances of "no negative impact" according to the sds. Every advantage needs to go the student/parent in my opinion.

    I edited the second url address out so as not to confuse the issue, e.g., every decision in our school district seems to be motivated by money and that url seemed to be feeding into that school district behavior. Sorry about the confusion.

    My brain is pretty saturated right now so I may be reading the reg incorrectly, but I'm interpreting this as an agreement between parent and school district to sign a waiver for reevaluation doesn't automatically mean parent and school district agree to continued eligibility. Perhaps it does after incorporting additional regs. I haven't researched to see if reevaluation is still required before a student is dismissed from or denied IEP eligibility.

    I'd want to know my difficult child still qualified for an IEP in the eyes of the school district before signing a waiver, however. I can see where there may be instances wherein a school district's strategy would be to lead a parent into signing a reevaluation waive, then turning right around at the IEP meeting and declaring the student no longer eligible for an IEP.

    I believe I'd wait to sign a waiver to reevaluate until the new IEP is written. Both the waiver and IEP could be done at the same meeting.

    This is going to bug me until I've researched dismissal from eligibility further, but I don't have time right now. lol
  7. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    I don't thinka school district could do that bec. in some other part of the law--which I don't want to look up right now--still says "services cannot be terminated with-out evaluation, except for h.s. graduation."

    So--of course I would check also if I were the parent--the assumption is that by waiving the re-evaluation, all are agreeing that eligibilty is maintained and the IEP is merely updated to reflect gains or new needs.

    When there is no dispute on eligibility, re-evaluation can be a waste of time & money if goals are being monitored carefully as you do with your difficult child. I also believe but do not know if this is the regs--that parents can waive a FULL re-evaluation and say, "please evaluate reading progress only", and if the school district agrees, then that is what is done.

    It could be an OK provision if there were more good will to serve kids.

    Thanks for the cite.

  8. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I believe this is the citation.

    Sec. 300.305 Additional requirements for evaluations and reevaluations.

    (e) Evaluations before change in eligibility.

    (1) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, a public agency must evaluate a child with a disability in accordance with Sec. Sec. 300.304 through 300.311 before determining that the child is no longer a child with a disability.

    (2) The evaluation described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section is not required before the termination of a child's eligibility under this part due to graduation from secondary school with a regular diploma, or due to exceeding the age eligibility for FAPE under State law.

    (3) For a child whose eligibility terminates under circumstances described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, a public agency must provide the child with a summary of the child's academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child's postsecondary goals.

    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1414(c))
  9. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Thanks. This indeed does look like it could be a huge void and a problem. It just doesn't make sense to sink a ton of work and money into a kid like mine and then leave him hanging.

    Does the transition to a 504 plan require formal termination of eligibility under IDEA?
  10. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I knew the exception also included aging out but I didn't state that because I thought it was obvious as well as not applicable.

    So where are "we" on this? Is waiving a good thing to consider if a qualified child with continuing social/emotional problems may be disqualfied for making "too much progress" academically?

    I'm just inquiring because this is a clear change in the law.

  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    [ QUOTE ]
    Does the transition to a 504 plan require formal termination of eligibility under IDEA?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yes, it does.

    He would have to be dismissed from IDEA in one meeting, and then a 504 meeting would have to be held. (I've seen this happen where the IEP meeting is closed, and a 504 meeting begins immediately.)

    If your school district adhered to the letter of the law, difficult child would have to go through the evaluation process to determine 504 eligibility. While the qualifying criteria is different for IEPs and 504s, Section 504 has the same evaluation requirements as IDEA.

    If you go forth with this, the school district could use the same evaluation they will have to do for dismissal from IEP to qualify him for 504.

    Ironic for your situation, students who have IEPs are automatically protected under Section 504, but the converse is not true.

    I know you have full confidence in your school district; that's great. But I'd be reluctant to forfeit difficult child's IEP. Too many things can happen. school district personnel changes, 504s don't get the same respect from most school district personnel as IEPs (I had one teacher tell me that she goes so far as to throw them in the trash), our kids can destabilize in the blink of an eye, unforeseen events happen like parents having to move out of district, parents have little control with-504s and fewer procedural safeguards, etc. Another thing you may want to factor in is that puberty is approaching for your difficult child and puberty too often triggers a downward spiral.
  12. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    [ QUOTE ]
    Is waiving a good thing to consider if a qualified child with continuing social/emotional problems may be disqualfied for making "too much progress" academically?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think it's a good potential option in all cases. (Can you tell that we live in a school district that believes Learning Disability (LD) kids have to be 2 yrs behind before they qualify for an IEP? lol)
  13. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Does going to this meeting that is scheduled constitute the review or is that the end result meeting after any evaluations have been done?
  14. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    You need a FULL evaluation to terminate Special Education service LEGALLY (does your school district follow the law?) except in two cases: high school graduation and "aging out." Neither applies to your difficult child, obviously.

    If you go back up this thread, that is why I said earlier, if they seem to have already made up their minds to terminate, ask for a REALLY complete evaluation of everything that could possibly interfere with continued educational progress in the mainstream. First it will provide information that might reveal a reason for them to change their minds; second, doing the evaluation. might be more hassle than it is worth, so they will choose not to do it; third, if they will continue services as they are, you could waive the triennial re-evaluation under the revised law if they agree. You should ONLY waive if you have it in writing first that by waiving, his Spe Ed eligibility will be maintained. It's only logical: the ostensible reason for waiving is "no new information is needed." Therefore, the evaluation that qualified him 3 years ago stands as currently correct. So he still needs Sp Ed services.

    This is very confusing--and I hope I haven't muddied the waters.

  15. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    No, you haven't muddied the waters--I'm with you so far.

    I just scheduled the meeting and while asking for clarification of the various options we would be considering I did toss out this as an option and it was agreed that that would be one possibility.

    There were several subtests on the ability test they did at his last evaluation that he scored very poorly on but haven't seemed to translate into classroom performance problems. I'm curious as to where he stands on those currently, but in light of the whole picture would it be best to bypass requesting those be repeated? I agreed with the initial results in all cases but this has been a typical pattern for him--we see issues that are consistent with assessment results and within a few months (and sometimes home/school attention) my difficult child pulls one of his Mysterious Powers of Compensation Acts on us and the issue is resolved.

    There is one area that hasn't been reevaluated since before he started school but it would have to be done privately because I want it done by the same person who tested him previously. I won't mention that at the meeting but will keep it on the backburner just in case.
  16. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I just wanted to let you know that we had the meeting today and we're good to go for another 3 years. We were all in agreement that no new evaluations were needed and to stay the course with eligibility and the IEP.

    Thanks for all your excellent help, ladies. This was the outcome I'd hoped for.
  17. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I'm so happy you got what you think is best for difficult child!

  18. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Good deal!!
  19. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    up for dreid