Don't do what we did (huge school mistake) LONG

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is so disturbing to me that I waited a long time before telling the story, but I'm going to do it so that nobody else does what we did. Namely, we went into an IEP meeting where the school wanted to discharge our daughter from Special Education (no step down supports at all) and we let them mess around with us and did our daughter a big disservice. If we had had our Advocate with us, we never would have agreed to it, but they blatantly lied to us, telling us, "Oh, if she's discharged it's no big deal...whe can just get her services back again ANYTIME." Lies, lies, lies.

    Daughter changed from that school back to her old school this year, the one she had gone to for most of her life. She had wanted to try a bigger school and we had let her, but she missed the smaller school so we allowed her to go back to it. We mentioned getting supports and having a meeting with the school, but they said, "Oh, from her last IEP, you DISCHARGED her so she gets NO supports. Sorry." Then she started to fail World History and couldn't play in her team's last Volleygame Game. This, even though she had turned in all her assignments and had gotten A's and B's on them. She took good notes. She participated in class. She however failed two tests so she had an "F" in World History and could not play. Sports is her self-esteem.

    Hub blew a gasket and stormed d own to school. We had told them that she was failing in spite of doing all of her work. When talking to daughter she started to cry and said, "I don't remember things. I need my notes for tests. I can study all day and night and I still won't remember." We took her to a doctor and got an ADHD diagnosis and medications, but ADHD is not something you can necessarily get supports for. So, as of now, she is waiting for new testing and hopefully a new IEP or at least a 504.

    Without going into the grisly details, we don't just sti quietly and let the schools do what they want. We got in touch with our advocate, the department of public education's Special Education Dept. and the education dept. of Civil Rights, which welds the most power of all as they go in and investigate schools and also have a lot of say so in the school funding. Everyone we spoke to was shocked and unhappy that daughter was discharged with no step down program and no recourse in case she couldn't do the work without supports. They called the school, which lit a fire under their butts and they ARE testing her...and fast...but it may be a long drawn out process and we really hope we don't have to go to mediation or, worse, file a complaint with the Civil Rights Dept.

    Our Special Education Director is a horse's backside, and doesn't like to put anything in writing, but our Advocate is taking over and the school district knows her and is kind of afraid to pull anything on her. They are giving us what we want in writing now, including the name of the tests Daughter will be taking and who will be administering them.

    Hub and I signed to agree to have her testing, but added a note about not being sure their testing would be adequate to find her specific deficits. We also put down that we had gotten the advice to add this letter from the Civil Rights Dept. So...we wait and see how it goes. We are prepared to take it all the way to the end, but hope we don't have to. Daughter is trying as hard as she can, is doing all her homework, is studying in study hall, etc. but she is starting to have bigtime trouble in Science now too, another subject which requires a lot of memorization. She is starting to say, "I'm stupid" again. Dang, at the IEP meeting, she TOLD the teachers, "I'm going well BECAUSE of my supports. That's why my grades are good." I'm mad. Hub is furious. On top of this...

    Son has a nonstop eating problem that is far beyond the norm and it's not behavioral. He is always hungry. We are taking him to a university hospital geneticist (suggested by his doctor) to see if he has a touch of Prader-Willi or some other disorder that causes the hypothymus to never shut down and make him hungry all the time. He was 200 lbs. last year (at five eight) and he is now at 245. If he has Prader-Willi or anything similiar he will have to be watched the rest of his life or he will eat his way to his grave. But we want to, NEED to know what is going on so we can plan his adulthood years appropriately. I feel totally overwhelmed by all this.

    If anyone has any thoughts or ideas I'd love to hear them. For those who just read my vent, I hope you take it to heart and never go to a school IEP meeting without an Advocate. And, sadly, never believe a school district...they speak with forked tongue (at least the ones we've been to).

    My anxiety level is really high, but I have to act calm for the kids. Hahaha. I am walking around in a daze.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    We all make mistakes in this area- shoot, you'd have to be a Special Education attny to have half a chance. I have spent the week fighting for my son (who is in Department of Juvenile Justice and therefore, a Department of Juvenile Justice school) to get enough classes that count toward a diploma in mainstream so he won't be held back a year when he's released next year. I thought the dept of correctional educational was actually under the dept of education but nope- apparently they have no one over them and I was about to blow a top- until I starting making phone calls all over the state to find out "what about any requirements that school has for receiving federal funding", "what about his iep and NCLB", and "what about the fact that the state doe accredits this school but yet this school either doesn't have or is refusing to allow my son to take regular core classes that he wants to take and that are REQUIRED to be offered in accredited schools in this state".

    So this evening I called the state dept of correctional education - thinking I'd get nowhere because last year they acted like a typical school board that doesn't do much more than back up their school. I don't know how it happened but the lady who oversees instruction at the Department of Juvenile Justice schools had already looked at difficult child's file and was aware of all of it- plus she must have been sent a copy of my letter to the school saying this was unnaceptable. Sooooo, difficult child will be starting in the core classes he needs in Jan and continue them thru the summer until he's released next year. That's about the best I can hope for at this point since the nit-wits didn't put him in those classes when he transferred there last month.

    Sorry to hi-jack your thread. Moral of story is to never give up and make sure that sd knows you are a warrior mom who cares about your child's education and your child cares about it, too.

    My gut tells me that the Department of Juvenile Justice school didn't have the teachers to teach the more academic courses and they would drag their feet if no parent pursued it. However, what I learned is that #1, there are requirements to keep federal funding, #2 there are requirements of the school to keep accreditation and they weren't meeting them, and most importantly, #3 since difficult child's IEP stated that he is working for a standard or advanced diploma, it kicked it in to the state and federal laws overseeing IEP compliance. So simply because that statement was written in his IEP, they cannot continue him in a bunch of classes like commercial cleaning. But you know if I hadn't been a squeaky wheel, they would have.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't mind your I welcome it.
    It's always about $$$, isn't it? It's not about the best for the kids.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    i am SO SORRY. There is NO WAY that your daughter is stupid, I just wish she could see it. It is easy to see why she thinks she is stupid. To put in all that hard work studying and still not be able to remember the info on tests and things would make any of us start to think we were stupid.

    I HATE IT when I hear about schools who pull this kind of koi. It may be that the people at the bigger school would have given ehr the supports back if she started to need them, but given this behavior by the admin of the other school I rather doubt it. SO many schools are willing to do anything they can to cut services because services cost $$, or so they argue. I fail to see how allowing a child to use notes when she takes tests would cost the school ANYTHING, but that is the argument of most schools.

    Are there non-school related sports teams she can play in? YMCA sports, maybe even coaching younger kids in a sport she really loves? That would help build up her self esteem during this time when she is struggling so much. in my opinion you need to pay as much attention to her view of herself as you do to her academics. I hope she has a therapist she trusts and will work with. there is NO WAY that the school is doing right by her.

    This is a good warning for all of us. Often when our kids are doing well with supports the schools want to remove the supports and expect the child to still do well. It rarely works that way because it makes no sense to expect that.

    Keep insisting that they help your daughter.

    I am sorry about your son's problems. I hope that he does not have prader willi or anything else. Could it be that his thyroid function is off? Be sure to also check with a good pediatric endocrinologist as much of weight issues can be endocrine related.


    Don't forget to take care of Mom and Dad.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yes, it's about $$ and getting people who have real common sense working with the kids at school, in my humble opinion. IEPs are obviously crucial for certain disabilities but then for other students, like mine, that doesn't have a diagnosis'd Learning Disability (LD) or extreme disability, that IEP is more to get emotional support that most good teachers with common sense would pick up on and do anyway. I might not be communicating that very well- I'm not saying these kids don't need the IEP, they do, but they might be able to survive without it if we had more caring people in the sds who weren't just concentrating on overcrowded classrooms and $$. It shouldn't have to be written in an IEP that my son is going for a certain diploma in order to force a sd to offer regular academic core classes to him. It shouldn't have to be written in an IEP that your daughter needs support at school. Unfortunately, that is the world we live in though. I almost made the mistake you are talking about last year because difficult child hated being on an iep, we thought he'd come a long way, and I had about convinced myself at that point that his only issues were defiance- until he was released and did all that stuff. After learning this stuff this week, I'll make sure mys on stays on it until he's at least half-way thru 12th grade when he's due to be evaluation'd for it again.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks both of you.
    Star, I"m sure he has some sort of disorder that makes him chronically hungry. I will deal with whatever it is. He will be fine, even if he needs extra supports as an adult. He isn't particularly interested in being independent. Many Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids have a form of Prader Willi and vice versa. I'm still hoping he can do assisted living. We shall see. He's going to be seen at our University Hospital here by a geneticist.
    As for my daughter, memory issues are common with ADHD. But she needs her sports AT SCHOOL for self esteem. This is high school and the only teams that matter are high school teams. But the school knows how angry they are and are moving their butts fast. They really don't want to deal with I hope that helps get her supports. They know that we'll file a complaint if they don't...and that we will probably win.
  7. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience so that others can benefit. I'm very sorry to hear that things ended up going this way for your daughter.

    Why does it have to be so hard to access the services to which a person is entitled? Both of our boys have ADHD and other issues that affect their learning. Our older boy (now 16), has ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and problems with cause-and-effect thinking, etc. We have tried to get him services under a 504 plan, and even after all of the evaluations he's received diagnosing these problems, the school has flat out refused to make any accomodations whatsoever. When he was in 4th and 5th grade, he was not writing his assignments in his agenda. Needless to say, without that communication, we were in the dark about his assignments and responsibilities in school. He was getting all kinds of incompletes just because we had no idea what assignments were due. Writing was SO hard for him at that time, not to mention the organizational skills involved, etc. We requested that the school ensure that his agenda was completed each day so we could be informed about his assignments. This is such a SIMPLE thing, but they refused, stating that our son needed to learn to work independently. What? He has a disability that makes working "independently" extremely difficult. He'll be graduating from high school next year, and we never did succeed in getting him any supports at all. He has managed to do alright with grades, but he certainly could have performed better with proper supports.

    Our younger boy (now 9) has ADHD as well. But, he has a significant speech problem, and that is what opened the door to speech therapy services and an IEP. He also has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - not otherwise specified. We held him back in kindergarten, and even with his many issues, he only gets Special Education services for spelling. I am sure he'll need it for more than that going forward. But it's hard enough raising kids with special needs, let alone fighting for services.

    I hope the testing reveals the source of your daughter's troubles with memorization. She may have a hidden learning disability. A lot of kids with ADHD have trouble with short-term memory. I know for our boys, visual cues help a lot. Pictures and images stick in their minds better than words.

    Again, I'm so sorry you've had to go through this, and I bet your stress level is really high right now. You're doing the right thing. It's just so unfortunate that the school system misled you and remains completely inflexible.

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Any kid with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified should have an IEP, services falling under Autism. Call the DPE and get an advocate. The school knows it's screwing your child (probably both) and it doesn't care.
    My sister is an Aide in a Special Education classroom in Illinois and she said the bottom line is money. It's expensive to test. THEN she said, although she qualified that shes couldn't speak for all teachers, that the ones that she knows hate modifying curriculums because it takes a lot of time. They don't want to bother with the extra work and sis told me it's a lot more work to do it than we think. So she feels it's money combined with laziness. And she also said that the parents don't see what really goes on in school because they put on a good act when you're there...that the aides do a large amount of the work that the teacher should be doing, at least in her classroom. The teachers likes the higher functioning kids, but throws the lower functioning kids off on her aides to educate (they have no training to teach) and also likes them to be mainstreamed so that they are out of her hair. My sister does not speak for anyone but the teacher she works for, but I have always suspected that my son got most of his help from his aide and I am forever grateful to her.
    My sister's bottom line is...fight, fight, fight or you will get nothing. So that's what I"m doing, but it's taking a huge emotional toll on me and hub. I'm too old to be a I quit! J/k :))