This is so foreign to me~~

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by wakeupcall, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Most of you already know that we adopted our difficult child at birth. He's in Special Education for math and content mastery (5th grade). Tonight husband and I went to the intermdeate school for a parent meeting for next year. OMG.....husband and I sat there laughing at it all!! There was never any doubt with our other two children (very bright) and their abilities to do "choir", "theater", "band", etc. for an elective. There is NO WAY difficult child will make it through a year long elective like this!!! What are we supposed to do? difficult child??? Learn to read music or memorize lines for a play??? You gotta be kiddin' me!!! :highvoltage: What do we do?? Do we go talk to the intermediate school SE teachers to get direction? Do we count on the elementary school he's in now to help us make some decisions? We've had to drag him along all this year and now we're faced with next year. Oh man.........
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I'd ask the middle school teachers. They'd have a better handle on those classes and how they can be modified. I'm hoping Kanga can have a structured study hall as an elective next year, she needs basic remediation far more than band.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    If your difficult child has an IEP, you should be able to get guidance from the Special Education department at the middle school.
  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Does he have an IEP? If not, now is the time to get one. SEND THE REQUEST FOR EVALUATION TO THE DIR OF SP ED IN THE EL DISTRICT BY CERTIFIED MAIL. If he has one, the el school and the middle school need to plan the transition together with you. It is precisely this juncture that I finally got my ex-difficult child qualified bec. I wanted the legal protection for him before the start of middle school--which is a nightmare for many PCs.

    I would not wait until he is there to try to qualify him--If he is qualified, ask for a joint IEP meeting for planning for next year. SEND THE REQUEST BY CERTIFIED MAIL.

  5. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    My son entered middle school this year. He is on an IEP. They have a ed resource class (Special Education of sorts) a couple of periods a week. I told them that to skip the music and put him in that class. They didn't have any problems. After all these are "electives" of sorts. Then when things started going south and school refusual started heating up, he is now going half days (mornings for academic subjects) and skipping home Easy Child, art, music,gym etc. Not saying t hat is what your son should do, only that if you have a good sense of what your son will and won't do or be able to do or what is limits are, be proactive. ?There is a good chance that the school will be flexible, particularly if you stress that it is mastery of academic subjects you are concerned about. My son only has so much school in him, it seems.

  6. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    do keep in mind for some kids those special more astistic type classes turn out to be just the niche your child fits and provides self worth and expression of self. for some it is also the motivator to go to school.
  7. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    We just had the ARD and husband acted like a horse's backside. When I quit crying, I'll be back with details!
  8. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    We had an ARD with difficult child's elementary school to develop a BIP. They had already had an in-depth meeting with behavior specialists (without us) and had it all drawn up. In a nutshell, they want to send my little boy to another campus for full time social development classes. husband acted like a real horse's a**, and I was totally embarrassed (he was even shouting). There were EIGHT school officials an the two of us! Four of them were from the school district and the other four were from his school. We left without signing anything. husband accused them of wanting to wash their hands of him instead of teach him and he felt that was discriminatory. Oh man.....he went on and on. I cried, from anger, embarrassment, hurt and a feeling of defeat. There are no SD classes held on the campus where he goes to fifth grade. He'd have to leave his friends (the principal says he HAS no friends), teachers, counselor, etc. and start over developing relationships of any kind. WE maintained he would lose ground with all the work we've already done. I'M afraid he would lose confidence in US.

    I'm just sick over it all. THIS is what ya get with a hoity-toity school. There's only four more months of school and husband thinks it would harm more than help in that short of time. I can't even think straight..........
  9. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    It is a BIG legal problem (for them) that they held a "pre-meeting" without you and the evidence is they came to the IEP meeting with the BIP finished.

    I think it is a bad idea to move a child four months before a natural transition that will happen anyway. I usually do not lightly suggest that a parent file for due process, but this is a case where it might be a good tactic. In IL, at least, it would take 4 months for the Due Process to come to hearing.

    If you do this, Sheila can advise you about whether or not it is rational to go to DP in TX without an attorney. It is not OK in IL, but I could make it work well enough that your son would never move before he left el school (unless he commits acts considered dangerous to self and others.)

    To do this, you would need to follow TX law in regard to filing a complaint--if I were you, other than the egregious violation of meeting without you (which they will try to potray as a "planning" meeting only), is I would ask for TONS of data supporting their BIP. Have they observed difficult child in several settings. What are the target behaviors? What are the replacement behaviors? How restrictive are the interventions? They have to try less restrictive options before they move to a different campus. YOu also could ask the principal for data supporting the assertion difficult child has "no friends," sound to me like one of those cruel things that get said--but does he have the data to back it up?

    To be called on their lack of data will slow them down--mean time, difficult child "stays put" where he is.

    Then I would ask for lots of data during the 4 to 6 week trial of the new BIP --daily data, weekly data, data for different classes. Collecting this type of data is very time consuming but it is basis of both BIP and RTI.

    IF the SD is not responsive, then you can ask for Due Process--which is governed by Federal rules and TX rules as well. There may be "mediation" that is "voluntary" but required. In addition, you should point out that difficult child is going to middle school and ask for a transition meeting also (to figure out if the middle school is more cooperative) BY CERTIFIED MAIL.

    In addition, there are time-lines for all these things and you want to take as long as possible--so you are required to have 10 days in writing notice of an IEP meeting--don't waive this right.

    The "REAL" issue is planning for middle school but the above tactics will take long enough that it is highly likely your difficult child will finish this year where he is.

    In order for this to work, your husband has to get his emotions under control. For anyone thinking of going this route alone, he/she needs to order From Emotions to Advocacy from

    I know how to use the law to keep a student in place for 4 months--especially since the SD as violated the law blatantly. Whether you can do this yourself depends on how quick a study you are and whether you can develop a really thick skins fast.

    The other thing you want to do is start being REALLY nice to the middle school folks--try to split them off from the "illegal" grade school people. Let them know that difficult child will be with them for the duration of middle school and you certainly want a cooperative relationship. Ideally, they will see you as reasonable if they are but unwilling to allow the grade school to hurt difficult child. This cannot happen if husband is upset and shouting and you are crying. Worst case scenario is the middle school doesn't want difficult child and they are trying to get the grade school to do their dirty work. However, do not assume the worst, yet.

    Martie :warrior: :warrior: :warrior:
  10. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Marti, thanks so much for your valuable input. I will get the book TODAY and try to clear my head. It's the wee hours of the morning and husband and I have been up two hours to discuss this without difficult child around. We waiver back and forth.....and the bottom line is our difficult child needs help, now. We need to figure the best way to get him help. I guess if the school had listened to me in the first place, he would have already had some of these services. Well, that's now water under the bridge. Nonetheless, we need to move forward in some way. HE'S JUST A LITTLE BOY!!! We feel like the elementary school just wants him OUT. I'm not sure you can fight city hall. :frown:
  11. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Just my 2 cents-- You've been struggling with difficult child for a very long time. Over the year(s) have you found anything that has been really effective? Have you felt as though things were really improving and things were starting to look up?

    I'm not sure what the answer is...I don't think moving a child mid-year is a good thing...however perhaps it would give you a chance to see how he does in a smaller self-contained setting during elementary school as oppopsed to middle school.

    Do you feel like the school has done a terrible job? Do you feel that he has better self-control at home than at school?

    Something has to change. He is getting older --You are still struggling with him--struggling with medications--struggling with behavior--struggling with academics (I think I've read that)

    Do you know anything about the program they are recommending? I think I would observe the class. and set up a meeting with the principal. Even if you decide not to move him, you will have more information. What are the recommendations for middle school? Maybe you should let him finsh out the year and consider a new placement for middle school. If the program is good I would consider it because all too often I hear aobut middle school kids with behavior/emotional issues that were not properly dealt with...which does not help the struggling difficult child..

    Sending hugs--I feel your pain--You are an awesome mom !!! :warrior: Good luck with a really challenging decision.

    by the way--Have you thought about hiring an eductional consultant? Are there any private schools to consider that may be a better fit for your child?
  12. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Heavy-handed tactics used to side-step procedural safeguards are typical of toooo many school districts.

    From personal experience I can tell you the sd's most probable position would be that the IEP/ARD meeting held without you and husband was a "staffing"; the IEP will be deemed a "draft." Without hard proof to the contrary, you loose at Due Process.

    You'd need an experienced special education attorney to win at Due Process in my opinion.

    Special Education attorneys that will take a case from a parent are hard to find in southeast Texas. When I was looking for one, I found one in the Houston area. School districts had the remainder on retainers. If you want to go that route, PM me and I can put you in contact with an advocate in the Houston area that has the attorney's name and number -- you might can network that way and find a sp ed attorney in your area. If you live near the Houston area, you might want to contact the advocate anyway.

    Another tactic used is the "attendance/sign-in sheet." I've been to ARD's in different school district's in SE Texas, and they want everyone to sign the "attendance sheet" first thing. It's not an attendance sheet per se -- it's the last page of the IEP form, and parents inadvertently sign it signifying their agreement to the IEP which hasn't even been developed. Therefore, I advise the parent(s) to sign it in the margin (outside the signature boxes) with the notation “signed to acknowledge parent attendance at the ARD meeting only.”

    I don't know if this is the case with-your sd, but I wanted to alert you to it so that you understand the need to act quickly.

    Even if you didn't sign that type "attendance sheet," you have a short period of time to either notify the sd you are requesting mediation or filing Due Process. (Use Certified Mail)

    When parents and sds disagree at an ARD, the ARD meeting reconvenes within 10 days. During the interim, parents (and sds) should be gathering additional information to support their positions.

    I also recommend that before the sd's recommendation is dismissed out-of-hand, that you and husband visit the facility, classroom(s), meet staff and teacher(s), ask lots of questions. It could be that their recommendation is a good placement and the dates for working out the transfer can be negotiated.

    You might leave the facility knowing it is not the appropriate placement for your son, however, you may get a better idea of what would be benefical for your son (perhaps some of what you learn there can be incorporated into his IEP at his present school, maybe look for a different facility that does X,Y, Z but not A, B, C?)

    At the very least, while answering a Complaint or presenting evidence at Due Process, you wouldn't want to give the sd ammo such as:

    No, they didn't even bother to ask to see the facility; no they didn't...., etc., etc.
  13. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Sheila's points are really good which is why I wanted her to speak from a TX perspective. I do not think that GOING to DP is a good idea, but even starting the ball rolling can take more than 4 months in IL....You will lose on the "pre-meeting" but if you call them on it, they may stop doing it.

    The comment about visiting their proposed placement is so true--I should have thought of that.

    in my opinion you should fight city hall. If the placement is bad, and it also serves middle schoolers, that is where difficult child will be next year. I suspect this is part of the SD plan.

    I still think the SD has a proactive duty to collect data I bet they do not have. I KNOW I have an advantage in demanding this sort of data because I teach grad students how to collect it. Nevertheless, the types of information that should be collected are commonsensical and do not be intimated away from trying to get it. In addition to being a delaying tactic to keep "stay put" going if that is what you want, it is actually USEFUL in helping difficult child if it is done correctly.

  14. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    That bit about the "attendance sheet" yup- happens here all the time.....
    I have a question about what to do when someone comes in signs the sheet and leaves. In our due process our hearing officer got kind weird about the "attendance sheet" and a question came up about a witness who had only breifly SEEN my dtr when they stopped in to sign that "attendance sheet" but then wanted to testify and claim they KNEW my dtr her behaviors etc from their personal interactions with her during IEP meetings------ BUT they never saw my child AT ALL except in the meetings for the 30 seconds when they signed the sheet. IS there something that can be said or done about a situation like this?
  15. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Your direct testimony that the person came in and then left. However, the SD often is very creative with the truth. One of the most upsetting things to parents about DP is the perjury committed by staff they had previously trusted.

  16. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Martie, I've been to the library and checked out the book you suggested. I think I might have to go buy one at the bookstore so I can write in the margins, underline and highlight! The book is excellent. Thanks!

    Trust. Now that's a word I would never attach to difficult child's school. Ha! I think any of them would stab ya in the back now.

    When I got up and left the room, one of the others asked husband to sign "the paper". He refused. He DID sign that the both of us were in attendance and that was all. He said he wanted to go on record that he doesn't agree with even a BIT of their suggestions.

    Monday I think I'll call and make an appointment at the school where the SD classes are held and check it out. Maybe if I could see it for myself I'd feel better about considering it. So much for buying a house so that difficult child could go to a really good school. The school taxes nearly choke anyone! And now he's going to go to a lesser school??? Great, just great.
  17. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    [ QUOTE ]
    IS there something that can be said or done about a situation like this?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yes. At the point when a participant leaves the meeting (or at the close of the IEP meeting if you don't want that person dragged back in -- lol), make a formal request that the Minutes note that Mr./Mrs XYZ entered the meeting at 1:01:00 pm and left at exactly 1:01:30 pm -- just long enough to sign the attendance sheet.

    If the notation is not in the Minutes when given to you, write an Addenda to the Minutes that you specifically requested the notation be made during the IEP meeting and close with, "This is a formal request to add this parent Addenda to the IEP Minutes. It may not be removed from difficult child's permanent special education record without my written consent." As always, send it Certified Mail. (Yes, our school district trained me well.)
  18. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    mmmm..nah, they did not take minutes at any of ours...and no, I never ever got anything successfully added to as a parent addendum...
    I guess mostly I just wanted to point out to others to be careful and cautious and watch for such actions by their sds? Sorry.
    I am very glad to be done with all this. It sure is not for the faint of heart.
    Wishing you the best Pamela.