Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Audrey, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. Audrey

    Audrey New Member

    So, I spoke to difficult child's school counselor again today (the one who thinks he might be an "idiot savant"). I told her I wanted to start the IEP process for difficult child.

    She's really trying to talk me out of it. "We can make all the modifications you want without having them in that document." "He's not academically challenged enough to need that..." BLah blah..

    He IS academically challenged. He hears/comprehends differently than others.

    She wants me to start wraparound services (which means I have to get him on Medical Assistance since the school can't provide them, an outside source has to) and get a TSS to be with him full time in school.

    Granted, I do think that would be beneficial for him but I'm not crazy about that being the only thing we do.

    I am definitely going after the IEP...I want everything they'll do for him IN WRITING!

    At the IEP meeting I want to explain his academic challenges like this:

    Imagine that loud noises overwhelm you. Imagine that too many colorful objects in a room make you spin in circles. Imagine you are afraid of the red fire alarm in the corner. Imagine that being in a large group of people who are talking all at once makes you want to hide under the table. Imagine you are smaller and more uncoordinated than everyone you are with. Imagine that you don't make transitions well at all and need to focus on one task at a time. Imagine that sometimes people's words get kind of jumbled up as they speak. Imagine you can't interpret facial expressions or gestures like most other people. Imagine you crave physical touch and get yelled at a lot for getting in other people's personal space. Imagine that you can read at a 3rd grade level so you get pulled out of the room all the time to go read the same books over and over to someone you don't know. Imagine you are five.

    Now...go to kindergarten and just learn everything you can!!! You'll be GREAT!!

    No academic challenge? His whole life is an academic challenge lady. :mad:
  2. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    You need to send a letter, certified with return receipt, to the SpEd director asking for your son to be evaluated for an IEP. This starts a legal timeline.

    There is a sample letter in the SpEd Archives.
  3. Audrey

    Audrey New Member

    I know...we have IEP for my easy child daughter too since she's in a gifted program there. Clearly they don't want me to start holding them legally accountable.
  4. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Audrey, when I read your first post, I immediately had the same thought as Heather, and then scrolled up and saw she already named up the letter. Then, I thought of one other alternative you COULD try first.... Calling Mrs. Idiot back and saying something like, "You know, I've thought about your suggestions, but my Momma gut just says that's not the way to go. I've learned I have to go with my gut feeling or regret it later. I'm going to have to inisist on that IEP meeting, and I want to get it calendared as soon as possible. Would you get back with me by Friday with a date for the meeting?"

    If that doesn't work, then the letter would seem to be the only option left.
  5. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Or better yet, call AND email that message with a cc to the Special Education director. If the spec. ed director is a decent person, I would make sure he/she is involved or at least knows about EVERYTHING. Could be the counselor has her own agenda that the director doesn't know about.
  6. Audrey

    Audrey New Member

    I don't know if we have a true Spec. Ed director other than this school counselor, but the letter/email is to go to the school psychologist who floats throughout the district. We've had a couple meetings already, informal ones to put some actions into place for Colin. She's equally opposed to difficult child having an Asperger's diagnosis but she's a lot more professional. When I told the neuropsychologist that both these ladies were sure he didn't have AS because his language was so developed at an early age, he nearly croaked...he trained the psychiatric!

    Anyway, I'm going to email her tomorrow and then drop a letter off at the school with the principal to give to her. She's a great lady and will make sure things get done.

    Maybe I'm a little defensive because I had to deal with these two ladies last year in regards to easy child 2 who was the "whisper buddy" to his friend with SM. I sat through IEPs with this other boy's mom since my son was included in them. I watched her fight tooth and nail with them to get things done. I don't want to do the same thing!

    I'm also planning an evaluation with our pedi (who specializes in ADD/ADHD etc) to discuss medications. I was his nurse for nearly 15 years and he is one of the best diagnostician's I've met.

    If difficult child really NEEDS a TSS all day in order to control his impulsivity then maybe he does need a little chemical help as well. My goal with a TSS would be to have someone in the room with him helping him with visual learning since he can't process all the auditory stuff normally.
  7. jal

    jal Member

    Hi Audrey,

    You need to send a certified letter to your Director of Pupil services requesting an evaluation. This is the person that oversees all of the sped cases for your district. This form many times can be found on your schools website. Once this form is received it kicks in a timeline that requires the school district to legally respond to you.

    You should not be getting your own TSS to sit with-your child in school. It is the legal responsibility of the school to PROVIDE that and pay for it.

    Good luck to you!
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'd send that certified letter asap. Once they receive the letter they have to move on it within a certain period of time.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Audrey, you have already demonstrated that you can handle this sort of situation with tact, sensitivity and an eye for positive outcomes for everybody.

    You've got good instincts for your own feelings too. Hang on to those.

    I would thank this woman for hr input, the wraparound services are a good idea and a multi-pronged approach is a very good thing to do. But this will not in any way reduce the need for the school to follow through too, or your efforts will be wasged.

    The multidiscpliniary approach is the way to go. And in Australia (and I thought in the US) Special Education gfunding to cover the IEP costs comes from the Federal Government, not out of the school's pocket. If the child is removed from the school and there is still half a year of funding left to spend, then the school has to pay it back. Otherwise, the costs are covered.

    You will find that the people who are responsible for making the decisions that will cost money (even if it's not their money) sometimes get better 'kudos' for not having to spend money. For example, when we applied for funding support the woman they sent out to help assess, did her utmost to downgrade his perceived needs so she could justify a lower amount. It was is if coming in cheaper for the year got her brownie points at senior level. Certainly she made some very bad decisions for difficult child 3.

    But if you think there is a need, you have to make the case and push the paperwork through.

    Educaiton staff can do a great deal, but in certain areas their hands are tied. For example they can see a child who they are sure would benefit form an IEP, but technicall are not permitted to approach the parents and suggest this.
    I've had a teacher or two over the years come to me quietly and say, "There is a parent whose child needs help, the parent applied but the officials denied the claim. We know this often happens and are sure it will get approved on appeal, but this mother is scared to appeal because she feels she isn't skilled enough to write the letter. We're not allowed to help her. Can oyu help her? And don't tell the officials I spoke to you about this, it has to be coming from the parent only, not from any teacher."

    So we got together, wrote the letter and the child got his funding back. The mother was amazed and delighted - a bit of a difficult child hrself, she was taught to agree with her "betters". which included self-proclaimed educational experts who told her when her son dind't need funding any more despite hr own instincts screaming otherwise. After all, they are the educated ones, they have the positions in authority, she's only a mum, what would she know?

    It's not a perfect system by any means. and even the best school will have problems.

    If you send in the formal request for an IEP, make sure there is a paer trail (you could email it, then your email out box will have acopy of what you sent and when). Then next time you talk to this 'fool' (we're not using the word idiot, because we're better than her) you simply say, "I thought about what you said. I've begun to organsie the wraparound services and I've found out this, this and that. I've also put in the formal request for an IEP so we don't lose any more time. Let's see how it goes. We're trying to make it easier on school staff as well as easier on difficult child. He has barriers between himself and education, barriers which his classmates don't have. It is discriminatory to not do anything about this, the soonr we put something in place then the sooner we teach him how to overcome these problems in his own unique way. we deal with the problems now while tey're smaller, because later on will be much more difficult."

    See how it goes. But a fait accompli - she can't talk you out of that. And really, given her previously demonstrated level of knowledge - is she such an authority that you would allow her views to dictate your actions?

  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    As hard as they are trying to get you to NOT do an IEP, and to get you to find someone else to pay for his help, just giving them a letter asking for an IEP is NOT going to get you anywhere.

    It doesn't matter that they are nice people. It really doesn't. It is ALL about the $$$. They don't want to give out any more accommodations. Not in writing that they can be held accountable for.

    If you just give them that letter they will NOT process it. It will NOT get things done. You may waste weeks or months.

    Send that letter by certified mail return receipt requested. It costs a few bucks. It also LEGALLY protects your son. He can NOT be punished for things caused by his disorders/whatevers during this time frame. It says they have to do their testing and be ready to sit down with you in X number of days, no matter what.

    It gives you grounds to have the courts order them to do what he needs.

    If you skip this step you will have to start at square one. The school year is half over. It will take almost 9 weeks to have them finish their testing and meet with you. Do you REALLY want to waste the precious few weeks you would have after the IEP goes into place?

    Just think about what we are asking. Know that many of us have had "good people" that we asked or emailed or handed a letter to, and that those "good people" ignored them or lost them or whatever and we had to start over, wasting precious academic time. We really DO have experience with this.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Susie, does it help if Audrey gets some testing done herself in this time? Brcause frankly, I don'ttrust education authorities do get the testing accurate in sufficient detail. Also, going private can often speed up the process.

    If there isn't time or it can't be done privately in the time, then Audrey, I suggest you ask for copies of all test results so any testing you get done privately can piggyback onto the school's results and actually use them to fine-tune it and get the detail in the areas most needed.

    I know justsending the letter isn't always enough. It should be, because by law they mustrespond. The aim of paying extra for receipt confirmation is to make sure they don't try to say later on, "We didn't get that letter at all, "or "We didn't get it until such-and-such a date."

    I would have thought email would have tyhta protection, but Audrey - Susie knows what works best in your area, so I would recommend you do it her way. A few dollars is a worthwhile investment if it saves your son that much extra time. Also, receipt of a registered receipt confirmation letter often scares the pants off the school and sends a message, "This woman knows the ropes, we'd better get the lead out and expedite this."

  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Email has no protection. The dates can be altered and legally it just isn't enough here.

    Marg, the school CAN accept her testing but will also do their own. They can also refuse to even look at private testing. I encourage private testing because schools here look ONLY at how it affects the child at school, or academically. If the child is a behavior problem they often look to see only how grades are impacted. That way they don't have to address the social/behavioral stuff.

    Seems illogical, doesn't it?
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Nope, It's very logical, especially when you consider they get kudos for justifying less money.

    I do think it is very wrong when the very people you rely on to ensure your child gets the help he needs, are the same people who get rewarded for coming in under budget.

  14. Audrey

    Audrey New Member

    I have a copy of the neuropsychologist evaluation for the school. They won't entertain the idea of an IEP without it and they will use it as part of their evaluation. In the evaluation, he made recommendations for some things to include in the IEP as well. They have to do their own testing, the school psychiatric does that, and she will use the already existing evaluation as a spring board. There has to be an evaluation on school district letterhead in order to get the IEP process going.

    The school district does not have full time TSS, only aides in each school that flit from room to room. Right now difficult child already has one with him for about 30 minutes each morning but that's all they have available. I need to look more closely at what our laws are about what they have to pay for. Right now, according to school and other professionals I've spoken to, I must have him on Medical Assistance to get a TSS paid for by the government. That will be up to me to find.

    The letter is going certified mail today. As much as I think that they will honor one if I drop it off myself, I don't want that to come back and bite me in the butt.
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I have done the personal delivery, but you need to go through a bit of a rigmarole to make sure it's officially entered and this can be a bit confrontaional and is STILL no guarantee that it will be entered in officially. However, what you do is - you front up with two copies of your letter. You get them both stamped with the date received and the school stamp. You then sing both copies yourself andalso get someone official to sign both copiesalso, as recieved. If you really want to make sure, you then get a photocopy of the school's copy and take that copy home with you. Don't take home the photocopy of your own letter.

    You now have original and copy proof that the school has recieved your letter on such-and-such a date, and it was signed for as recieved by a person you know (make sure the name of recipient is also printed).

    I was able to do this at the local school because the office staff understood the need for bureaucracy and didn't feel threatened by this in any way - they understood it would be needed for a possible paper trial, since they had to then send the application further afield and didn't want to risk the school not being able to track their own paper trial, they were happy for me to have my own back-up.

    I did the same thing when I was filing a formal complaint over the school's discipline policy - I wanted to make it clear that I was making this official and would perhaps expect to follow up if i failed to receive a reply.

    Another important point you may need to consider - ask for a reply in writing. You still may not get it - just about all the time, all I ever got was a phone call (often abusive) and tey would never put what they said to me, down in writing. So I always took my own notes, often doing my best to get what they said down exactly (put quote marks around it if you are sure you have them word for word, and keep your own copies on file). As a result, I had little recourse but at least I had my own proof.

    Asking for response in writing is often the fastest way to make it clear that you really mean business, in the politest but most effective way. In a number of cases, I pulled up my computer file containing the letter I sent, and put the minutes of the resulting phone call as an addendum. I put the date, who called and what was said. Then if I have another ongoing file on the topic, I went to it and cross-referenced it to the title of the file I had the detailed notes in. Or duplicated the contents.

    Keeping detailed records is really important. It also helps avoid reinventing the wheel.

    Another important point - whatever you get told is the way it is always done, is not always the right way. You may be the first to rock a particular boat, in which case - go in gently but firmly. Often people don't know any better, because someone higher up has decreed that this is how it's done and it's amazing how many people take what they're told, at face value.

    I just went back and checked my files over a particularly problematic issue - my initial letter (which was faxed, in this case) was responded to in a series of phone calls and eventually face-to-face meetings, but the problem was never fully esolved. The letter rins for two pges. The rough notes of the ongoing communications, including where I was able to quote some people (they talked slowly enough for me to take down their words!) run for another six pages. I've taken it to the final outcome - I stopped hassling because I removed him from face-to-face teaching and enrolled him in correspondence. But the problem was not only not resolved, what I had uncovered showed gross neglicence, considerable (and increasng) rear end covering at the expense of truth and the child's needs and eventually, a lot of lies. I did not take action any further, but when I write te book about what happened, it's all going in. If te system has improved by then, then this will show just how much it has improved and why it had to change. I was also able to note (in my notes) that the school staff temselves were very supportive and were also being thrown under the bus - the problems we had were with the higher-up support staff and the district policies which were at odds with the law.

    So know the law, but be aware it may not be followed as it should be in your area.

    If you find yourself starting a fight, be prepared to have to keep going. So dot your i's, cross your t's, and have courage. Keep the best paper trail you can.