Interim IEPs - Back to public school - where do I start?

Sue G

New Member
I have never posted on this forum before, always on the General. My son has been homeschooled for the past two years. He had lots of problems in public school and I removed him almost 2 years ago because I could see he was going to end up in jail. My hope was that if given a year or two to mature he would be able to cope better should he ever re-enter the school system. But the homeschooling didn't work. It was a constant battle to get him to do the work. And he ended up home alone so much because I am a single mom and at times worked 2 and 3 jobs. He was depressed when I took him out of school. The depression improved for awhile but finally re-appeared and escalated to suicidal threats. Long story short, he ended up in psychiatric hospital 3 times and then in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for 2 weeks in June. In the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) they tested him and he was a 11th and 12th grade level in everything except math which was 8th grade level. He was always in advanced math classes in school but we haven't done a lot of math at home so he is rusty.

At the school at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) they sent papers to the high school difficult child would attend in case I decided to put him back in school which they advised I do. The papers were to initiate an IEP. I don't have a lot of faith in my school district. difficult child was already labelled as "bad" and now he will be coming back into the same district with an IEP initiated by an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Because he was making suicidal threats he fell into the category of "aggressive and dangerous to self and/or others". What should I do to protect him and help him? I don't understand all this IEP stuff nor do I trust them. Will they test him to determine what grade level he will be placed at? I don't even know what is best for him so I don't know how to begin to deal with all of it. He has grown and changed a lot and may be able to handle it better now. So should I let him try it without special accomodations or immediately have the IEP in place? Does that mean Special Education classes? I'm confused and school starts in 4 weeks so I know I need to start working on this.


I'd recommend you get a copy of all the docs sent to the sd by the Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

Need a bit more info. Has your son ever been evaluated by the sd for an IEP? If so, when? Has your child ever had an IEP in place?


Active Member
Hi Sue,

If your son has a history of "aggressive and dangerous" behavior, I would definetly put an IEP in place. This will provide some safeguards that are only availablke to children with IEPs (or in the process of having an IEP completed). The IEP will determine his placement. As a 14 year old, they are likely to place him as a freshman (or whatever grade he would have been in had he stayed in the public school). Maybe you could use his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) academic testing to get him into the honors program. (An IEP doesn't mean he goes to remedial classes!)

The IEP should cover any supports he needs to succeed to the best of his abilities. Maybe special seating, an aide, daily check-ins with the school social worker, etc.

If you know any experienced Special Education parents, they may be able to help you - or have an educational advocate work with you to help navigate the school system. (A good advocate is worth their weight in gold!)

Please send a certified letter to the school district requesting that your son be evaluated for his eligibility for special education so that they receive it BEFORE the first day of school - for his own protection.

Good luck,

Sue G

New Member
Thanks for the replies everyone.

Alisha: No he has never been evaluated by the sd and has never had an IEP.

JJJ: So I should send a certified letter to the sd requesting evaluation for Special Education? School starts here in 2 weeks. Should I contact the school, too?

I am so worried about his success in school. But I don't see that I have any other choice. He is still finishing up his work from LAST YEAR. And he is going to have to take half-credits in those courses because he is so far behind that he will never be able to finish them by the time school starts. I fear that he will be unsuccessful in a school setting but I cannot continue home schooling him. He is very unhappy being home all during the school year and I have to fight to get him to do the work. I may end up being in trouble because he accomplished so little at home. He actually learned a lot the first year at home in the self-designed courses we did on computer languages and web design, but I can't prove most of it. But his second year at home I enrolled him in Biology I, English I Honors, Business Systems/Technology and Economics and I had to fight to get him to do the work. Well, let the chips fall where they may because we have to make this transition. I put myself out on a limb for him and he doesn't appreciate it or take the proper advantage of it so I cannot continue to do so. I just want to follow the proper steps to get him back to school, take the responsibility for his schooling off of me and place it on him and make sure there is assistance in place to help him through this.

Thanks again. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.


Be sure and send it Certified Mail. You'll find sample letters in the Special Education Archives.

The evaluation process can take 90-120 days. In your letter, request that the evaluation be expedited.

Regarding the evaluation -- from IDEA regs: In evaluating each child with a disability under §§300.531-300.536, the evaluation is sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the child's special education and related services needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category in which the child has been classified. The child is assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities.

Further, ""Comprehensive Evaluation: The evaluation procedures in §300.532 have been amended to provide that each child's evaluation must be sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the child's special education and related services needs, including any needs the child has that are commonly linked to a disability other than the disability in which the child has been classified.(See §300.532(h).)"

The regs also require that the sd consider all input from the parent. In other words, the evaluations and findings from the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) must be considered. "In interpreting evaluation data for the purpose of determining eligibility and educational needs, the public agency must draw upon information from a variety of sources, including among others, parent input."

This Parent Guide to the IEP process is from the US Dept of Education. You'll find other information of this nature in the Sp Ed Archives. Another helpful resource is

The following url pertains to educating bipolar children.

Let us know how it goes.

Sue G

New Member
Thanks Alisha. Everyone at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) school and the public school he will be attending is out til 8/4 and school starts 8/9. I remembered that the teacher at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) had me sign papers at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in June to send over to the public school to initiate an IEP. I signed the papers at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and they were supposed to send me copies but never did. I left a message today asking for those copies. What happens when school starts and the IEP isn't in place yet? Doesn't requesting an IEP automatically necessitate an evaluation? Or do you have to request that separately?


What happens when school starts and the IEP isn't in place yet?
The Federal law is very specific on this issue, i.e., a child may not receive services until deemed "eligible." There is a caveat, however.

I'd get with-the Sp Ed Director and explain the problem. Also request that the evaluation be expedited (in writing).

Doesn't requesting an IEP automatically necessitate an evaluation? Or do you have to request that separately?
Terminology technicality: The sd evaluation has to be completed and IEP Committee has to deem the student eligible for an IEP before an IEP is developed. It's all one process.

Finally found the interim IEP info from the regs.

14. For a child with a disability receiving special education for the first time, when must an IEP be developed—before or after the child begins to receive special education and related services?

Section 300.342(b)(1) requires that an IEP be "in effect before special education and related services are provided to an eligible child..." (Italics added.)

The appropriate placement for a particular child with a disability cannot be determined until after decisions have been made about the child's needs and the services that the public agency will provide to meet those needs. These decisions must be made at the IEP meeting, and it would not be permissible first to place the child and then develop the IEP. Therefore, the IEP must be developed before placement. (Further, the child’s placement must be based, among other factors, on the child’s IEP.)

This requirement does not preclude temporarily placing an eligible child with a disability in a program as part of the evaluation process—before the IEP is finalized—to assist a public agency in determining the appropriate placement for the child. However, it is essential that the temporary placement not become the final placement before the IEP is finalized. In order to ensure that this does not happen, the State might consider requiring LEAs to take the following actions:

a. Develop an interim IEP for the child that sets out the specific conditions and timelines for the trial placement. (See paragraph c, following.)

b. Ensure that the parents agree to the interim placement before it is carried out, and that they are involved throughout the process of developing, reviewing, and revising the child's IEP.

c. Set a specific timeline (e.g., 30 days) for completing the evaluation, finalizing the IEP, and determining the appropriate placement for the child.

d. Conduct an IEP meeting at the end of the trial period in order to finalize the child's IEP.

Sue G

New Member
I've obtained more information since my last post on this thread. The Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that my son was in from 6/10 to 6/26 has a school on-site which is part of the same school district as the high school I now have my son in. The entire Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff (counsellor, psychiatrist, techs, and teachers) felt difficult child needed to back to public school. Whether they are right or wrong I don't know. But it is done, he is in 9th grade at the public high school.

While he was in there a teacher called me and asked if I would like her to refer him for an IEP and I said yes, in case I did decide to put him back in school. I was coming in that evening for a family therapy session so she said she would leave the papers that I needed to sign at the reception desk and the next day she would send them to the high school for our area and send me copies. Never got them. Called a couple of times and asked for them and still never got them.

When I registered difficult child at the high school I told them they should have these papers but they could not find them. I signed a release so the school could get all records from the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and they were going to contact the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) school to get these papers. The Special Education lady at the high school said she would be contacting me this week to begin the process. Haven't heard from her so I called yesterday and she said she did not see where the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) school did indeed refer him for an IEP so I would have to start from scratch with the guidance counselor!! :mad: :confused:

I was livid. I called the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) school and got the principal's assistant on the phone and asked, did they or did they not refer difficult child for an IEP in June? She said yes, on 6/14. I said I want the papers mailed to me TODAY and also fax them to the high school NOW! She was faxing as I was talking. Isn't that referral official notification to the school district that difficult child has a disability and wouldn't they have to comply within the legal time limit with 6/14 being the start of that time period?

I have scheduled the first test of the neuropsychologist evaluation for Monday. difficult child's psychiatric dr told me that the school district can take as long as a year to do these tests?! :eek: Is this right? I thought they had 90-120 days to get this IEP in place? :eek: But I suppose it is better to have them done privately anyway even though it will cost about $2000.00.

Ugh....I have been reading and studying more about medications and BiPolar (BP) than about school law. Too much to do. Any help would be apppreciated. I have much to read and working my way thru it, but need answers to these questions ASAP. Help, please!


Isn't that referral official notification to the school district that difficult child has a disability and wouldn't they have to comply within the legal time limit with 6/14 being the start of that time period?
It's "notice," but it doesn't change anything -- the sd is still required to do their own evaluations. If they so choose, they CAN accept the evaluations from the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) assuming the evaluators were all properly credentialed. In my experience, this doesn't happen often.

Timeline requirements kick in when the school district receives the referral. If you've noticed, I preach "use certified mail" often. The CM is your proof that the doctor was received and it formally triggers the timelines even if the letter (original, fax or email) is lost internally.

Just so you know, I wouldn't rely on referral documents from a 3rd party entity to contain everything it needs to contain to ensure your child receives a "full and initial evaluation." It may be perfectly ok, but I recommend that you review it thoroughly.

Sue G

New Member
Should I do the neuropsychologist evaluation privately? Don't they have to take all evaluations into consideration?

Even if I do testing privately, the sd still does them, too? How much time do they have to do these tests?


I'd go forward with the private testing.

Some districts are thorough and do very well with-their evaluations; some do not. I wouldn't hang my hate on just a sd evaluation.

But to answer your question, yes, the sd can do their own testing.

Sue G

New Member
Thank you Alisha. You are so helpful. Did you gain all this knowledge thru your own trials with the sd? Or are you an education professional? Whichever, I appreciate being able to pick your brain.

Hugs, Sue


No, I'm not an education professional.

When I joined the board, I didn't have a clue about our kids' education rights. Marti, Lizz, A's Mom and many, many other board members enlightened me, provided resources, suggestions, and encouragement. I bought several Special Education and 504 books, read related websites profusely, spent a considerable amt of time on Reed Martin and Pete Wright's websites, attended Parent Trainings.

The Sp Ed Director from Hell put me through my paces -- she inadvertently ended up training me pretty well. lol

Many of our kids require treatment across all environments. Proper placement and services in school is just part of the overall treatment plan in my opinion. Their school environment is just as important as the home environment.

by the way, you're welcome.

Sue G

New Member
Well we had the 504 meeting and the ESE director at this school was in attendance with me, difficult child and the guidance counselor. Both ladies seem very genuine in their concern and understanding and willingness to help.

The 504 plan is an interim plan while we develop an IEP. The following was provided for in the 504:

1) difficult child will be seated near a positive role model (he has difficulty focusing if he is seated near goof-offs)

2) difficult child will make his own notes during class to build his note-taking skills, but will receive copies of notes from an exemplary student in each class.

3) Extra care will be taken to make sure directions are understood.

4) Extra time will be allowed to complete tasks

5) Homework will be reduced with possible

6) difficult child will be allowed to do a written lesson in lieu of an oral presentation when he feels he cannot do it.

7) He will be given extra privileges and rewards.

8) difficult child will be allowed to leave the class when he feels overwhelmed.

9) During the first semester of this year difficult child will not be required to attend the first class of the day. He will arrive at school in time for the second block which starts at 9am (instead of being in 2nd block at 7:25)

10) Seroquel will be administered to him by the school nurse if difficult child feels the need.

No amendments can be made to this this year (so they tell me) so I hope I anticipated every need.
Let me know what you think.

Thanks, Sue


504 plans are notoriously vague, but it's a start. With a little time, you will likely recognize a need for some adjustments. It's great they are willing to do something until the evaluations are completed.

As with-an IEP meeting, a 504 Plan can be called at anytime, so yes, it can be ammended.

Sue G

New Member
I will have to study so much to know the law. Why oh why do they lie to you? I think I know. They get funds for students like my difficult child and they don't want to use them if they don't have to?? sigh......

Let me ask a question here. Evidently part of the referral packet for an IEP is teacher observations. During the 504 meeting they told me that it takes a little while for the teachers to get to know the student so they can make their reports. Even after a month of observations how can these observations carry very much weight? The parent, therapists, doctors know and see so much more than the teachers do.


Erroneous information from educators is not always intentional. Sometimes it results from the way they have been trained, it's what they "heard" in a seminar, what they've read in sd's "policy and procedure" manuel and they are not aware that it conflicts with-Federal or even State law. One of my biggest bones of contention is that educators don't always go outside their organization to educate themselves from other perspective (like the Federal and State regs lol), therefore, Administrators are at liberty to put their own spin on things. Very important for parents to educate themselves.

Input/observations from teachers can be very helpful. It is one of the evaluation requirements -- teacher observations in and of itself can not be the sole basis to deem a child eligible or ineligble for an IEP. Same with-using input solely from a parent, from a doctor, grades,an IQ test, etc.

§300.535 Procedures for determining eligibility and placement.

(a) In interpreting evaluation data for the purpose of determining if a child is a child with a disability under §300.7, and the educational needs of the child, each public agency shall—

(1) Draw upon information from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, parent input, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior; and

(2) Ensure that information obtained from all of these sources is documented and carefully considered.

(b) If a determination is made that a child has a disability and needs special education and related services, an IEP must be developed for the child in accordance with §§300.340-300.350.