Blindsided at IEP

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Gwenage, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. Gwenage

    Gwenage New Member

    My son is 8 and in the third grade. He has had a diagnosis of high functioning Autism (Aspergers) and ADHD since Kindergarden. Has a IQ of 130. He had a very good year last year with a male teacher and we were told that we could get one again. We prepared him all summer and then the first day we find up he has a new teacher and she is female. When we protested the school principle said that it was their decision and they would deal with the consequences. This year it really started to look like Anxiety was coming in with a vengeance. His private therapist agreed. We discussed that with the school at his IEP assessment in September. We made an appointment with a private psychiatrist to talk medication management. We could not get in until November 5th.

    Anxiety in school ratcheted up even more in the past 4 weeks. He began doing whatever he could to get sent home. The principal did not want to give in so she refused to call us. Once he even sat staring at her for two hours until he gave up and went back to class. His behaviors escalated and he started talking about school shootings and getting rid of everyone. He would ask to see the counselor and talk about being the only one left after a school shooting. After we explained to him that type of behavior would not help him get out of school he talked about wanting to hurt himself instead. He only spoke like this to school officials. At home and with him private therapist he would say he just wants out anyway he can do it.

    We we spoke to him at home about it and he said he just wanted to go home and hates his school. He says kids pick on him. Our district has an ED Cluster program and we were asked to consent to an assessment for that program. We told our son we would be moving him to a new school and the talk of guns and hurting himself stopped.

    We were then invited to an IEP meeting again this week to discuss moving him there. However once we attended the meeting they had an "assessment" done with everything he ever said since kindergarden with kill and die in it. The ones from before this year taken out of context. Like "if everyone else on the planet was dead would I still have to do it?"

    So they labeled him with everything. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), ODD, CD, Major depressive disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), ther stuff. They started adding things like daily access to psychiatric care to his IEP and we were confused. Then they said we are sending your son to a non-public placement. Here is the one easiest to get into, we have a "good relationship" with this school and it goes up into 12 th grade. No they can't challenge your son academically but he's smart and can teach himself. No they don't really deal with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids but ED is his major concern anyway. Here sign this.

    We refused. I work in the mental health field and know how awful that particular school is. 10 to 1 teacher ratio and the kids are mostly physically violent ED types. (We send 8 year old drug addicts and kids who attack teachers there.) My son would become a psychotic mess with that sort of stress around him. He needs to feel safe. I called the placement specialist the next day and she kept asking if I would reconsider that school.

    I found and awesome one in Rockville that has a 1 to 3 ratio, is mostly kids with both Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and ED, with safety and support the #1 priority. It also only goes to 5th grade so reevaluation is a must. I called and they have openings. You just need to have a packet sent over and they do interviews to see if your kid is a fit and you will work with them. I'd like to try. The placement specialist said she would not just send out a packet for that school we needed to include the crappy one. I feel blind sided any haven't been able to sleep or eat since Wednesday worrying about this. Can they force us into a school if we do not feel it is a good fit? Why won't they let him try the ED cluster school? What would the edit steps be?
  2. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you need an advocate. I am not sure what the rules would be about it but if your child is not violent just speaks violently I don't think he needs to be in a school with violent students. I would fear for his safety honestly.

    If he did so well with a male teacher why can't they consider a temporary placement with the male teacher to see if the issues change. Even two weeks might be enough to determine if it would help. Why any school would refuse to give him a male teacher when that seems to be an obvious "help" for him is beyond me.

    I dont know the rules but if my child was not a threat to others or himself "per the psychiatrist" I would refuse to have them shuffled off to a subpar school. If he is causing disruption in the class then why not try to fix that part instead of just moving him to a different place. It sounds more like the school is trying to dump a problem child they don't want to have to deal with.
  3. Gwenage

    Gwenage New Member

    Well he had one instance of violence where he went to hit a girl that was teasing him but the teacher blocked it. He came back after a two day suspension apologized and has not gone near her since as per the teacher's report. Still I'm just so beside myself.

    i just don't want him forced into that school.
  4. Gwenage

    Gwenage New Member

    He did have one violent episode where he was going to punch a girl he felt was laughing at him due to his tick. The teacher stopped it. He took his detention and apologized when he returned without prompting from anyone.

    We have an appointment with an attorney on Monday but I have no idea how much they charge.
  5. I would definitely not agree to an Aspie in an ED school. I can't believe they are even suggesting it. Go to mediation or due process. You must notify them within 15 days of the PPT otherwise they can move him without your agreement. Once you notify (certified letter, signature required) the "Stay Put" law goes into effect. They can not move him until the case is resolved. I've seen this process take years.
  6. Gwenage

    Gwenage New Member

    Is there a form letter for that somewhere? I am in Maryland. At the end of the meeting they said since we refused to agree it had to go to mediation. I think the Aspergers and ED school might be good for him but if he doesn't get in there for some reason I'd hate to have that awful school. I'd push for in home schooling before I'd let him go there. He does have Anxiety is rather defiant. He can stare people down for hours. Still he would be a psychotic mess in a purely ED school.
  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Check out California Blonde's previous posts. Someone shared some links to free advocates in there a few weeks ago.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You're actually lucky. In our school, if anyone so much as breathed about a school shooting, they'd be gone. Make sure your son never talks that way to another student because if the kids tell their parents about it, the parents could freak out.

    I have an Aspie son and would never have sent him to an ED school. Autism is not an ED problem and the sort of systems they have in place for the ED kids not only don't work for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but are a challenge for all kids. My friend has been an aide in an ED classroom for over ten years and there is a lot of violence with kids acting out on staff and each other...noplace I'd ever send a non-violent Aspie. However, my son never spoke of violence or attacked anyone. And also staring at somebody is very un-Aspier-like. You sure he has the right diagnosis?

    At any rate, I think you need to call your state's Dept. of Public Education and ask to talk to the free special needs advocate covering your district. We contacted a lawyer and were told he couldn't do much and that it would be very expensive to try. You do need to go outside of your school district. The Superintendant, for example, is just the Head Honcho of your school district and is unlikely to upsurge anything they want to do. It can be very taxing to advocate for your kid's best interests, but I sure wouldn't try doing it within the school district itself if they are a stubborn one. With the Dept. of Education and an advocate we got the school change we wanted and free transportation to that school for my son and he has done very well in life so far. But the school district itself did not want to change him to the school we felt was best for him and it was a battle!
  9. Gwenage

    Gwenage New Member

    When I say stare I didn't mean in the eye I meant sat there and tried to wait them out. I know the violent words and that action was odd for an Aspergers kid. He has the sensory issues. He doesn't look people in the eye, he has strange focuses on odd topic. Currently he spends very waking moment discussing the switch from analog to digital television broadcasting.

    I think we need an independent neuropsychologist assessment outside the school setting. It freaks him out so much.
  10. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    It sounded like you said they'd send the packet to the good school if you agreed to let them send the packet to the bad one, too, am I correct? If that's the case, do it. Sending the packet does not mean you've agreed to a particular placement, just to consider it. I'd do it so you can get the packet to the good school since you can't apply yourself.

    I did this with my difficult child. I then went to see the bad school, which was not really "bad," just not the right fit for my son as it sounds like the school would not be for your son. I made a list of all the ways in which that school was not appropriate for my son, which you can't really do without visiting. In our case, we wound up doing an FBA, changing his teachers and putting him in to accelerated math the following year, which took care of many of his behavioral issues. My son told the school psychologist (he was in grade 6) that when he was a grown up, he was going to come to the school with his army of the soldiers of the night and kill everyone. The doctor said "are the soldiers here with you now?" to which difficult child responded "If you think you see them, you are hallucinating and need more help than I can give you!" They actually tried to suspend him for that but we wound up getting his assigned psychologist changed instead.

    Again, I think you should look at both schools and make notes and a list. I had a long list of reasons why the other school wasn't right for difficult child and number one on the list was that the nurse told me he'd be the only unmedicated child in the place if he went there. Apparently, most of the kids were early bipolar, PTSD and the like. Number 2 was the fact that the curriculum was about 2 years below grade level and difficult child's IQ is 139. Number 3 was the 1 hour bus ride each way when we live 4 blocks from the home school. I think you get the idea. Don't forget to check out the websites for both schools and see if you can get any info from them. I do want to say that I have friends whose kids went to the "bad school" and it was a good school for their needs, it just wasn't appropriate for my difficult child.
  11. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    Remind the school that they cannot diagnose and that your professional(s) disagree with those diagnoses anyway. That is their personal "opinion". If they insist on those diagnosis's request, in writing, the questionaires and documentation and the diagnostics to show what criteria of each of those the TESTING shows he meets. Definitely "disagree" with their plan and state why. As one of the others said, it starts the "Stay Put" rule. Definitely fight the placement. I spent 6 months in monthly IEP meetings with every specialist I could gather to fight the school. They were insistent that my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son go to a "behavioral placement". They refused to see that his anxiety was causing the exact scenarios you're describing. He was doing everything in his power to "flee" the uncomfortable situation that was unbearable to him. When he was in the psychiatric hospital, he even told the female nurse that he could get her fired by saying she'd "touched" him. She hadn't but he was scared to death and nothing else was working. They can be soooo smart in ways you'd rather they not be.

    Good luck. Keep us posted. What you've shared is really hitting home for me. {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}}
  12. Gwenage

    Gwenage New Member

    The school filled out a bunch of test questionnaires and he came back with anxiety, Aspergers, ODD, CD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), school phobia, and like everything. Some test told them he had a high likelihood of violence. It is like you said. His anxiety is causing him to do and say just about anything to get away. He truly does need another placement . I do not think he will ever be comfortable in our local school. I just disagree with the need for an ED placement, you know? He does call out in class and is way behind his peers in social skills.

    My son was excited to learn he may be able to go anywhere else. He keeps asking to be home schooled.

    We we have an appointment with a psychiatrist on November 5 and 6. I wish he had a change to get in with the psychiatrist before this all happened. He had such a good second grade year we were unprepared for all this.
  13. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    If just the school filled out the questionaires then the results are invalid. They are site specific and do not carry across situations as is required to be diagnosed with ANYTHING. If you can't get him into the placement you want, you might want to consider on-line school. That is what we finally did and the national office for ours is in Maryland. Some of their schools, like ours, are accredited public schools and others are considered private schools with tuition depending on what the different states will allow them to do. For us, it's much better than homeschool. They have teachers and assignments that are due every day just like a regular school so I don't have to plan anything. We're in our 3rd year with this school and it's been the answer to difficult child 1's prayers. He's actually an "A" student now that he's getting what he needs without the problems.

    It sounds like you might have a big fight ahead of you. I am so glad I'm not in your shoes anymore. MY anxiety was through the roof every time difficult child 1 left the house for school wondering when (not if) the call would come each day .... and it always did .... EVERY day.
  14. Gwenage

    Gwenage New Member

    Which online school it is? K12 doesn't have a school in Maryland. :/ if we can't get him into the school we want we may just pull him out. I can afford to stay home but it will be a big hit lowering of the standard of living.

    Can you pull the kid out of school? Can they ever go back to public?
  15. compassion

    compassion Member

    You can homeschool, must follow rules of your district/state. Yes, you can put him back in. In many laces, you can still receive services when you are homeschooling. I homeschooled my difficult children all the way through.
  16. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    We use Connections Academy. It's probably a good thing you don't have k12 there as I haven't heard much good about it.
    You can pull the kid out of any school simply by emailing or sending written notice to the school. For Connections, they prefer you don't do that until all their enrollment stuff is received and accepted. Same for pulling him out of online. To go INTO a school, you need to contact them and complete the enrollment documentation. I will warn you that the school he's currently in probably will never let him back in without a LOT of proof that he's "changed". That's the sad part.

    What I did with difficult child 1 was pull him out to "homeschool" while we did the enrollment paperwork for CA. It took about 2 weeks and I simply found online stuff for the 4 core required classes for difficult child 1 to do. Videos, online math games, National Geographic, etc. You could see difficult child 1's whole body totally relax the minute I told him my plan and that he didn't have to go back there. Good luck. I'm glad you have options that won't cause you too much hardship.
  17. Gwenage

    Gwenage New Member

    I can't even begin to thank you guys for the replies to this thread. I'm feeling 9000 times better about everything.

    We are going to go look at all the options. Although the Laurie School in Rockville seems like it might be a great fit and it was one of the choices they gave us. They deal with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and ED and do daily therapy and social skills training and can tailor his education to his advanced needs. If all else fails home school. It feels good to have a plan. Although there are no public online free schools in Maryland that I can find.