Home Instruction Question

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by flutterby, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    difficult child is on homebound because her anxiety is incapacitating. She wants me to attend her sessions (5 hours a week) with her home instruction teacher - which takes place at the local library - because 1) her anxiety is through the roof, and 2) she's having to teach the teacher how to do math, etc.

    I was told that I am not allowed to attend these lessons, per the home instruction teacher's preference. It was not written into the IEP as such - I'm thinking because it isn't enforceable. I have a call into the state DOE, but I don't know how long it will take for them to get back with me. Can they really not allow me to attend? At 5 hours a week, most of the instruction is going to fall onto me and it would be extremely helpful if I knew what they were doing at the lessons. SD said that it's going to fall onto difficult child. When you read below, you'll see why that just isn't going to happen.

    Following is what our psychologist noted on the forms required in order to obtain home instruction:

    Behavior Problems: difficult child cannot identify and express feelings she has or identify what others are feeling or intending - extreme social skills deficit. She becomes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - gets a thought and cannot let it go. Gets stuck and can't take in new information - reacts by extreme fear; cries, paces, holds head in hands, gets very angry when others try to talk to her.

    Specify reasons why it is impossible for this student to attend school: Anxiety causes difficult child to shut down. She hears sound, but can't process what is said or apply it to problem solve. Social skills deficit cause her to misinterpret what teachers say to her. Her thoughts are totally concrete. If someone said "lets kill 2 birds with one stone", she would become hysterical about animal cruelty.

    Probable period the student will be unable to attend school: Indefinitely - certainly the rest of the school year. This is one of the most complicated learning disabilities I have seen in all my years of experience. (I've been HS teacher, school psychologist, and have been a clinical psychologist since 1972.)
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Would it help at all if you were in the library, just not at the table/carrel/whatever? Then difficult child would know you were there, but you wouldn't be "attending".

    Also, if it's not in the IEP, it doesn't exist, LOL - you know how the schools do it. I don't see why you can't.
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I don't care what the IEP or the teacher says. I did this exact same thing with difficult child 1 in May. The SpEd teacher pulled me aside (we were in the library) and said she would really prefer that I not attend because they need to build a rapport with him and yada yada yada. I looked her in the eye and said "he is homebound for a reason and if he needs me to feel comfortable being here, I WILL be here as long as he needs me". The principal called the next day and said the same thing SpEd said. He got the same response. As my advocate said, the library is a public place so it's not like they can do anything about it. At the last IEP meeting the last week in May, the SpEd admitted that difficult child 1 would have never even showed up if I hadn't been there and thanked me for being there.

    Since difficult child is homebound because of anxiety and needs you to be there, BE THERE.
  4. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    They threw it out there that if difficult child can't do this on her own, then they can find a seat for her in another program (they like to use scare tactics). I pointed out that the program is for behavior disordered kids. SpEd Director responded that "not doing school work is a behavior problem". Because putting an autistic, anxiety disordered kid in with kids with explosive behaviors, drugs, etc, is such a great idea. I'm looking for information on line, and am waiting for the DOE to call me back. I'm so tempted to send her an email and tell her that unless she can give me the law that states that I cannot attend, or that they can pull her from the program should I choose to attend against their wishes, that I plan on attending. But, I'm going to wait for more information.

    I hate this school.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Do NOT give them any forewarning that you are coming against their wishes, UNLESS an advocate or lawyer or somebody from DOE says to do so.

    SHE needs YOU there.
    Even the psychiatrist says so.

    Can you get something in writing from the psychiatrist that all school interactions MUST BE WITH PARENT PRESENCE?
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I really like that idea Insane. Wish I had thought of that back when I needed it.
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    State DOE told me to request a copy of their policy that states that a parent cannot attend. Barring that, another IEP meeting needs to be held, However, since this took place outside of the IEP meeting, so to speak (she told me before the meeting that she needed to talk to me about an email she received from the home instruction teacher, but waited until the IEP had been updated and signed to address it) it doesn't seem to be an IEP issue. So, if she can't produce a copy of their policy, or even if she can, I guess, but the policy makes my child unable to access services, then I am to move forward with mediation.

    There is no law stating that I can't be there. However, the home instruction teacher may have been told to walk out if I show up. The way the library is set up, there is no where I can sit where difficult child can see me while she is meeting with home instruction teacher - so that is not a viable option. The state DOE said, "it shouldn't be this difficult". Yes, we all know that.
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Heather, our state DOE doesn't exactly know what we deal with on a day-to-day basis, do they?!
  9. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    If the teacher gets up and walks out if you show up, THEY are not providing the services they are LEGALLY obligated to provide. That alone would be a HUGE lawsuit waiting to happen.
  10. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Here are the emails back and forth so far (I cc our Support Administrator with MR/daughter):

    SpEd Director -

    Please provide me with the school policy that states that parents are unable to observe their child's home instruction lessons.

    Thank you.

    The Board Policies are on our website. School visits are in policy 9150 and AG 9150. If you are unable to access them on our website, let me know. I do want to clarify that our conversation today was not about you "observing" the home instruction. Rather we were discussing your participation and engagement in the home instruction lesson time.

    You will note from our policies that observations must be approved in advance and the school visitor must not interrupt the educational process. Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thank you,
    SpEd Director

    SpEd Director -

    I specifically asked about "observing" today, more than once. I am trying to get my daughter through school and to graduate. We are going to have to work something out, because Wynter's disability is not allowing her to access services without my presence at this time.


    Please read the policies on observing instruction. You can observe for a limited time with advance notice when it is not interfering with the educational process. I don't have any documentation that says that difficult child cannot attend home instruction sessions without you being present? Do you have that?

    difficult child seemed to do well in ECOT last year. She earned credits in several courses. Have you considered that as an option? You would be able to present with her at all times.
    SpEd Director

    SpEd Director-

    The "Physicians's Report to Determine Studenty's Eligibility for Home Instruction" as filled out by Dr. Psychologist states, "...gets stuck and can't take in new information...", "Anxiety causes her to shut down...social skills deficit cause her to misinterpret what teachers say to her." Therefore, if she shuts down and misses what is being taught, or comes home with assignments and thinks the teacher said X, when the teacher meant Y, I am unable to help her. I have sent countless emails to teachers in the past asking for clarification because of this issue. As she only has 5 hours of instruction per week, that won't be so easy to do.

    We have considered and dismissed ECOT as an alternative.

    I'm now going to request that we move forward with mediation.


  11. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Step - the State DOE has this SD's number. When I called them last year and told them what SD I was calling about, I just got a big SIIIIIGGGGGHHHHHH. Then, this year at the "before the school year meeting" the teacher's had, the teacher's were told (not sure by who, but am guessing the Superintendent) that "not following an IEP is not an option". And it was stated in a way that was supposed to make me feel better. My response? Sarcastically, "I didn't realize it was ever an option."
  12. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I should also add that in the past when I have requested to observe my daughter in the classroom at this school, that I was told that I was not allowed because of "student privacy laws". I have never been allowed to observe my child at this school.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Are you kidding me?
    That one is cast in stone, here - and we're in the stone age in so many ways!
    But... even here, parents have the right to observe in the classroom "on a periodic basis, so long as they do not interfere with the education process".
    At the worst of it... I was in the classroom every week... we were trying to figure out what was going on and why school was causing so much problem... school sure didn't have the resources for that much observation.
  14. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    GET AN ADVOCATE ASAP!! I would also get a "note from the doctor" that says you are to be within ....say...10 feet of difficult child during any and all educational services! THAT should shut them up for now. I would also consider taking the schools visitation "policy" to an educational lawyer, advocate, AND Dept of Education along with copies of your requests and subsequent denials to visit. Kind of makes you wonder what they're hiding, huh?
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    What is ECOT?

    I was going to suggest looking into online courses for your daughter instead of homebound....but if that's what ECOT is then I guess you have looked into that already...
  16. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    ECOT is online school. We've dismissed it for other reasons.

    Homebound teacher called today, but I need to give you a little history so that it makes sense.

    First time difficult child met with homebound was Tuesday 11/15. It was supposed to be from 1-3, but I had forgotten that she already had a doctor appointment scheduled, so we moved it to 5-7pm. At the end of the session, homebound told difficult child that they would meet at the same time next week (I didn't attend this one). So, the next week she called to make sure we were going to be meeting from 1-3pm. I was surprised and told her that we were under the impression that it was from 5-7 based on what she told difficult child, and that we can't meet from 1-3 because my son was getting married. Then my car died and we had to cancel altogether.

    She didn't call me again to schedule until the Monday after Thanksgiving. She wanted to meet on Wed 11/28 from 1-3pm. That was fine. We got to the library at 1pm and waited until 1:30 before we left because she wasn't there. I got home and she said that she sent a text the night before that she couldn't meet until 2pm. I asked her how she got my cell phone number. She doesn't have it. She sent a text to my home phone. That doesn't work. So, we turned right around and went back to the library. Had the session, then scheduled to meet again on Friday at 12:30. Friday morning (last week) she called to cancel because she was sick. I told her to call back to reschedule when she was feeling better (she sounded horrible).

    So, she called this morning and wanted to know if we were still on to meet tonight from 5-7. I asked, why would we? She said that we had a standing time every week. I told her that I'm not sure why she thought that - detailed the above - and she said that she must not have communicated clearly. Communicated what??? We can't meet today. I already have other things going on. We arranged to meet Thursday and Friday for 2 hours.

    Now, I have to say that I was not at all nice. And I told her directly that if she had a problem with me, she should have talked to me. And I told her given all the confusion that I wanted her to send me the dates and times of all meetings in an email so I would have something in writing. She told me that maybe she isn't the best person for us and that she would let SpEd director know that she needs to find someone else.

    Which is exactly what I wanted, and had requested from SpEd director before the whole incident yesterday, but SpEd director wouldn't do. I didn't plan on this - I just wasn't being nice. I'm sure SpEd director will make this into a fiasco, but I guess we'll take that as it comes.

    SpEd director never believes anything that I say - never. I have to repeat myself a dozen times before she will even hear me. And, no, I wasn't being nice. However, other than confronting the homebound teacher about not talking to me about any issue with me that she had, I wasn't being out of line given how flakey this lady is.
  17. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I don't understand why you can't be in the area during the sessions if your presence makes your daughter calmer and better able to work. Has your D expressed specifically that she would like you there? We had homebound for one of my sons in 7th grade but it was because he broke his ankle and his school was not accessible (private Learning Disability (LD) school). The teachers invited H to stay at the sessions - we also used the library because it forced H to take easy child out of the house - but H couldn't be bothered. I really fail to understand why you can't stay unless the teacher is concerned about her teaching skills and methods. I could see if you kept interrupting or interfering but you haven't even been given a chance to do that. I would keep fighting to be there.

    Good luck,
  18. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    My daughter did specifically ask for me to stay with her. I told the SD this. And it turns out they aren't going to change teachers, as this teacher wanted as did I - so this should be interesting. Instead, the SpEd Director sent me this email saying that she knows that I have expressed frustration over scheduling, as has this teacher, so she was going to set up the schedule instead.

    I let her know that difficult child is again experiencing auditory hallucinations with intense fear and panic attacks, and until we get the "observing" thing taken care of via mediation, I will remain in the library, and that I expect homebound teacher to get me if difficult child is having one of these episodes as homebound teacher is not qualified to deal with it.

    It shouldn't be this hard. Every little thing with this school has been a battle. Many schools welcome parents visiting their child's classroom, and complain that parents don't take the opportunity. That this SD has always been so rigid does make you wonder what they have to hide, doesn't it?
  19. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    You are absolutely right. I still say you should have psychiatrist put it in writing ASAP that you are to be with her at all times when in a situation she sees as stressful. Or better yet, that you are to be within 5 feet of her during educational instruction PERIOD. They can't go against a doctor's order!!
  20. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    The soonest I can get such a note is next Wednesday.

    SpEd Director responded with, "As long as you are in another part of the library and out of sight of the home instruction, it should not be a problem." To which I replied, "The library is a public place. I do not have to be "out of sight" of the home instruction".