Daughter Just Graduated from HS, Has bipolar, school knew never offered IEP

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Raindog, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Raindog

    Raindog New Member

    Hi All-

    Our daughter was diagnosed with bipolar her freshman year of high school. As soon as we learned we set an appointment with her counselor at school to let the school know and to help keep an eye out for her. Neither my wife or I had ever heard of an IEP. The school counselor never mentioned IEP or an evaluation process, nothing. Our daughter made it through high school and graduated last week. The following Saturday, last Saturday, my wife and I learned what an IEP is through a mental health class we are taking through NAMI, their Family to Family class. I couldnt believe that we were never advised of this option. Our daughter was able to graduate, but she struggled tremendously. To the point she now considers herself through with studies. She has zero confidence in her ability to be successful in college. I feel some guilt too, I dont know how we missed this. We are involved parents. We have read up on parenting someone with bipolar. I dont recall seeing this information anywhere before.

    My question is how responsible is the school for this? Shouldnt they have had the obligation, or requirement, to have our daughter assessed for IEP after being informed of her mental illness? I keep imagining what could have been.
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    Sorry, but no. Schools are not required to offer IEPs or 504s (did you learn about that too?) The ONLY time the schools bring it up is if THEY want to place your child in an alternate setting - Special Education. If that happens, they are REQUIRED to set up the IEPs to justify the funding. Too often, parents have to fight tooth and nail to get and IEP or 504, and if they are not set up correctly, they can be pulled.

    Son was placed in Special Education from his very first pre-k screening. This gave him an IEP which followed him. There were 2 years in elementary when he did not need any services at all except for assisted technology (laptop). There was talk about 'pulling' his IEP and replacing it with a 504. Fortunately I knew better, and the IEP team also knew that he would probably need all his supports and more once he transitioned into middle and high school. They had to put in "fake" goals and accommodations to justify the IEP, but we managed to keep it in place. It's easier to keep it than to get it.

    Unfortunately, you found out late, but don't give up hope. Shoudda, Woudda, Coudda is a waste of time and energy. You didn't, they didn't, accept it and move on (Now you'll know in case you need this for grand-kids) With some maturity, she may decide to give college a try, and there are colleges that will be more than happy to accommodate wherever possible. Reality is that she GRADUATED ON HER OWN! That is a HUGE accomplishment.

    Congratulations to all of you for getting through. If she can do that without any accommodations, then she can do almost anything. The future is bright!
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Yes, schools ARE REQUIRED to develop an IEP for every child with special needs that impair their abilities to access their education. This includes children with cognitive impairment, physical impairment, learning disabilities, autism, health issues and social/emotional problems. This is federal law.

    But, since it is more expensive to provide Special Education services, some school districts will try and slip by with the bare minimum, which includes avoiding idenitifying and providing services for children whose parents don't know the law.

    The fact that she accepted graduation means that it is too late. Even with an IEP, the school's obligation ends at graduation. However, most community colleges have programs that can help her. All colleges have services for disabled students. Check with your community college, they likely have some sort of test that will tell them what level she is at and they may have classes to help strengthen her skills.
  4. susan7ups

    susan7ups New Member

    I don't know where you live but I would talk to a disability lawyer. I don't see why your daughter can't file charges against her school for not giving her a FAPE she should have had a IEP in school.Does she have other issues in learning?
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    This would take a large amount of money and be very difficult to win based on the fact that OP's daughter apparently did graduate from high school through the regular ed curriculum. Now, if their daughter can't read, or has some other clear "failure" of the educational system then they'd have a better case.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Has she had any evaluations at all? for example, if there is a significant gap between her IQ and other education-related skills, and her actual performance (that is, her grades do not reflect what her performance range should have been), then you MIGHT have a case for the school system to pay for specialized upgrading, to fill the gaps in her skills and knowledge - something they failed to do in the first place. If she pulled straight-As, you don't have a case - but I didn't read the initial posting as though she did well - just that she "made it through".

    If she hasn't had the evaluations, consider a doctoral psychologist, or and ed. psychologist (I'd go with the first if you have an option...) - you need someone who can run WIAT and WISC and BRIEF and all those other basic evaluations, and then tell you what it all means, and how she needs to be accommodated go-forward, and what remedial help might be required to bridge the gap.