how to get your public school pay for alternate ed

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by bzymomto4, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. bzymomto4

    bzymomto4 New Member

    my son is getting ready to leave his public school to go to a theraputic boarding school. he has had at least 4-5 yrs of school decline and increaseing mood symptoms. It has been difficult to get heard by doctors and school. We have gotten nothing more than a 504 plan that has been poorly followed from both school districts we have been in. Initially we were very trusting in the school we were working with. We tried to manage the home side and let the natural concequences take their course at school. As time has gone on we have learned so much. clearly this is not enough, facts are not facts, unless the school says they are so. The most frustrating of all was when we went to our end of the year meeting to evalute the 504 to have the supervising teacher tell us she really didn't bother with it because she did not feel it was neccesary. Needless to say he failed that school year. We moved out of state that summer and worked diligently to make sure our new district was well aware of all that had been going on. They refused to even discuss his problems or registration until the end of summer. They advanced him to 11th grade allowing him to double up on classes dispite this previous years failure. This was an opportunity to start fresh with resonable expectations and they took it away. He had a 504 which they said they had 45 days to acknowledge. We had extensive neuropsychologist testing done and they made limited accomidations. We have been in weekly contact with teachers but none seem to understand the basis of the problem. His diagnosis is BiPolar (BP), ODD, ADHD. And now it appears he has a new diagnosis of a learning disability in reading. his IQ is in the 93% and his reading comp is in the 10%. they said this isn't enough to do any more. need less to say he has been getting f's since day 1. What do I need to know to fight the district for reimbursment and what am I likely to expect?
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    The advice given on this board is that a 504 plan is worthless. Your post outlines why: it is inappropriate for the types of issues an EBD student presents, it has no parent participation requirement, no monitoring and no Due Process rights attached.

    You chances of getting your SD to pay for private residential based on a 504 plan is ZERO in my opinion. I say this because it is VERY difficult to get a SD to pay for residential without going to Due Process and even that does not guarantee that the SD will have to pay. To go to DP, the child must be IEP qualified.

    If I were you, I would send a certified letter to your SD requesting a full evaluation of you son under IDEA. Do not tell them what to evaluate: request an evaluation of EVERYTHING that potentially is negatively impacting his academic and behavioral progress in the general education curriculum. You can BET that the SD will not want to qualify a child as old as yours. This is why I believe that all of "our" kids should not leave elementary school without being IEP qualified. Special education is a service, not a place. My ex-difficult child, who is now 20, was never in anywhere but the regular classroom. When he became actively suicidal, I placed him unilaterally in an EGBS and lost at subsequent DP on a technical time-line violation. Therefore, our family self-funded EGBS which was a financial catastrophe for us, but it saved my son's life. Private therapeutic placement is a huge financial gamble but there are at least three people on the board who have done this with positive results for the child.

    There are many people on the General Board who know far more than I do about seeking funding outside of the schools but the bottom line is that insurance is not usually going to help with LT Tx and people in the middle income brackets have very limited options unless there is a state program that assist with long-term mental health issues.

    I STILL think it is worthwhile to get your son IEP qualified because it protects him from suspension and expulsion which a 504 plan does not.

    Best to you,

  3. bzymomto4

    bzymomto4 New Member

    This is so disappointing. All I hear from all sources is public schools are all about a fight. They can only educate the perfect child. I know very few perfect children. More and more it has become apparent to me that our public schools are the least educated of all in relation to variations in child development. Today we recieved a letter in the mail from the district saying we never had any Learning Disability (LD) testing done. Dispite the 30 page document outling the neuropsychologist testing done this fall. The school guidence counsler said it was a better idea to have the testing done privately because it could be done much quicker. The school psychologist said the testing was more complete than anything she had ever seen. She noted a previously unrecognized reading Learning Disability (LD) as well as his adhd. They made some adjustments, but said the school had no obligation to make sure a child with such a high IQ preform well. They only had to preform ok, therefore his IQ would disqualify him from an iep. We are now on 2 years of straight f's. These people really infuriate me. I am not giving them anymore time. difficult child now has friends who are beginning to drop out of school and I need to get him into a theraputic environment to get back on track before he follows along.

    Based on what you have said I now am trying to think about how to get an iep for my daughter before she leaves elementary school next year. She is tough, she has an anxiety disorder with mood swings I am sure we will pay for during puberty. She also has a fluctuating hearing loss due to chronic ear infections. It is significant enough that she needs a FM system to hear in class. Her teacher had identified attention issues, but they are currently being dismissed as hearing issues. My daughter is in 3rd grade and still has a great deal of difficulty with reading and spelling. I have helped her with a couple of book reports this year and she totally misses the point of the story.

    Until recently I have always tried to us the school as a rescource and wanted so much to believe they had my child's best interests in mind.
  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I am sorry you are so disappointed and frustrated. Your SD is playing fast and loose with the law: IQ is not a determining factor in obtaining an IEP. There is a two pronged test: have a qualifying disability under IDEA (which is not the same as having a DSM diagnosis although there is a lot of overlap) and have a negative educational impact. Your son has both...and should qualify under ADHD without even arguing that he probably also has an Learning Disability (LD). It is also NOT true that students with ADHD "only" qualify for 504 plans. They qualify under "other health impaired" under IDEA.

    I can assure you that there are many children with high IQs on this board who are IEP qualified. It is a characteristic of certain diagnosis's to also have high cognitive ability. The idea that Special Education is for "slow" children went out the window in about 1975...apparently your SD does not (want to) know this. To put a finer point on it, my ex-difficult child tested very far above grade level in math and at least at grade level in reading. Nevertheless he had a lot of negative educational impact in that he met the EBD qualification of pervasive unhappy mood, lack of friends, failure to learn not explained by other disabilities....there are 5 EBD qualifiers and only one is needed. None of the qualifiers mention IQ. Just because a child can TEST Ok in a 1:1 situation does not equal adequate educational progress in the gen ed curriculum.

    If you do not advocate for your son, no one else will. It is not fair, but it is true: the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. Parents who know law get far more services for their kids than those who do not.

    in my opinion a child who is using an FM system in class that does NOT have an IEP represent a gross violation of IDEA on the part of your SD. Your daughter should have an IEP NOW that addresses her lags in reading that are most likely related to her hearing loss. Her mood swings might not qualify her now as EBD, but on average, mood problems worsen at puberty before improving in young adulthood. The years in between can be quite problematic.

    Unless you are able to withdraw your children from public education, it seems to me that you need to try to make the system work better for them than it is at the moment.

    Best to you,

  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I agree with-Marti.

    Your school district has given you misinformation more than once. You need to get a good advocate to help you in my opinion.

    Re: ADHD/ADD, OSEP published a Memo on this many years ago. See .

    I'm sorry the sds haven't done the right thing; unfortunately, it's not atypical.
  6. looking4hope

    looking4hope New Member

    I'm a teacher, and believe me, I've been given the run around, too! My difficult child goes to a different school district, which actually has been a godsend since the Special Education folks I work with have been eager to help. They've even told me that if my son had been in their district, they would be "black-balled" for giving me all the info and support!

    So here's the skinny: definitely send a letter, preferably certified, asking the SD to do the testing. They do not have to accept outside testing, and most of them don't (although they'll add the info to the case file). In your letter, outline the problems you are seeing with your child, and any info from teachers as well. Then ask for complete testing, including a psychological profile, so that any discrepencies between the child's potential to learn and actual learning can be identified. A learning disability is defined as this gap; IQ has nothing to do with it (my son has tested as high as 115, but that's not his issue). The SD has 30 school days (excludes weekends, holidays and breaks) to respond under IDEA, which is federal law.

    An IEP carries more weight than a 504 (sorry), and now that your child is in the 11th grade, it's going to be harder to implement. The whole process took me about 6 months, and my son is now in a special day class for DSM-IV diagnosed kids. I would never be able to pay for this setting. The school has only 8 - 10 students in 4th - 6th grade, two teachers, two aides, and an on-site psychologist and behavioral specialist (each work 2 1/2 days). The staff to student ratio is incredible, and my difficult child seems to be doing well.

    The point is that there are some public and non-public schools which may satisfy the emotional and academic needs of your child, without having to pay for them. But you need an IEP before you can qualify for those services.

    Keep advocating for you child. If we don't as parents, no one will. I hope this helps!
  7. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Thanks for adding the viewpoint of a teacher. Under IDEA 2004, SD are prohibited from using discrepancy formulae for determining LDs. All days under IDEA 2004 are CALENDAR days, meaning all days count.

    SD many not have incorporated the above two changes, but they are the law now.