Newbie needs help

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by KarenB, May 28, 2008.

  1. KarenB

    KarenB New Member

    I was told today,(and also perviously) by my difficult child's guidance counselor that he doesn't qualify for an IEP. The reason: there is not a big enough gap between his IQ and performance. They just did testing at the school per my request. He was suspended today for taking a knife to school, and not long ago he stole books from the school library. The principal told me today that my son's behavior is,"escalating." On another forum someone posted to me that he can get an IEP for behavioral/mental issues, and that the "gap" is no longer apllicable for qualification. Can someone please tell me how to approach the school on this? I don't want to be confrontational, yet the school year is over in a few days. Thanks!
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Karen, there are a few of us (like me) that are toward the older end and won't remember info from the other thread. (Sorry!) Could you list info like 1) has anyone done neuropsychological testing on your son, and if so, was it done privately or by the school, 2) Has he gotten worse or better, or can you tell any difference, on his medication, 3) Have you sent a certified letter to the school asking for an evaluation for spec. ed. services, 4) Did the school ever suggest testing and evaluation in the past?, 5) Whos has given him the diagnosis's (psychiatrist, therapist, etc)?, 6) Discuss with the professional(s) in his life writing a letter to school about how the "disorder" and/or medications might be affecting his functioning at school

    This should help get others started on repsonses!!
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Karen, I'm sure Martie and Sheila, the co-mods of this forum, will be along shortly, but you should be aware that the guidance counselor cannot determine IEP eligibility on her own. There is a process, mandated by federal law, that must be followed, and it begins with a certfied letter sent by you to the principal of your son's school asking for an evaluation for the purposes of qualifying for Special Education services. The decision is made by an IEP team that includes school administrators and you, the parent(s).

    To get you started on learning Special Education law, I recommend checking out the website The more you learn, the better you'll be prepared to advocate for your son.
  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    IDEIA 2004 prohibits the use of discrepancy formulae to determine eligibility for special education. In addition, the decision is made by a multidisciplinary team, not one guidance counselor. There are special rules for bringing a weapon to school and your difficult child needs the legal protection an IEP will provide. IMMEDIATELY send a letter to the SD by certified mail that you have reason to believe that your girlfriend has a disability that prevents him from following school rules. This is notice that will kick in legal protections that your child needs desperately. For a child NOT in Special Education., it is very difficult to stop an expulsion over a weapon. In addition please see below:

    Here is the Getting started thread form the Archives of Special Education on this board. I just checked the links and they work.

    In sending any letter to your SD you should send it by certified mail. You also need to set up a very good filing system to "build your paper trail."

    There is a wealth of information in the Archives and most of the titles are self explanatory.

    I know this seems like a daunting task, but if you do not advocate for your difficult child, who will?

  5. KarenB

    KarenB New Member

    Thank you SO much for your help, everyone!
  6. KarenB

    KarenB New Member

    I didn't answer the questions. Okay..
    1)There has not been a neuropsychologist evaluation done. I ahve NO idea where to get it done. There are no neuropsychs in my area. The school only did testing on his IQ and performance.

    2)He has gotten worse since his Zoloft was increased about 6 weeks ago.

    3) I didn't send a letter to the school. I went to guidance(because that's what they told me to do when I called the school and asked)and signed a paper requesting my difficult child be tested.

    4)The school has never suggested testing, and my son was suspended for the same thing(a knife at school) when he was in Elementary school 3 or 4 years ago.

    5)psychiatrist diagnosed him.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok, here are my suggestions: 1) ask psychiatrist to recommend a psychologist for testing ASAP. If you don't have any insurance or cannot cover the cost, you'll need to get the school to do some more testing, but you're much better off getting it done privately if at all posssible- the sd is trying to avoid their responsibilities, in my humble opinion
    2) Obviously, talk to psychiatrist about medications- make sure he/she knows ALL behaviors you are seeing- plus, any changes in sleep, eating, habits etc.
    3) See #1, last line
    4) I think there might possibly be a requirement of the sd to identify potential Special Education students and I thinnk they should have discussed an evaluation with you in elementary school- not that helps so much now, but, it could if they push for removal of your son from their school
  8. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    I just something in your post that jumped out at me. You say he is on Zoloft and the problems started shortly after that. Be aware that anti-depressants can have major side effects, inlcuding disinhibtion. My son after a few days on Lexapro went wild in class turning over desks. Subsequently we started him on a lower dose of Prozac (stupid me,but that's another story), on which he started stealing and even set a small fire. This was not his typical behavior. He got quite silly. when we d/c it the issues stopped cold.

    If he is not in the care of a competent child psychiatrist I would really urge you to find one. The bad medication decisions we made were when my son was under the care of his pediatrician. In many places where child psychiatrists are few and far between they prescribe to psychiatric conditions, but sometimes it is a disaster. It seems like he has a psychiatrist so maybe that is not an issue. How long has he been on Concerta? that can also cause aggression. We found that we really had to up my son's Adderall when he was on SSRI's to deal with the disinhibition.

    So please question the choice of a SSRI. That might be part of the problem.
  9. KarenB

    KarenB New Member

    Thank you, pepperidge. I do believe Zoloft is the problem. He's been on it for quite a long time. I think he was on 50 mg for about 2 years before this new psychiatrist upped it to 100mg recently. I called today to leave a message for his psychiatrist, and I will get a call tomorrow about this. I want to discontinue the Zoloft completely. I never felt he needed it in the first place, but since he was supposedly going to one of the best psychiatrists in my state, I didn't question. I finally got fed up after 3 years of him going to that psychiatrist, and I switched him to this new one about 3 months ago. I feel this psychiatrist listens to me, where the other one was blaming me for my difficult child's behavior instead of trying to help, and she did this in front of him!

    Anyway, he's been on Concerta for about 3 years. The dose was steadily increased, and it has worked for him as far as his school work. I stopped getting calls from teachers about him getting out of his seat constantly in class and talking, not staying on task, etc.. But see now his behavior at school and at home is far worse than it's ever been. He even broke into our neighbor's house. They chose not to press charges, although at times I wish they had. If it's not his medications causing this he needs a serious wake-up call.
  10. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I will reiterate:

    Send a CERTIFIED letter to your SD NOW stating that your son is suspected of having a disability that prevents him from conforming his behavior to school rules. Just because they let the first knife incident go, doesn't mean they will again. Kindergarteners have been expelled for bringing butter knives to school. Your son is in grave danger of the SD unloading him permanently. There is a provision in law protecting the rights of students "suspected" of having a disability. I would strongly suggest you take full advantage of that provision.

    The thread in the Archives that explains this is called "It's that time of year again."

  11. Samantha

    Samantha Guest

    There are 13 different disability categories in which a student can qualify for special education services. Learning Disability is only one of them. It sounds like the school did not do thorough testing. I would think that the school should consider eligibility under the category of Emotional Disability or Other Health Impairment.

    Here's info about Emotional Disability: See if this rings true...