New here & have questions about getting an evaluation

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by kbdy, Mar 26, 2010.

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  1. kbdy

    kbdy Guest

    I've been reading through websites & trying to make sense of everything I read & my head is spinning.

    I got the "official" letter from the school stating they were denying an evaluation because:
    1. teacher reports no behavior/academic concerns
    2. no initial referral for the Problem Solving Team process
    3. Team needs to consider lack of instruction as primary reason why grades declined from A to B level
    4. daughter's abilities are commensurate with-grade level peers.

    Grades have gone from A to D. She started in a gifted program 2yrs ago, dropped to the advanced program last year & this year was dropped to a regular program. We also have the ability to view her grades online & in one subject she's got a 60%, but they've graded that as a B-....

    The school has told me that there needs to be an academic reason for an evaluation, not behavioral. (she obviously doesn't display this in school, but they never contradict daughter either! they let her slide with the "stories" she has). She's also been seeing the social worker for 3yrs, but they say that's a social issue not related to school.

    She's currently diagnosis'd with Bipolar, ODD, Gen. Anxiety & possibly Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

    I called the Sp. Ed. director today & was told that a "team" evaluated her & determined that an evaluation wasn't necessary, but she couldn't give me the names/times of when daughter was considered for this.

    All this leads us to believe that there's something not quite right. Last year while she was hospitalized they just gave her incompletes instead of giving her a grade. They admitted to having a lack of instruction, but they will not provide any extra help, that is our expense. Basically we have to let daughter fail & not help with any work in order for them to help us. I think it's a load of BS!

    What do I do now?
  2. remclick

    remclick Guest

    I don't know what to tell you but we struggle with the same thing. The teacher and i are working like crazy to keep him caught up but then the school says he looks fine. He looks fine because we are working harder and harder. Even his teacher make the work easier for him. I don't know what to do either but you are not alone.
  3. dadside

    dadside New Member

    Welcome kbdy and remclick. As others have said, we're glad you found us but sorry you had to. My response is directed mainly at kbdy's issue.

    I find it remarkable that the school sent a letter denying an evaluation, especially given reasons they listed. Do keep the letter for your file. Basically, once given a written request for evaluation as well as written permission to do the evaluation, the school has 60 days to complete it (more in only 3 states, I believe). They may want to go through a problem solving process first, and that can often prove useful, but it doesn't halt or delay the time limit. They simply don't have a choice under the law. They may try to talk you out of it etc., but once they have the request and permission specified, the timer runs.

    The standard for special education is performance vs. ability, not ability vs. others on grade. That she was in a gifted program, then advanced, now regular program itself suggests something is amiss. To me, it also suggests her performance ought to be measured against gifted students. But even against "regular" students, 60% seems hardly meriting more than a D, if that. The school is right that there has to be an academic reason to evaluate under IDEA, but you have one. And prior reports from teachers, problem solving process and the rest are beside the point. They can't simply dismiss her grade trend by saying she wasn't in school ("lack of instruction").

    I seems fairly clear that you face a greater than normal challenge with your local schools. To address it, you should be better than average at "following the rules" of the relevant laws because doing so should get what your daughter needs. Actually, sometimes showing the school you really do know what you are doing - and they should be doing - enough. Just showing up at a meeting with a helpful advocate sometimes has been helpful by itself.

    Exactly what to do depends a bit on where you live and on your finances. In general, I suggest you:
    1- Deliver a fresh written request to the school principal for evaluation, the request to include specific areas of suspected weakness, but not limiting the evaluation. Incorporate your permission for said evaluation. See a source suggested below before writing the letter. Also, hand-deliver the letter and keep notes on to whom it was delivered and when. Even though they may want their own form signed, I don't see how your proper consent wouldn't start the clock anyway. (Some advise sending the request certified mail, return reciept requested. I think that is too much of a sign you may be preparing for a battle, and may make them too defensive.)
    2- Learn about special education laws. The Wrightslaw book "From Emotions to Advocacy" is helpful on the law and on how things often work. Your library may have the book, or may be able to get it for you to borrow. The Wrightslaw website is also helpful.
    3- Get help from an advocate or similar trained person. In many areas, trained advocates are available free, and at least three such states have statewide volunteer programs. Contact your state's "Parent Training and Information Center" for information and direction.
    4- Get a comprehensive independent evaluation done. If you can afford it, do so now. While not cheap, it should prove much more useful than whatever the school does. At an IEP meeting, the team (of which you are a part) must consider the independent results, but need not accept them. If money is tight (as it often is), you may get the school district to pay for the independent evaluation if you disagree with their evaluation, but they do theirs first, and in effect this means pushing the independent evaluation to the fall.

  4. helpme

    helpme New Member

    I'd definitely be trying to get them in any way to document the extra help.
    Try corresponding in writing with the teacher who is trying to help.
    Um, talk about scheduling and so forth and get something in writing
    about it all. Then I'd turn back to whatever medical professional and
    explain the situation to them, possibly showing the above documents.
    Then I'd ask for the medical professional's recommendation about the

    Then, I'd proceed with re-requesting the evaluation. Then you
    have some choices of how to use the doctor's note of recommendation,
    (possibly within the request) or how possibly to have the doctor attend
    meetings and so forth, before or after 504/IEP/or whatever intervention
    program the SD may provide. An advocate will be vey very helpful at
    that point, since he or she already KNOWS your SD.

    Personally, I think I'd fight for the 504 Plan base on "Other Health
    Impairment". I'm sure people here can explain the current laws
    regarding a 504 Plan better than I could.

    I'd go at i this way because it seems like you have a BIG battle
    with this SD over these issues. This method might allow you to
    play sorta dumb, like, "well her physician is worried about the undue
    stress caused by school with her diagnosis." sorta statement(s).

    This would at least start documenting the assistance your daughter is
    receiving, and make the SD accountable for it. Goals and the like
    are a bit sketchy with a 504 Plan, but they can be done.

    >>I called the Sp. Ed. director today & was told that a "team" evaluated her
    & determined that an evaluation wasn't necessary, but she couldn't give me the
    names/times of when daughter was considered for this.

    I'd play dumb again and state that I needed that in writing for her medical
    file. I'd say that the doctor specifically told you that he wanted copies
    of all evaluations pertaining to your child to verify that his current treatment.

    And I'd be search laws regarding <performance vs. ability> just like dadside
    said. I'd also proceed with a note in the evaluation request of using the
    evaluation to know what she should be able to do, thereby being able to
    compare her current performance to that ability, due to her definite sign
    of progression in ability as documented by her change of academic
    placement among the gifted/advanced/regular placement.
    program is appropriate. Again, if they still flounder on providing the
    information, I'd have my doctor request the information in writing.

    Oh, please search for an advocate. Meet with the advocate privately
    BEFORE you meet back with the SD. Get a plan in place. Know exactly
    what services you desire for daughter.
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