Do I tell the school I'm trying to get difficult child 1 evaluated?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    This has been an exceptionally crummy year for difficult child 1's academics.

    First quarter he was over his head in a science class that was way too large for him and a computer applications class that was similarly overcrowded. He seemed to just shut down and couldn't get anything done in class, fell behind and came close to failing.

    Second quarter the counselor and science teacher decide it would be best to move him to a "sheltered" science class -- same curriculum, smaller class, less homework, less pressure. He's now getting a solid "A" in that class.

    UNFORTUNATELY, changing the one class necessitated changing FIVE of his SEVEN classes -- and he was doing just fine in those classes! Of course, the change was monumentally disruptive.

    He was put into a language arts class that is loud, out of control and has several kids with behavior/discipline issues. He is often frustrated by the chaos in this class.

    He was moved to an algebra class where English is not the teacher's first language and his accent is very heavy. difficult child 1 often struggles to understand what's being said.

    No surprise that he is now struggling in these classes, for different reasons, and his grades are suffering.

    We traded one problem for three new ones.

    Now the language arts teacher tells me that she is concerned difficult child 1 is not working up to par and is at risk of failing this quarter. She says his work is minimal, at best and he is not following directions. He has yet to make up a test he missed due to absence.

    Here's part of what she wrote to me:

    My concerns: I need to know your expectations. There is nothing in his 504 that relates to accepting less than the standard. I don't know whether his lack of writing is a communication issue or whether he just doesn't like writing. Having experienced a writing meltdown with him at Christmas, I need your input. At this rate he will not pass my class by the end of the quarter. His CST scores show his ability and promise, but I don't want to compromise his health issues. Please let me know what your goals are for him in my class. Thanks for all your support.

    I know she is on our side. I'm just not sure how to respond yet. First, I need to talk to difficult child 1 after school today to get the specifics from him. I'm pretty sure I know what he's going to say, but we need to have the discussion again.

    Second, I'm not sure if I should reveal that I'm working on getting a private neuropsychologist evaluation for him. But I also don't want them to think I'm not being proactive. What I'd really like is for someone at the administrative level to recognize that he's struggling and needs help. Our school counselor lost her counterpart this year so she's handling both 7th and 8th grades on her own, so she's understandably up to her eyeballs, but I think this needs attention.

    Do I request a 504 meeting to discuss this with his four core teachers, solicit input, and ask what more can/should be done to support him?

    I can tell them why I think things are happening, but I'm not qualified to make diagnoses or specify services.

    If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. I could really use some feedback on this.

    Gotta run to go pick him up now!
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    He needs an IEP, not a 504. It sounds like he may need further accommodations.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    So who do I ask the question? Do I say "Oh counselor! I want my son to have an IEP!" or do I have to somehow lead them to draw that conclusion?

    difficult child 2 got his IEP because he brought a knife to school which got him the most attention he's ever had in his LIFE from district personnel all the way down to the school psychologist who decided he needed an evaluation.

    Do I just type up a letter requesting an evaluation for the IEP and send it certified to the school counselor? What if those tests coincide with what I want the neuropsychologist to do (whom I haven't even met with yet)?

    I just called the neuropsychologist's office and they still have no openings and aren't yet booking for their next slots which are in April. I let them know that things are critical for difficult child 1 right now and that I may be requesting an IEP for him which would set the ball in motion for the school's own evaluations and I need to know how that might conflict with what the ndoc needs to do. So they are going to get back to me today or tomorrow on that.

    It's so hard to get fires lit under people, and I have to be sure it's done in a controlled fashion or things will get messy.

    Ugh. No wonder I'm feeling overwhelmed right now... :(
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Yes. Send a letter certified mail to the school district's director of special education. You are requesting a full and complete evaluation (multi-disciplinary) because you suspect difficult child's diagnoses are having a direct impact on his ability to obtain an appropriate public education. You feel this full & complete evaluation is necessary to identify his problem areas and have an IEP put in place to provide appropriate accommodations.
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks, TM. I'm all OVER it!!! :D
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I don't think it would hurt to let them know what you are doing privately. in my humble opinion, even with the school's evaluation, you'd still want a private evaluation. The school is only looking for things that hinder his ability to learn - not a big picture. At least for me, I want to know the entire picture of what my son is dealing with, not just what makes him struggle at school. Just my 2 cents.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    So Shari, you think it would be okay to go ahead with the letter requesting the evaluation for IEP and then when we get to the evaluation point, coordinate so that they don't duplicate whatever the ndoc is going to do?
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'd keep the evaluations separate but do both. You can release info from the ndoc's report that is pertinent to difficult child 1's education. This allows you more control over what is given to the school. You can left them know you are also seeking a private evaluation but you are under no obligation to share it's results.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Yes, I'd do both. As TM says, you don't have to give them the info from it. And even if they duplicate each other, I'd still do it. The private one SHOULD be looking at difficult child from the big picture perspective. The school is looking for road blocks to education.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks TM and Shari. I just remember from difficult child 2's evaluation last year that it was very important they not duplicate certain tests as it would render the results invalid.

    I understand that I don't have to share what I find out. But unless it's really damaging information, I would think it would be helpful in formulating the right supports for him.

    I'm sorta kicking myself for not doing this last year. I guess I ran out of steam and got sidetracked. And when I verbally asked the middle school counselor about evaluating him, she gave me the brushoff. Well, now she won't be able to! Nyaa! :p
  11. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hm...who said they couldn't duplicate tests? I've never heard that. In fact, for wee difficult child's second neuropsyche, they did a lot of the same tests and it was within the same clinic... The school had done more of the same... Just curious what tests it would invalidate.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Glad you are going to both, I hope they yield helpful results. I do know that in our district they won't necessarily use the results from the n-doctor.
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Shari, I forget which ones they were. Something about them being administered too close together and therefore the patient would remember how they answered before or remember the questions... and it would skew the results. They want it to be as pure an assessment, with no previous exposure to the test material. Does that make sense?

    Another neuropsychologist I'd called told me the same thing. When it came time to do the testing, the school told me specifically which tests they wanted to do and I ran it by the neuropsychologist to make sure she didn't run the same tests. She ended up doing different tests altogether. The school's were very basic, very watered down. I think they finished their work in about 90 minutes with difficult child 2, vs. the neuropsychologist who took over 6 hours spread out over three days.

    Anyway, that's what my experience was.

    WO, they may or may not use the private report, but at least I can share it with the psychiatrist and any therapist I end up taking him to. I think he needs to go back to a therapist to address the anxiety issues and possibly work on some CBT.
  14. ML

    ML Guest

    gcvmom I too want to grab the IEP this year. His 4th grade teacher just happens to be in charge of the IEP/504 stuff and I told her that I wanted to discuss this with her and she seemed to think it was a good idea.

    It sounds like you are on the right track to getting him those extra services. I'm watching your situation closely for ideas!
  15. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I can see that. In wee difficult child's case, the tests were 2 years apart and we're talking about a 6 year old...not a whole lot of concern for remembering it in that scenario. lol

    Good luck with it all. So much fun.... (not)
  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oops. Did I say "exceptionally crummy"?

    Sorry, I meant SUPREMELY LOUSY.

    I just checked his grades online and he's getting one A- (sheltered science), two C- (orchestra and PE), and FOUR (count them!), that's right, FOUR F's!!!!!! :surprise: :ashamed: :mad: :anxious: :sad-very:


    He didn't get his homework finished tonight and has gone to bed.

    I am going to bed, too. Haven't decided if I want to bother getting up to take him to school in the morning (of course, I will -- might not WANT to, but I will).
  17. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Deep. Cleansing. Breaths. difficult child 1 is not the first kid to get bad grades and he won't be the last.
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Aw, {{hugs}} Gcv.

    I agree with-TM. He's not the first, nor last, to get crummy grades. But boy, do I know the feeling!!!
  19. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I have to disagree somewhat with the advice given. I would recommend calling a 504 meeting now to discuss the challenges difficult child 1 is facing and what stategies could be implemented to help him get back on track. There may be more things the school could be doing now to help him.

    Because you are planning on a private neuropsychologist evaluation, I would not necessarily request the school evaluation for the IEP yet. There is a timing issue. The SD will almost certainly want to administer the WISC and the Woodcock-Johnson, both of which cannot be repeated within a year. In your shoes, I would absolutely want the private neuropsychologist to administer all the tests because he will be more skilled, and that will give him a longer period of time to observe and get to know difficult child 1. In addition to actual test results, the neuropsychologist evaluation also includes clinical observations that can be key to diagnosis and recommendations.

    I don't know about your SD, but ours can take a long time to work through the process of deciding a child needs an IEP. Although M has had a 504 since 3rd grade (she's now in 5th), we've been trying all this school year to get M an IEP with meetings in September, November, February and our next meeting in April, where the SD might finally decide M needs an IEP. The SD has wanted to try accommodations and other strategies before agreeing to an IEP. That's why it's important you keep calling meetings to document your difficult child 1's continuing challenges in spite of accommodations and strategies the SD is trying.

    One of the most helpful services your difficult child 1 might benefit from under an IEP is a resource class, where organization and study skills are taught. Most kids with his profile need this type of class once they hit middle school.

    Good luck.
  20. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks everyone!

    SW, thanks so much for your advice. Do you think ALL teachers should be in this meeting or just the ones he is struggling with? This SO was much easier in elementary school when there was just one, maybe two teachers to deal with!

    The resource class was mentioned to me last year, but he would have to give up orchestra to do that. Doesn't seem fair.

    I am worried that if I don't at least get the IEP evaluation request in writing NOW, nothing will happen until highschool next year. It will take 30 days just for them to respond to the letter. By then we're at the end of March. Testing might not take place until April or May (I know, I'm just guessing). In the mean time, he could already have his private evaluation (they're telling me April is when we can get in). And when the school is ready to do their test I can ask them to NOT do certain tests depending on what the private evaluation covers. At least that's what I was thinking...

    That's another reason I called the neuropsychologist's office yesterday to find out how best to coordinate the school's testing with theirs.