So what exactly *does* it take to get an IEP?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by automaton, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. automaton

    automaton New Member

    I have physics homework due tomorrow and I haven't even started it. Instead, I've been mulling over the IEP meeting I had at difficult child's school today and specifically the fact that they denied it because she's "able to benefit educationally" without accomodations.

    To re-cap, toward the end of last school year (April 2012), difficult child attempted suicide and had to be hospitalized for observation for a little over a week. She was stripped of her ADHD diagnosis and diagnosis'd with psychosis, trichotilomania (sp?), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), general anxiety, sever depression, insomnia, and some other things. It's a pretty extensive list. When she got out of the mental hospital, she spent most of the rest of the year either in the school nurse's office or the school counselor's office because she wasn't stable enough to really stay in class, plus her medications were new and they'd rather watch her anyway. Grades had already been determined, so it wasn't really a big deal where that was concerned.

    I spent the summer really trying to make sure she felt loved, safe, happy, etc. It was essentially focus on difficult child time. I thought our relationship was getting better, but little did I know that she was telling her therapist that I was more or less ignoring her, she didn't feel loved, etc. This resulted in her therapist verbally attacking me in her office in September in front of difficult child saying that difficult child doesn't have any problems, and if I'd just give her more positive attention, all difficult child's issues would go away.

    Since the beginning of the school year, difficult child's behavior at home has taken a nose-dive. She's resumed harming her little sister (difficult child will be 11 in days, baby sister is 15 mo.s), harrasing the pets, yelling at me. At school, she's out-right failing writing and has a D in math. Coincidentally enough, since the beginning of the year, she's told me several times that she feels her classmates are bullying her.

    Today, we had the IEP meeting. She's been denied because the school psychologist feels difficult child is able to benefit educationally in a regular classroom without accomodations. I asked for clarification, and she said that though difficult child clearly has emotional and mental health issues that are recoginzed and have been diagnosis'd by a psychiatrist, because they do not negatively effect her ability to receive an education, she is denied.

    So, I specifically asked her, how does spending all day in the counselor or nurse's office where there is no education occuring at all *NOT* negatively affecting her ability to receive an education? How is her being bullied to the point that she attempts suicide and has to be hospitalized where there is effectively no education occuring *NOT* negatively affecting her ability to receive an education? How does her F in writing (she loves to write, by the way) and D in math reflect that her mental and emotional conditions are *NOT* negatively affecting her ability to receive an education?

    No real response except to acknowledge that they understand that I'm frustrated and to inform me that I have the option to appeal their decision with the director of education.

    Which will happen. They want me to email her (provided her email address, no physical address). I feel this is a ruse of some sort; I've never been told to handle this type of official, legal business through email; it just sounds fishy. But what do I say? I mean, they acknowledge all the issues I stated above and still denied her IEP. What else is there *to* say?
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    On my phone but my suggestion is go to writeslaw website to research, insist on the address and appeal in writing sending it registered mail and finally, get an advocate. Im sure others will come along .....(keep on keeping specific track of days and times she is not in class related to her disability. Cases are influenced greatly based much on records/evidence )

    Get your warrior armor on! Time to fight big time. Sending you lots of strength and support.
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Did they put their "decision" in writing? If not, tell them you want their determination in writing along with their reasons ASAP. Since the decision has been made, there is no reason it can't be done the same day so don't accept excuses.

    In our paperwork, at least here, the name and address of the person to appeal to is listed in bold on the paperwork. If it isn't, tell them you want it. They can't withhold it from you if you request it.

    I agree with Buddy. Keep detailed records of how much time she spends where and for what reasons, what classes she misses, all conversations with anyone at the school (try to quote as much as possible), etc. Absolutely fight, if you're up to it. There are many sad schools out there (way too many) that put their budgets before the students. They need to be reminded that this is NOT a good practice and that you're not going to just sit and take it. And, yes, GET AN ADVOCATE. They carry a lot more weight than just a lowly little parent does IF they know SpEd law.

    Do you have any ideas about what types of accommodations will help her? That would be another good thing to start brainstorming. Make a list of things she needs to be successful in school be it academic help, emotional help, changes in amount of work, changes in work format, whatever you think will help. Those will be what you'll be pushing for.

    Good luck! Don your armour, it sounds like you've got a battle coming. {{{{HUGS}}}} to both of you.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    We had to fight this battle with Kanga at that same age. Keep pushing them. Document, document, document. Send the email but also send it certified, return receipt to the main district office.

    Ask the psychiatrist (the one with the MD behind his name) to write a letter stating that difficult child expresses suicidal ideation and the stress she experiences at school is a major contributing factor. He should ask for additional social/emotional supports and ask the education team to consider all placements to determine if they can provide more support to difficult child so that she can better access her education.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  5. kisco

    kisco New Member

    Hi, you have been given great advice so far. I wanted to add that you should always focus on the child's ability to access the curriculum. Clearly a child with documented emotional issues that impact ability to attend class is UNABLE to access the curriculum. It is best to phrase things this way, as this is the legal language that is used for obtaining an IEP. Your using the phrases "*NOT* negatively affecting her ability to receive an education?" has no legal weight.

    You need letters from her doctor, esp her psychiatrist, specifically classifying her condition and the fact that her condition is preventing her from accessing the curriculum. This is crucial, as doctors are "experts" and the committee must at least consider their input. Ask for something from the hospital as well, they usually complete evaluations with recommendations as part of the in patient process.

    Note that her grades are NOT a legal argument for an IEP. Grades are not a legal consideration for the special education committee. Her "classification" - that is, her disability, is.