IEP question...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    School starts in 2 weeks.

    We have still not met with anyone (we meet principal today).

    They are planning to bring difficult child back to school on half days. I want to push for full and a single para instead of splitting time between 2-4 paras.

    Now that staff is back at school....what does my request need to say to begin this process?
  2. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    I would advise you to put in a request for a team meeting. Don't forget they need to accomodate you as to when you would be able to attend. Give them a couple different times/dates to choose from. You say you want difficult child to attend full days. Is this because difficult child wants it/needs it? Will difficult child be able to handle full days?
  3. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    He is in first grade; he should be going to school full days. I know it was a tough end of the year, but they have all summer to work on planning for this school year. Please remember that he is entitled to a free and appropriate public education which means six hours a day of school. I think you should just ask them what there schedule is to accomodate for the entire day. Somehow just tell them matter of factly that he needs to be there all day. I know you've said they are trying to work with you and that you don't won't to be all about demands, but a full day is what he needs. I don't think I would negotiate on this. Were you ever able to find an advocate for you? I think it would be very very helpful. I remember last year you the county had completed or tried to complete an fba; Didn't you have a connection with the head of the special education department? I can't imagine that the head of special education would allow this half day practice? One possiblity is for him to spend a portion of the day with special education support in the general education classroom and a portion of the day in a small group pull out in a special education classroom.

    Your post yesterday was so positive; you said summer was so improved; here's hoping that he has a successful start. Do you know who his new teacher is?
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    FAPE is the word! You want a 1:1 para in the classroom. Considering that anxiety is a trigger, constant change of paras throughout the day/week are little "mini-transitions" for him. It's no wonder he can't figure which end is up.

    I would also insist on a BIP to be on file in both the classroom and the SPED office so that if the para is out it will be available for the substitute para.

    I'm beat so I'll think about it through the night...I'll probably bug you with more tomorrow!

  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A practical suggestion re full-time aide - all staff are entitled to breaks and if you feel your son needs 100% supervision/support, then you will need two aides to spell each other.

    When we had playground supervision in place for difficult child 3, we had a different aide on playground supervision/shadowing duty. Her task was NOT to constantly be at difficult child 3's elbow but in fact to facilitate social integration for difficult child 3. It turned out she was also there to 'rescue' him from bullying, he quickly worked out that if he was being hassled then he could go straight to his shadow and stay by her side. He went right to her, reported being bullied and she immediately intervened. He did brilliantly while we had this in place. Unfortunately I only ever got tis for one term and was never able to insist on it again, so tings went downhill again (because once the shadow was gone, the bullies were back).

    A suggestion in dealing with the school - I go in with the attitude of "How can I help you with providing you background for the aides so they are best equipped to work with difficult child? We're all part of the team, it's good to cooperate like this."
    My presence and expert knowledge of my own kid is to be taken for granted. I will be there for the school, consider me a valuable resource. And once my child has graduated form the school - the school will have been the winner for having had the experience and training ground for staff.
    [I know staff would not agree; but would have a VERY hard time saying so, if I'm in the room!]

    I've used the same attitude in meetings when I've had to lobby for funding or support for charities - I walk in power-dressed and carrying a slim briefcase which I know how to use. Walk, stand, speak with confidence and they find it a lot harder to browbeat you.
    With schools - ease back on the power-dressing. But otherwise - same tactics. You are an expert. Make sure you exude that air. Then it's harder for them to dismiss you as "just another parent".

    Also where possible - do other stuff to help the school. The classic in Australia is to volunteer for canteen duty, but there are other ways to be valuable. Look around and see what opportunities there are to be helpful to the school (and therefore visible). Also note - what is the staff attitude to those parents who are there as volunteers?

    Of course when you have a difficult child it makes it much harder to volunteer, but if you are an experienced Warrior Parent ten you are probably a more skilled lobbyist than most other parents. So make this your skill and ask the principal (repeatedly) what you can do to help the school; what can you help lobby for.
    It doesn't take long to write a letter to your local politicians or businesses (for charity donations for fundraisers). But it's amazing how few parents know how to do this or are prepared to do it.

    If the school oves you for anything like this, they are more likely to help you with IEP stuff.

    It shouldn't work like tihs, but I have seen it time and time again. If they value you as a parent, they will not want to lose you as an asset from their school and are more likely to put up with problems with difficult child.

    Sneaky, but worth a try. Just don't bite off more than you can chew. Whatever you take on - do it immediately, follow through.

    Another area where I've helped out the local school - with desktop publishing, editing, that sort of thing. Or helping out with a class. Or covering books in the library.

    Sometimes it's not easy and there have been a lot of times when I've had to swallow my feelings and be nice. One time I had earlier delivered a letter of protest at the school's discipline policy and threatened tem with legal action if they did not make changes to what I claim is a discriminatory, unjust, unlawful and ineffective policy. I had the head teacher in tears. But that evening we were side by side at the sink in the school canteen, washing up and chatting while a school dance was going on. I hadn't volunteered to help, I had just walked in, seen a need (EVERYONE hates washing up!) and rolled up my sleeves and got on with it. Of course I avoided talking about problems. I kept it light and we chatted. Hopefully it made it harder for her to see me as the evil mother threatening her and the school with a lawsuit.

    And being there - meant I was available to difficult child 3 (and he knew it) in the event of problems, which meant I didn't look so much like an anxious mother (I was there to help, not to shadow my son! yeah, right...) but others knew I was there so he was hassledless than perhaps otherwise, because they knew I would be there like a ton of bricks falling on anyone who hurt my kid.

    Good luck with this.

    The problem with trying to organise this is - can you 'talk' to the school during the long break? Is there anyone there to negotiate with? If there is someone you can set meetings up with, then go for it. Otherwise if you have to wait until staff go back (in Australia they go back only a day or so before the kids do) t hen I would keep difficult child home until its sorted and make it clear - it should have been sorted out in plenty of time, it's not your fault it wasn't but it does mean it's urgent now. But he shouldn't be put in jeopardy, nor should the staff have to cope without supports in place. The school has a responsibility to have everyting in place for him, just as you have a legasl responsibility to have him in school.

    if they try to stall - this has become urgent (ie needs to be fixed fast). make sure they understand the difference between 'important' and 'urgent'. Planning for the special assembly for the President's personal tour of the school happening in November is important. It only becomes urgent when it's November already.
    So they may say, "we have other things which are more important," you can freely respond with, "Of course you do. THis may not be as important, but it is almost certainly more urgent, because this should already be in place to our satisfaction. But don't worry - I will work with you to speed up the process."

    Good luck.

  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Adding my two cents here - I totally agree that FAPE is the word here. That is your son's entitlement under the law as well as LRE (least restrictive enviornment). Being in the classroom, with his peers, attending school all day, like his peers, is the least restrictive enviornment for your son period, exclamation point! The school must provide any supports needed to accomplish that goal - a 1:1 perm placement is best.

    I would first, due to time constraints, call the school and speak to the leader of difficult child's IEP team. Let him/her know you want to set up a meeting to discuss this coming school year ASAP. Follow up with a certified letter. The problem with just the letter is that you are talking about a week to ten days total turn around time. You want this meeting soon so that, if they baulk with your request, you've got some lead time to bring in difficult child's therapist or psychiatrist or whatever you may need to do (have the school system behavorist attend the meeting, the folks responsible for funding decisions, etc.) before school starts.

    I have always thought it best to get the IEP in line before school ends one year for the following year. Summer is often a tough time to gather all the "powers who think they be"! (having said that, I am in the same boat with an Aug IEP writing for the first time since difficult child has had one!)

    Good luck,
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    You don't want to know what words I would have used Shari - after 13 years of dealing with our school system. AHEM.

    I concur with the above.....FAPE, LRE and throw in a couple IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD.

    I would also head to the school NOW - and get this meeting done BEFORE school starts. That would show them that you want him IN session with the rest of the school and not ostracised by their scheduling fauxpas.
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

  9. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    One thing I would keep in mind is that trying to meet before school starts may mean that some team members can't attend the meeting.

    I've worked for over 5 different school districts in three different states - most teacher's contracts actual cover very few days before and after school ends. E.G. my current district only pays for 182 contract days, only two days before school starts are required! Many teachers and specialists (i.e. Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), PT) go in to set up rooms and equipment on their own time. My parents were high school teachers for 20 years in California and they both spent 1-2 weeks on their own dime setting up their classrooms, they only got paid to attend the "principal directed" workshop days before school started.

    You stated that staff are back at school - I would advise you to double check with the school district's teacher's union to check on their contract. If teachers aren't going to be paid for the meeting time you may want to reconsider. Remember that administrators (principals, etc) aren't on teacher's contracts and so usually work all year around. Some districts have the school psychologists on administrator contracts.
  10. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I am requesting an IEP meeting before school starts. Should I specify that I am looking for less transitions with paras and full days, or just leave it as a "planning meeting"?

    Also, Star, I'm with you. Its gonna be hard to keep my mouth shut, but...the principal is new (and I KNOW the last one was a big monkey wrench), and the SpEd teacher we're working with is new to us, and supposed to be an autism don't want to go in with a vengance(sp?) for people that aren't there anymore.
  11. Christy

    Christy New Member

    You can insist on a full-day and the school is obligated to provide it. As for the para, this will be an iep team decision. If your son had one last year and it's in his iep then he should continue to have one. If not, it will depend on the willingness of the "team" to suggest it and the school system to provide it. State your concerns and present a plan you think is in everyone's best interest. Stress learning rather than behavior. "In order to make academic progress, my son needs blah, blah, blah..." When a staff member brings up one of difficult child's negative behaviors, ask "How can you plan for this and structure his environment to prevent or minimaze the behavior? It makes much more sense to be proactive rather than reactive." Be calm and show concern but continually bring the conversation back to what are you going to do to plan for the behaviors and prevent them. How can you assure me that difficult child is going to be able to learn in this environment?

    Good luck!

    Good Luck!
  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Thanks, Christy.

    He had a para last year, but they refused to give him a single para. He was with one of three that rotated in and out thru the day. He was also in and out of the regular classroom all thru the day.

    Funny thing...when I repeatedly said last year that we needed to be proactive instead of reactive after difficult child's first "threat", the principal's response was "if he threatens again, we'll suspend him again, and we told difficult child that." That was his idea of proactive.

    Uh, don't think that's what it means, buddy.

    But, we have a new principal this year, so... I'm trying to shake off all the old crapola and empty the baggage before starting over!
  13. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think that is the best attitude.

    I think you ask for the planning meeting to discuss potential changes to the IEP or just for planning.

    I beleive you go in armed with examples as to why the rotating paras did not work last year. Make sure you have plenty of documentation and you address that having a 1:1 para would take the stress off the teacher because she would not have to anticipate difficult child's reactions/actions, allow more time for learning in the classroom, less disruptions for the teacher and student because 1:1 can redirect or remove difficult child if needed, and the mentoring opportunity for difficult child.

    Keep your mind open to these new staff/admin folks and keep your expectations high!

    Good luck.

  14. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Good Luck Shari!

    Hopefully the new principal will be more proactive than the last. But you are wise to have a plan. As for suspensions, check with wright's law, but I believe that 10 days is the maximum number of days a child with an iep can be suspended before having a "manifestation of disability" hearing. I would focus on being a calm, cool, collected pain-in-the-butt if the school decides to suspend. Request an iep everytime difficult child is suspended. State that you are concerned that difficult child's behaviors are affecting his ability to make academic progress and you want to know how the school is going to put the support in place and structure things differently to avoid whatever incident lead to the suspension. If your difficult child's behaviors are anything like my difficult child's, you will feel shocked, outraged, emabarrassed, ashamed, etc...that difficult child has behaved in this way. Don't apologize for difficult child and don't acept any responsibility for what goes on during school hours. Say something like, "Yes, difficult child's has such a difficult time making the right choice. At home, he requires constant adult support to be successful. I wish he could be more independent but right now, but he simply isn't able to do this. Where was the closest adult when the incident occured? Did anyone prompt difficult child on what to expect in this situation? Was anyone close enough to notice that he was starting to become frustrated? Do you think you have the staff available to provide the one-on-one support necessary for difficult child to be safe and successful? Let's be realistic, difficult child has significant behavioral issues due to his diagnosis. We wouldn't expect a blind person to learn to see and we can't expect difficult child to behave like a typical child. He needs more support to access his education. Without one-to-one supervision, I have serious concerns for his safety as well as the safety of the other children and staff." In plain words, each time they present you with a behavior, turn it back to them by saying, "What changes are you implementing to avoid this in the future and to help difficult child be more successful?" It may come to a point where they will say that they can't prevent difficult children behaviors. Then the question becomes, "How are you going to deal with this?" A one-to-one is significantly less expensive that an out of district placement. constantly remind them that they are responsible for the education and safety of difficult child during school hours.

    Good luck warrior mom!
  15. mog

    mog Member

    This discussion helped me too -Thanks to all for the information! I do not know what FAPE or paras are but in our area the child has to have a social worker , case manager, and have what they call "in program" which are a group of teachers that work with our difficult child's and even though they do have to change classes it helps them to adjust to the new environment which later comes in handy. I was very fortunate that difficult child's 2nd grade teacher was so wonderful. My difficult child had problems with the first grade teacher because he would do the work and then wander around because he was bored and when I walked into the classroom one day (I would show up unannounced all the time-with 4 kids there I had to make my presence known) and he had his desk faceing the wall and was not allowed to speak to anyone --I MARCHED into the principals office and demanded a meeting NOW--the teacher said that difficult child was gifted and finished early and this was her attempt to keep him from bothering the other students and the principal; asked what else was she doing to keep him busy she said that she did not have time to work two cirriculums because she was working two jobs to send her child to private school so that he would "get a descent education" the principal made her go to the classroom and turn his chair around and to "fix" the problem the principal told her that when difficult child was done with his work to send him to pre k and kinder to read to them and then send a student to get him when teh rest of the class was ready to move on. 2nd grade teacher taught a 2-3 class which was great she kept him stimulated and called him on his behaviors--she tried several different ones with him. Following year seh decided to teach 3-4 so difficult child went with her --She is the one that told us he was gifted and should be tested. Unfortunately teh "system" has got him down and behaviors became a problem but She was amazing.
    Sorry -rambling- before the IEP meeting make sure that you let the case manager know that you would like all of his teachers present so that everyone is on the same page.
    Good Luck
  16. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I really hope this goes well for you and difficult child.
    This year will be our first real IEP... So I am learning as I go! lol

    We are waiting until School starts for our IEP, only because we want and need everyone on K's team to be there.
    We met for the discussion and the basics last years. But she still needs her Speech evaluation and writing evaluation.
    I also did some more independent evaluations during summer so now her therapist and Nuero-psychiatric are adding more to her IEP, I am actually glad we waited.

    I hope this goes well, you need it so much! It would so nice to start off positive.