Desperately seeking advice. IEP not working. What are my opetions?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by tryinghard, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member


    My son just turned 12 and was diagnosed ADHD in first grade. Even though not officially diagnosed, I believe he is ODD also. He is not definant all the time but when he is it is horrible.

    He has had an official IEP since second grade. BUT ever year he continues to fall behind in his standarized tests. In second grade he was in the 20-30 percentile. Now (in 6th grade) he is in the 3-9 percentile! He gets C's and a few B's in his classes. He has started acting up in class and ignoring the teachers. This is something we haven't seen since second and third grade.

    I could go on and on..but here is the bottom line. In the IEP meeting last week they told me how he was immature, did not stay on task, did not complete class work, did not turn in homework (even after finished), teased kids around him and at times ignores the teacher when speaking to him. Then they proceeded to tell me how he needed to take responsiblity for these things because he is in 6th grade and will never make it in High School unless he starts now.

    The problem is I know all of this. I am trying and trying my best at home to motivate him and hold him accountable. We set up special folders for homework, we check website everynight, I do hours of homework with him. He has had the same tutor since he has been in first grade. She tutors him four times a week and I pay for it.

    Bottom line is I feel the school is not helping and I do not know what my rights are nor what I should ask for.

    Please help....I am desperate to help my son but do not know what he needs or who can help me figure it out.

    Thank you.
  2. mammamo

    mammamo New Member

    I worked at a school and believe it or not schools try and make you think you have no rights but you do. I do not know what state you live in but in Nebraska. If a child is in Special Education and is needing extra assistance our ESU or our state board of education can be of great help. Also the no child left behind law can come into play. I Nebraska you can call you ESU or State board of education and request a tutor the school had to pay for not you, also you can request that you child have modifications to there work. Schools do not like to have to answer to these higher ups because they like to think they can push people around. Don't know what you specifically want to know. Write back if you have questions. God Bless
  3. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Thank you Maureen!
    I live in California. In Orange County. Yes, even though I have tried to educate myself and tried to advocate for my son...I feel like I have let him down. I am not sure if there is an adovacy group, or free legal advice, that I can get to help me with his IEP and get him the support he needs and deserves.

    Any ideas??!!!
  4. mammamo

    mammamo New Member

    The state board of education in your state should have an attorney that can assist you in getting your child the help that he needs. Alot of times school systems just don't want to deal with these matters but that is just to bad they are required by law to do so. You are not failing your child at all. Sometimes you just have to go a little higher up. Modifications can be made for children ie Instead of 4 choices for a multiple choice question they have 2 which makes things easier for them and does not cause so much stress, or instead of 50 problems to do for math they have 25. Another option for some kids are something similar to SRA learning (in my day it was called this.) These are packets that children do at there own pace. One thing teachers ( I have two sisters who are teachers and I am not cutting down teachers at all) need to realize is for instance if a child has ADHD their thought process is alot different then ours. They need a little time to process information, also when someone is asking them a question and they are distracted it would be like you and I sitting in front of a TV and clicking the remote continously. Their brain is going a mile a minute. Alot of teachers think the child is not trying or just does not have a high IQ quite the contrary I worked with a student with ADHD for 3 years who became the validictorian of the graduating class. A very proud moment for parents that have always heard your child is a brat etc. My advice to you is call your state board of education or educational service unit (ESU) There are occupational therapist, speech therapists, behavior therapists etc and you need them all on your side. Also one thing that might help in school is if instead of giving your child numerous things to do is start out with one and keep doing things one at a time. I wish you luck!
  5. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Thank you so much for your advice!! I see on another chain two things that caught my eye

    First, the child can get an you know how this works?
    Second, you can mandate that all his teachers go to special training so they understand ADHD and what he is going through?

    My poor difficult child really tries. He is so tired at the end of the day from trying. It just seems that no one else acknowledges it....

    Your advice has been so helpful so far..thank you..
  6. mammamo

    mammamo New Member

    As far as an advocate goes you can go to the state board and request one, also if you have an attorney you can have your attorney request one, and advocate would probably be a good idea the reason is it takes preasure off of you, the have knowledge of your state laws or guidelines and the school will see that they are legally involved and not emotionally. Also if you are like me then you forget things to ask and they can help you make a list of things. Yes they can require training. I had to take training in austism, seizure disorders, ADHD, and bipolar. Alot of times we need education so we can understand what best works and we must remember every child is different and we need to help them in different ways. I know it is hard to go over schools but it happens alot and we need to do what is best for our children. Right now we are in the process of setting up packet learning for my son when he return home. In 3 weeks he has already completed 3 credits for English. This is possible. I feel for you and your difficult child. I am sure you both feel very overwhelmed. I will pray for you and good luck. By the way just how nice is it CA it is snowy, cold and depressing here but I guess the red ball in the sky will return tomorrow morning. Hugs to you.
  7. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Wow,you have been such a great help. I can't thank you enough! Thanks for the words of encouragement! Yes, it was over 70 degrees here today and beautiful!
  8. babybear

    babybear New Member

    This is a quote from a post I found by accident

    The full post is here

    Or just go to the very last page of posts. I think its called fix it write. Also, the parent report outline is on that page also
  9. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    Welcome, I am afraid I have more questions then answers.

    Is your son on medication? Has he ever been reevaluated since first diagnosis? Has school reevaluated him? Have they done a Functional Behavioral Assesment? Was the first diagnosis(diagnosis) by a multidisciplinary team? Does he have a BIP(behavior intervention plan) or just the IEP?

    I ask because if you know exactly what you are dealing with diagnosis wise, then you will be more ready to tell school what your son needs.

    Also medication can either hinder or help. When there is a change in medications there are differences(good or bad) in our difficult children. You can have school put it in IEP to watch for behavior changes during medication changes.

    Is the not passing standard tests due to not knowing how to take a test, trouble understanding the question wording, or the time factor? These are the questions I would be asking my child. You can better help them if you first get to the root cause of the problem.

    Is the not turning in homework due to forgetfulness, or prefectionism(he doesn't turn in because doesn't want to get any wrong), or something else?

    Depending on the root reasons, you would have different accomodations put in the IEP. As far as options, pretty much limitless, within reason. If it in not stepping on the schools or the other kids rights, then what your son needs should be done.

    Examples: Extra time on tests, "buddy" or helper to help remember materials for homework, use small electronic reminder for assignments, have a quiet place or go to person when aggitated or being bullied, etc.

    Hang in there.
  10. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Hi Sara,

    I will do my best to answer all your questions.

    Yes, he is on 40mg of Medtadate. We have been through may different medicines and this is the only one he seems to tolerate.

    He has not had any new tests with doctors since his original dianosis in first grade as ADHD. I honestly am not sure what other tests I should get for him and from which kind of doctor. Are you able to offer me suggestions on this??

    He has had two reevaluations (not sure right terminology) and that qualified him for IEP.

    His IQ was originally tested (first grade) as 85. When retested in 5th grade it was 100.

    I went to Learning RX and had testing done (I do not recall the name of the test) and it should him deficient in all 25 catagories except audio learning. He is four years ahead of his age in this.

    I asked his Special Education teacher what exactly his learning disability is. She looked at the paper work and said there isn't one. He is considered "working under potential". She did mention that he is an audio learner and scored very high there.

    We have tried and tried to ask our son why he doesn't turn in his homework, write the assignments off the board, etc...etc..etc. The problem we have is that he will not or can not tell us why. This causes a lot of frustration for the teachers. His math teacher has called me to tell me she is so frusturated because she offers him help, even peer help and he flat out refuses.

    We have been working with him so much since first grade to try and help him. He has had the same tutor (she is a Special Education aide for over 20 years) and I work with him hours every night. This last report card he received 4 C's and two B's. I am concerned because each year he slips in percentil (currently below 10%) each year.

    Basically I feel the school thinks it is just something my son will need to figure out and take responsiblity for. BUT it is not happening and I do not know what else to do to help him.

    I appreciate your help....thankyou so much
  11. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member


    There are no accomodations in his IEP. No mention of behavior modification....I saw a sight that referred to a behavior modification specialist coming into the classroom to observe him and then make recommendations.

    Also, we have tried every suggestion I know of to get him to do his work and turn it in. We have rewarded, punished and tried both together. It works for a day or two and then stops. I have been told by the school physcologist that this is common in ADHD kids...

    I am looking forward to your input\advice and that of anyone else!
  12. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    If he is a verbal learner, then they can give him his tests verbally. This is an acceptable accomodation, even for state standard tests. They can also make accomodation for homework to be done verbally. If he is a verbal/audio learner, then that is how they should be teaching him.

    I would recommend asking for, in writing, sent certified, for a Functional Behavior assesment. This will help give you an idea what he needs.

    Also, I would try to find a multidiscipline team to do a full evaluation on him. It seems to me, and it is just MHO, that there is more going on then ADHD. Did the stimulants for the ADHD make his behavior/mood worse? I ask because that is one of the red flags for a mood disorder.

    I would also look into having specific learning disabilities tested. If the earlier tests showed he was only good at verbal, then there may be something going on there.(You can request this in writing, sent certified also.)

    Does he have any trouble with social skills, or identifing emotions? If so that is a red flag for another disorder. That is why a full evaluation(usually at a hosptial) is so important. Its impossible(or at least very difficult) to help your son if you don't have all the information you need.

    My difficult child has had several diagnosis's since 1st grade. As they age, the signs start to unravel and show themselves. She has now been diagnosis with Aspergers, which explains a lot that ADHD didn't. Since the symptoms of the disorders tend to overlap, a proper diagnosis tends to be a work in progress.

    I wouold call your local childrens hospital and ask them for a referal for a full evaluation. They can usually tell you a good place to go, or they may do it.

    Hang in there.
  13. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Wow, thank you. This is so helpful. I never knew I could ask for these things.

    Let me answer your questions, then I have just a few more for you....:D

    The other medicines made him sick to his stomach, and\or gave him really bad headaches. They really did not make him worse, in fact a few made his behavior and school WONDERFUL but he got too sick and refused to take them.

    He is very immature for his age which sometimes leads to social problems because he acts more like a third grader than a sixth grader. He does have friends that he does things with. Not a lot, but 4 friends he has had for the last six years.

    He does display ODD type behavior but not all the time. Seems to peak once or twice a year for a week or two.

    Questions for you...

    Should I try to get an advocate for my son? Do you know much about the process? If I had not stumbled on this site, and you were not so GENEROUS to share all your knowledge, I would never know about these options....

    What kind of test do I ask the hospital for? Do I call just the regular hospital? Who do I ask to speak to?

    I am concerned that there are other issues going on. I would not be surprised if he is somewhere in the Autism spectrum. Bi Polar and Depression run in both sides of the family along with ADHD and ODD.

    For the most part as he is getting older his behavior is better. We have tried hard to give him coping skills and it seems to work. BUT I am so concerned about school work and the resent "acting up" in class.

    Thank you again...I can't tell you how much better I feel after getting your advice. It seems like a positive start.
  14. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    You can go online and look up an advocate service in your area. Some areas have more available then others. If you have trouble finding one, I might be able to find a link for you, but I'll need what State you are in.

    Children's hospitals tend to be better, but if there isn't one, call the regular hospital and ask them how to go about getting a full multidisciplinary evaluation for your son. They should be able to steer you in the right direction.

    Good luck.
  15. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Thank you so much. I will start on all of this tomorrow and report back on my progress! I live in CA:laughing:
  16. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    what comes to my mind is this. The school sounds like they have a list of complaints they are tossing out, but- are they changeing the iep to address those complaints? Are they changeing things in the iep to HELP your child learn any skills or are they giving any ideas for helping him to work around or thru or in spite of his difficulties, or are they just telling you their concerns and then letting it go?

    Also keep in mind grades themself are not always valid indicators of whether a child is learning or not or how much they are learning. Some schools grade based on different things, some put heavy weight on only homework (our school had homework be far more than half the final grade)
    AND grades of B and C are not especially necessarily "bad"
    I also found out the hard way, some um...less then honest? schools will use grades as a way to justify certain things to happen that THEY wish to happen.....such as my son could not read or write AT ALL, even in grade 3, BUT all his grades were As and Bs.......and his school used those grades to try to convince me he did not need an iep. on the other hand a year later, his grades were all Ds and Fs.....altho I had worked with him 4+ hours every single nite with his work, and I myself turned in ALL his work, and "I" knew it was done correctly, altho he was absent 3 full months for surgeries......and his school tried to use those Ds and Fs as a way to convince me to place him elsewhere, and said those low grades were justification, and that he got those low grades due to his absences and not due to his work. Turned out his grades NEVER were ANY reflection at all of his work or his abilities.

    Also what methods is the tutor useing for when tutor works with your child? We got homebound services when my son was post surgical and unable to see, but, the tutor was NOT familiar with Special Education difficulties or accomodations, and had no idea what an iep was or how to work with a sightless child so- the tutoring was really pointless. You want a tutor that CAN work WITH your son, to help him in the ways he needs to be helped.
  17. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Thank you so much for your input.

    No, the pretty much are just telling me how frustrated they are with him and his behavior. There was nothing at all in the IEP addressing this. The only thing in the IEP were academic goals. Based the Special Education teacher and prinicpal told me that he was in sixth grade and needed to start taking responsiblity or he will never make it in High School. My son just sent one of his teachers an email explaining that he did not recall how to do an assignment. The teacher must not have realized that it was my son sending the email (even though it is through a school site and it came from him not me ...his name was visable as the sender) she wrote, "I am very disappointed in (name of my son) that he did not remember this. We went over it numerous times in class" She then went on to explain what to do and the due date. My son was hurt because this is his favorite teacher and he has her for three periods.

    Basically I feel like my son is a thorn in their side, they do not want to do anything different to help him and they feel he is not doing what he should do.

    Based on others recommendations I am trying to find an advocate in my area that I can retain. He has had an IEP since first grade but I can't say he is getting any better or advancing in school.

    You are right, B's and C's are not bad. My biggest concerns are his standardized test results. Each year, since first grade, they have gone down. He is now in the 3rd to 6th percentile for all students in the state of California! I said to the principal I do not have to be illeterate to be at this level. All she said to me is , "I don't know what to tell you".

    Do you have any other pieces of advice??!!! I am desperate for anyone's insight, suggestions, and\or advice.
  18. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member


    I found an advocacy group in my town. They adversize that they do testing too. They are all doctors.

    How can I find out if they are any good? Do you know if Insurance will pay some of the costs?

    I have already sent them an email asking them to contact me as soon as possible for a consultation. Any questions I should ask during the consultation that are important?

    I honestly can't thank you all enough...I have been so depressed over this and had no idea where to turn or what to do. I really feel like now I am headed in the right direction. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my difficult child.
  19. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member


    I forgot to answer your questions about the tutor. She has tutored our son since the summer after first grade. She has been a special education aide for over 20 years. She has been a life saver to both me and my son.

    She is reluctant to give me alot of input on how to approach things because she works in the same school district as my son.

    I honestly have to say that I do not believe he would be doing as well as he is without her assistance.

    Do you have suggestions on what else I should be looking for in a tutor? Maybe she is not the right person, even though I believe she is.

    She works with him three times a week for and hour to an hour and a half a day. For the previous two years she worked with him four days a week but it got too expensive for me to pay.

    Does anyone know if I can get this cost paid for by the school?
  20. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    IN fairness to you, take what I say with a grain of salt, becuz I am currently homeschooling 2 of my kids, so, I must not have been able to figure a lot of it out?
    Seems to me instead of the school just telling you their complaints, they need to figure out how to HELP him with his learning. As for his age or grade? well, I have opinions about that as well......I got pretty frustrated over similar comments in my disctrict about my son. HIs AGE does not necessarily have much to do with things-------MOST other middle school kids here by my son COULD read, could write, and could see. My son counldn't. ALl my wishful thinking and all their complaining was not going to change that. As for takeing responsibility for it? Well, in my opinion the school needed to help us with that. Help us by giving us ways for my son to learn how to do so. They could sit there and point a finger and state the facts all they wanted, but what was needed was to put togehter a plan of action to help resolve the issues. As for immaturity? SOMETIMES that IS slow to develop, for a wide variety of reasons......and if it is due to a physical reason, then they will just have to deal with it, cope with it, accept with it! Well, thats my opinion, anyway. Heck, in my opinion there are a lot of full grown adults who remain "immature" and depending on your definition of it, well, I personally feel there are a lot of school personnel here who qualify as "immature" and also as "not takeing responsibility"
    As for the tutor, follow your heart and your gut. I only mentioned it becuz sometimes you can um..have someone who is presenting material over and over in the same old way and it is doing no good, and unless things are done a little differently, you coould keep on presenting it forever with no benefit. I was not sure if the tutor was helping or not. I was thinking if you keep useing this one key on your car door and the door is not opening, maybe you ned to try a different key. Thats all. If this tutor helps- great!
    Seems to me in order to get the school to pay for the tutor, it must be addressed in an iep meeting, and school would have to agree there is a need.

    I apologize if I sound less than positive or pleasant. I sat in far too many iep meetings were I was subjected to a LONG list of all my childrens problems and seldom were any ideas ever presented to help resolve the problems. And if I came up with ideas, they were shot down from the start. On the rare occasions we did write down accomodations, they most often were not implemented, or were implemented improperly, or used as ammunition against my child. SOmetimes they were removed from the iep becuz our district said well, we tried that it worked, so now we can remove it...I could not seem to get the school to understand sometimes certain accomodations are permanantly necessary.

    I am hoping Martie or SHeila come along and give you some concrete ideas.....ones that might work. Cuz it sounds like your childs school is simply trying to bide time ........