Need to amend IEP; psychiatrist would like to attend mtg (m)

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Karen & Crew, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Karen & Crew

    Karen & Crew New Member

    has anyone else had their difficult child's psychiatrist attend meetings? How well was this received?

    difficult child is not doing well this year and 2 of his 3 teachers have admitted to not really reading his IEP. School is really not going well for him this year, he's teetering on the brink of suspension and technically already should have been suspended, if not expelled.

    I'm meeting with an education advocate this afternoon to review his IEP, find out what we can change and what we need to **** up and then we're going to write a letter requesting this meeting.

    I spoke with difficult child's psychiatrist yesterday and told her all about the school problems as the principal had asked me directly to speak with the psychiatrist and ask about a medication increase. I did NOT ask for a medication increase but said conversationally that the school administration has implied that he isn't medicated enough. At that point psychiatrist asked to be included on the next IEP meeting.

    Does anyone know if having the psychiatrist attend common? If so is it generally well received? My husband & I are so frustrated at this point right now we're (well, I with his knowledge and approval) actively researching home-schooling.
  2. tessaturtle

    tessaturtle New Member

    Hi Karen,
    We had difficult child's therapist start attending meetings and it is a huge help. In fact, one of the meetings her input was extremely helpful. THe new school district wanted to have difficult child start attending their self-contained EH program in our district. We wanted him to stay where he was, at a therapeutic day school out of district. The therapists' input was very helpful in convincing them not to push the issue.

    From what I understand, and in my experience (personally and professionally) the parent can invite who they want to the meeting, just make sure to inform the school ahead of time.

    good luck!
  3. jal

    jal Member

    You can invite anyone you feel can help your child. I have not had psychiatrist attend, although I was told I could, but difficult child's daycare primary teachers attended as we started the IEP process in kindergarden.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Hi Karen, I'm sorry things are so rough for your little guy right now.

    A couple questions before I answer your questions:
    What exactly is your difficult child doing to merit suspension?
    Can his needs be met in his current school, or is it possible he might need a different program with more support?

    Just so you know, a public school cannot expel a student protected by an IEP as long as the behavior is a manifestation of his disability. If your difficult child's needs can't be met at his home school or he is not able to access his education at his home school because of his disability, the SD is required to find an appropriate placement to accomplish those goals. Some kids with Aspergers need more specialized programs than a regular mainstream classroom can offer, even with IEP supports.

    You should also be aware that it is illegal under federal law for any school official to specifically request medication changes, or for that matter, require the child to be medicated at all (they aren't doctors, after all). Furthermore, it indicates a serious lack of understanding about a child with Aspergers, who isn't suddenly going to "get better" with medications. If the medication question comes up at all during your IEP meeting, our advocate advised us to handle it this way: "medications are certainly part of the treatment plan, and they help. But they aren't the magic bullet. difficult child needs lots of interventions to access his education, including academic accommodations and services."

    To answer your question, I think it's pretty common to have psychiatrists or other professionals involved in your difficult child's care (as well as the advocate) attend IEP meetings. It lends an authoritative voice to what's going on with your difficult child. The advocate will know for sure how your local community will receive a psychiatrist at an IEP meeting, but I wouldn't hesitate at all to bring the psychiatrist along.

    My son J's psychiatrist attended our last IEP meeting, and it helped immensely in getting the placement we wanted (a self-contained program for socially and emotionally fragile high schoolers). The team was really interested in what our psychiatrist had observed in terms of what worked and what didn't for J. His psychiatrist also wrote a 3-page summary of J's diagnosis, course of illness, treatment, school challenges and suggested accommodations/services. My daughter M's psychiatrist just wrote a similar summary for her IEP meeting next week. Again, very helpful because it's not just coming from the parents.

    I also wanted to ask you about your difficult child's medications: Is he better, worse or about the same since he started this medication combo? If he's worse, I'd seriously consider making some significant medication changes.

    Please post again with any further questions. And good luck.
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    You can invite anyone you want to the meeting.

    I the head team leader of difficult child's private multidisciplinary evaluation attend the meeting.

    Sd will pay much more attention to the "profession" speaking compared to the parent. Often, they appreciate the opportunity to speak directly with-your private professional.

    With that said, I do not authorize any information to be released directly to the school district without it being at a meeting in which I am in attendance OR a conference call wherein I participate.

    School of hard knocks taught me better. Example: I stupidly allowed the sd to contact difficult child's psychologist when we were having tons of behavior problems at school. The sd's actions were causing huge problems and they would not listen to me.

    I appealed a suspension. Gave authorization to Dr. D. They discussed behavior techniques, yadda, yadda. During the discussion, the principal said the difficult child has to be held accountable; Dr. D says we he should, but you don't put a child in this frame of mind and in his condition in a carosel alone and expect him to sit there all day, etc. What did the principal make her decision on? Dr. D said, "difficult child must be held accountable. Appeal denied."

    Like I said, school of hard knocks.....
  6. Karen & Crew

    Karen & Crew New Member

    Thanks all! I spoke with the advocate today and she was surprised to see that difficult child didn't have an FBA done prior to his initial IEP. The psychologist from the school board didn't feel it was appropriate. We felt differently but our concerns seem to fall on deaf ears around here. She wants us to formally request not only the functional behavior analysis but also an individualized behavior plan be drawn up and added to his IEP.

    Smallworld, to answer your questions...

    What exactly is your difficult child doing to merit suspension?
    *He has hit other children on more than one occasion and has also threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot a girl who fussed at him about kicking her school bag. That incident could have gotten him expelled but the principal intervened and simply wrote him up for inappropriate use of language. As much as I dislike the principal sometimes she does actually seem to care.

    Can his needs be met in his current school, or is it possible he might need a different program with more support?
    *I think they *could* be met at his current school if they were willing to put him in a more restrictive environment but the psychologist from last year doesn't think that's appropriate. That said, when he spent about 1/4-1/3 of his day in a self-contained class of 4 children, all with varying degrees of autism (difficult child being the mildest case to 1 child with Asperger's but a bit more severe than difficult child) he did fantastically. The school administration and the teacher for that class felt that difficult child would be better served in a less restrictive environment with more NT children who could be better models of *normal* behavior. psychiatrist feels he probably needs a bit more restrictive environment with fewer students (best choice in her opinion) to a para-educator (what's specified in his IEP but he has yet to have).

    I also wanted to ask you about your difficult child's medications: Is he better, worse or about the same since he started this medication combo? If he's worse, I'd seriously consider making some significant medication changes.
    *I think he's doing worse. That said, his environment at school is MUCH more stressful than it was last year. The teachers are more demanding, a lot less understanding and are almost impossible to work with and I think that has a great deal to do with it. His psychiatrist feels that if he were put in a more restrictive setting that we would find the medication is sufficient and she recommends that route before medicating him further. Oh, I just noticed that despite my attempt to update his medications it is not accurate. difficult child currently takes 36 mg Concerta, 20 mg Celexa and 25 mg of Seroquel in the am, 10 mg of Focalin when he gets home from school and 25 mg of Seroquel at bedtime.

    I will write the letter to the school tomorrow and on the advice of the advocate will be copying the director of special education for our area. Once I have a date I will contact psychiatrist and the advocate so that we can arrange a meeting date and time.