ARCHIVED Q & As on Topics A – K
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Accommodations: MY STUDENTS NEED ACCOMMODATIONS FOR ADHD
Mari: I’m a regular ed teacher. I have two students that need accommodations for ADHD. In both cases, the parents have been told by physicians that their child has ADHD, but because they didn’t want to medicate, nothing was put in writing. My district refuses to put them on a 504 plan until the parents bring in a written doctor diagnosis. I have been very firm with the Special Ed Director in insisting that it is our job to determine their disability. Meanwhile the year is ticking away and these kids will leave me and be out of my reach. My district would very much like to fire me. Am I right or are they right? My parents are unable to afford a trip to the doctor and I don’t think they should have to. Help!
Morning: Mari, I want to applaud you for being such a strong advocate for students. I know of many students with ADHD who are not on medication with documentationn from their doctors. What can you do for these kids? I would encourage you to educate the parents on how to navigate the school system and refer the parents to state resources to help them. Many parents that I work with have had great success this way. It does not involve money but it does involve an investment of time by a parent or guardian. Once a parent is empowered with information, they can better advocate for their child. Sometimes, parents are the change agents in this type of scenario. I admire your persistence—
Jennifer: Mari, while I feel your pain, I have never heard of a school being allowed to diagnose ADHD. There surely are some resources that can help these parents obtain the services they need. Teachers can certainly recognize the symptoms, but they cannot diagnose. Willingness or unwillingness to medicate should not stop the diagnosis from happening. Maybe they need a different doctor.
Accommodations: SCHOOL OFFERS UNOFFICIAL ACCOMMODATIONS, NO 504
Mary: My 16 year old son has Aspergers, ADD, Anxiety, and Depression. His school does not want him to have a 504 because he he gets good grades even though they have made unofficial accommodations; whereas we and his health providers believe we should make those accommodations official (such as reduced workload when overwhelmed and flexible scheduling). It sounds like they are going to refuse us, what are our options?
Sandy: Good grades are NO reason to deny a 504, especially when accommodations are already being offered. Push for the official 504-tell them you want it for use with ACT/SAT, college, etc. (so they feel less defensive). If they refuse, you can request a special education evaluation under IDEA and 504, which will take them more time and effort than simply giving you a 504. Hope this helps!
Accommodations: ACCOMMODATION NOT PUT IN IEP
Suzanne: We made a decision as to an accommodation during an IEP meeting and it was not included in the IEP that was printed and sent to me.Whatever do I do????
Jennifer: As a parent, I would ask for another meeting to clear it up.
Accommodations: GRADING FOR RSP STUDENTS – NO HIGHER THAN C
Paul: I have been told by a teacher that in her classes, RSP students who have accommodations can’t get higher than a C grade. I’m told it is because the other students don’t get these accommodations, so a C grade is fair.
I think this is wrong, but can’t find any info to support my view.
Chuck: I believe that this would be considered discrimination under Section 504 by the Office of Civil Rights who enforces that law.
Accommodations: ARD ACCOMODATION: TWO OF SON’S TEACHERS SAY THEY CANNOT PROVIDE UNIT CALENDAR OR ASSIGNMENT INFORMATION
Tamyron: Son is 9th grade high school student w/ADHD, high function Aspergers- when he was in Middle School & below, accomodation of “provide advance notice of major assignments and tests.” Until now, didn’t realize this needed clarification-teachers always communicated with me, unit calendars always in print or online. Now, in 9th grade, two teachers are stating that the changing nature of their curriculum doesn’t allow for them to create a unit, or even semester, calendar- they say things like, “we write everything on the board, all your son has to do is copy it down.” I have absolutely no way to support, help organize, or even know what he’s studying. Can they refuse to give a class assignment or semester calendar like this?
Chuck: Tamyron, it is not uncommon for MS & HS teachers to find reasons for not following accommodations. If the campus principal(s) understand the accommodation & agree that it can be implemented, then they could direct the teachers to do so without an ARD/IEP meeting. I would suggest starting with the principal. If that does not help, request an ARD/IEP meeting. I work for the TX Parent Training & Information Project & we can assist you. The main office # is 800-866-4726 & http://www.partnerstx.org/
Accommodations: ALLERGY TABLE
Jill: We have several students with severe food allergies at our school. They carry epi pens to lunch with them. There are designated tables (No Peanut Table, No Dairy Table, etc) Other children may sit there, as long as their lunch does not have the specific food. The teachers at lunch (myself included) specifically check the lunches at these tables to make sure they are safe. (Also-there are about 160 kids at lunch and 2 adults on duty and I work in a K-4 building)
This year, we have had several parents request that their child, with severe food allergies, not sit at the designated tables. They do not want the child to “feel different”. So, if the child sits where they want, at the parents’ request, and has an allergic reaction, who is liable-the parents or the school?
Patty: Are you certain these parents (that don’t want the kids at the “allergy table” are the parents of the kids with the severe allergies? My child only has intolerance, so I might be inclined to be like one of these moms. If they are severe, moms and kids might benefit by knowing that other kids would be more angry if they couldn’t bring a food because of another child’s allergy.
Accommodations: EXTENDED TIME ACCOMMODATION
Susan: My daughter attends a private school and was independently evaluated in 7th grade for ADHD and a math learning disorder. After her evaluation she began taking Vyvance and has received (1 1/2) extended time on tests and PSAT. The school requires re-evaluation every 3 years and she was recently evaluated by the same independent psychologist.
This time the psychologist informed us that because she “did so well” academically and on her evaluation she would probably lose the extended time accommodation. My child cannot finish her math and science tests without the extended time due to her visual processing disability. She is bright and studies hard but cannot work faster. What is the rationale behind denying extended time if she makes good grades (B’s in math and science)? What rights do we have?
K.Ball: Susan, you should explain that the only reason she did so well was because of the extended time. A re-eval should encompass more than just the psych eval, it should also take into consideration parent, teacher and student input.
Accommodations: MODIFIED FINAL EXAM REVIEW
Patricia: My daughter’s 10th grade World Geography teacher posted a 1st semester exam review with 140 questions on his website. I think he should he also be posting a modified exam review (with fewer questions) for those students taking a modified version of the exam. Is there any policy or law that supports my thoughts? I sent him an email asking if he was planning to do so. What should I do if he refuses to do so? Thank you.
K.Ball: Patricia, no the teacher does not need to modify the test only because your child is taking a modified state test. The modifications/accommodations page of your child’s IEP is what would determine whether or not the modified test needs to be provided. Also, remember that the goal of SPED is to get the student’s back to gen ed, not keep them in SPED forever.
Accommodations: TESTS ADMINISTERED ONE PAGE AT A TIME
Kendra: My ADHD high schooler has an IEP and gets extended time on tests. The teachers give her the tests one page at a time in case she needs to use the extended time. This is embarrassing to her. It really does not seem right to me.
SharonL: Kendra, my children also got extended time but got the test all at once. In college my son takes his math tests over a 2 day period because of the stress level. It has helped reduce his stress but the test is not delivered one page at at time.
That does sound ridiculous.
Morning: The first place, if you have not already done so, is sit down with your child and role play a discussion with the teacher about her concerns and suggested ideas. This promotes self advocacy. She must go in with a plan with alternative solutions which are comfortable for her. I know teachers who use the one page at a time but if it is not working for your daughter have her work with the teacher or you can talk to the teacher as long as you have alternatives to bring to the table. Seems like the teacher is trying. Sometimes, it is simply just a conversation.
ASDmom: Send e-mail to teacher that this is embarrassing and causing undue stress/anxiety. Go up the chain of command if needed. Recently dealt with similar issue – teacher ignored request to stop embarrassing child (she knew better) then backpeddled in the end.
Accommodations: ACCOMMODATIONS ON HIGH ABILITY TESTS?
Tracy: My son receives time and a half on all tests as an accommodation in his IEP. He has dyslexia and needs the extra time to successfully show what he knows. He has an above average IQ and does great in math. He is taking the CogAT test to determine if he qualifies for a high ability class next year. Does his school have to give him time and a half on the CogAT since that is an accommodation in his IEP? Or because it’s a high ability test can they chose to not allow any accommodations?
SharonL: Tracy, my children got any accommodations that were listed in the IEP on ANY test they took. After all the disability does not go away on certain tests therefore they needed the accommodations on every test.
Accommodations: SPED TEACHER OUT – NO SERVICES OR ACCOMMODATIONS
Shevon: I am having difficulties with my daughters school. She has an IEP for SLD where she receives services for Reading, Math, and Writing. She should be getting 10 hrs of small group, 5 hrs collab, and 5 hrs support (para). Her Spec ed teacher has been out for the past 3 weeks and she has not received proper accommodations. I have spoken with the gen ed teachers as well as sent a follow-up email to the Spec ed dept chair advising of my concerns. Her grades are reflecting the lack of services and accommodations. I have tried to speak with the teachers and was advised they didn’t have time to follow all accommodations and was not getting the support from the other teachers. What can I do to ensure my daughter gets what she needs to be successful, especially with her being in the fifth grade and preparing for CRCT. Please help!
Sandy: Have them put in writing that the teachers do not have the time to provide the accommodations, and then file a state complaint for non-implementation of the IEP. Or at least let them know that’s what you intend to do unless IEP services start immediately, with compensatory education time for the time your child lost. Just my advice. Hope it helps!
Accommodations: MODIFICATIONS OR ACCOMMODATIONS?
TJ: Our daughter is dyslexic, in a public school, with an IEP, doing extremely well. We were very aggressive with the accommodations in her IEP in middle school to ensure we were prepared in advance for her HS transition. She is now 3 weeks into 9th grade and the school is sharing that they feel some of her accommodations are modifications rather than accommodations. I disagree – I spent a lot of time with the middle school counselor that I felt really did work on our behalf to ensure this was all in place. How do I verify the difference between an accommodation that will not hinder her diploma and college entrance chances and modifications that will hurt her in the long run. To provide an example: her IEP says that when spelling is not the focus of the test or quiz, there needs to be a word bank for her to work use for fill in the blanks.
SharonL: TJ, it sounds like your IEP is right on track. You can request that they put their concerns in writing to make it clearer. Otherwise the IEP will stand until someone makes a change and they cannot do that without your involvement and consent unless they want to go to due process.
Accommodations: SCHOOL WON’T ALLOW NURSES – TX
Shay: I am the mother of twin, pre k boys in special education pre k program. The boys have 24/7 nursing services but the school will not allow their nurse to accompany them to school. Do you know of a district in Texas that has allowed this? Looking for the written policies/procedures they may have in place as examples to share at ARD.
Chuck: Shay, I know that there are schools that allow this, but am not sure which specific schools. I suggest that you go to the Partners Resource Network website (the TX Parent Training & Information Center), http://www.partnerstx.org Find the Regional Coordinator for the Region that you live in. They should be able to help you. Someone in the spec. ed. dept. of the ESC that serves your area might also be able to help you. If you have difficulty getting help, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org & I will try to assist you.
Accommodations: SAFETY – SCHOOL REFUSES TO HAVE CHILD’S NURSE AT SCHOOL FOR MEAL TIME
Kathy: I have a 4-yr old grandson who has 40 hour per week nursing due to G-tube, lung weakness, etc. He has started trying to eat and chokes very frequently. The public school will not allow him to have his nurse with him at school. We are only asking for her to be there shortly before noon to be sure he doesn’t choke during meal time. Is there anything legally that says they must allow him to have his nurse in his special ed class?
Miranda: Kathy, perhaps your grandson’s doctor could attend an IEP meeting to speak to district personnel about his health, eating, and safety needs.
Also, perhaps the doctor could write a prescription for the nurse to be present. Also, ask district personnel to put in writing their rationale for refusing this service that presents no cost to them and provides a safety measure for your grandson’s well-being.
Accommodations: ACCOMMODATIONS IN COLLEGE
Rebecca: My brother has on ongoing informal grievance with his State College for failure to accommodate appropriately, professor error not providing extended time.
He requested that I participate in a meeting with a school official, that is a required part of the process. I am his support person so I would participate by phone, since I live in a different state.
The college refused to allow me to participate by phone. Is there a part of the OCR 504 code that can help me convince them they should allow me to participate? thanks!
Chuck: Rebecca, I do not believe that Section 504 rules address this. I imagine that the college’s issue is over confidentiality. If your brother gives them a signed consent to allow you to hear information discussed, you should be allowed to do so. If they refuse to agree, your brother should push for a written answer on why they are refusing. Their reasons for refusing could be the basis for a complaint to OCR.
Advocacy: SCHOOL WON’T MEET WITH ME IF I BRING SOMEONE WITH ME
Patty: I asked the district for review of my Type 1 Diabetic son’s 504 process. Review is conducted and district has offered to meet with me–if I DON’T bring anyone with me. So it will be 3 district reps and just me. I already have had a hard time dealing with the district–never told of 504 plans during 1st year of diagnosis, denied a 504 process when first requested one, some items still not allowed on plan like after school activities. What can I do to get the results of the review–but not go to what I think will be an unfair meeting?
Sharon: Patty, You have every right to bring someone with you to any meeting at the school. Check with the board office on the policy on how to do that. Maybe they want you to have the person sign in or fill out something but there should be a way for people to join you in meetings. If they refuse again ask them to put their refusal in writing. I bet they will not do that. Remember there is an IEP called OHI (other health impaired) IEP. You can get the information from the board office on how to have your child possibly qualify for that. This way your child can be on a real IEP.
Advocacy: ADVOCATE / SCHOOL RELATIONSHIP
Karen: As a teacher, how do I handle a proclaimed advocate who continually sabotages the school’s effort to provide services for students? They are the ultimate loser when the system becomes a target of wrath.
Morning: Such is also an education for fhe parents who have hired an advocate who is “over the top and sabotages.” In such cases, the advocate gets paid leaving the parents to deal with a broken relationship with the school district. All adults should focus on the child, regardless!!!!! Hopefully, the parents “wake up” and realizes that wonderful relationships are being broken with a paid advocate who does not understand collaboration. Most advocates do not act like this. In many cases, the parents are “holding the bag.” Parents, know the law for yourself and carefully make it clear to advocates that it is about the child and collaboration. More, the advocate is working for you and sometimes you have to give them their walking papers. I consider such unethical type of behavior.
Advocacy: HOW CAN I HELP TEACHER UNDERSTAND AND TEACH MY CHILD?
Karen: My child is in 3rd grade. He has an IEP. His IEP includes goals to help with creative writing and help with organizational issues. On testing, he appears to have significant learning problems. His short term memory is poor and he does not score well. I am having trouble with the school because they pull his cards for behavior because he is not listening they call it. Maybe it appears like he was, but he was tuned in to something else.
With my older child, they would use her name while they were teaching, and walk by and tap her. Do those things still work? How can I gently talk to the teacher about punishing him for not listening. I don’t feel like she gets him. He does not remember her telling him things. Frustrated.
SharonL: Karen, I had those accommodations put into my son’s IEP. This way the teachers have to do it.
Advocacy: SCHOOL REFUSES TO ANSWER QUESTIONS
Miriam: The school district refuses to answer the following questions:
1. We want to be explicitly told what the ASL interpreter’s hours of service provision are for our son. What time does she start interpreting for our son and what time does she stop interpreting for him each day during the regular school year?
2. Describe the plan school staff have developed for coverage regarding staff in the classroom when multiple needs arise
3. On only 1 out of the 8 goals in our son’s current IEP rough draft indicates that it will be addressed during ESY. Is that true? Yet, we were led to believe during IEP verbal discussion that ALL goals would be addressed during ESY.
4. Please provide the names of all individuals who will be providing interpreting services for all periods of the day as well as their qualifications.
What should we do?
Sharon L.: Miriam, if the school refuses anything they MUST send you a prior written notice letter explaining why. In the past when I have reminded them of this sometimes they will get the information we need as they do not want to write things down. Sometimes it was not big deal to write the letter. I have received many PWN letters. It allows you to take the next step to get what your child deserves hopefully more discussion.
Miriam: Thank you, Sharon, that’s a big help!
Advocacy: WHEN DO WE NEED A LAWYER?
Sara: When do we need a lawyer? The school seems more interested in finding an excuse to kick our son out for his academic failure and truancy than they are in implementing or changing his IEP. I have asked many times to schedule a formal IEP meeting by email not by printed letter. Does this qualify as “in writing”? In any case, they haven’t responded to that request.
Chuck: I suggest that you read & follow the suggestions in today’s blog item. Also learn what the state rules are regarding requests for IEP meetings. In TX schools must agree to requests or ask the state to set up mediation. If you have not done so, send a letter or email to the special ed director. You can ask your state Parent Training & Information Center (PTI) for assistance. This website has a listing of the PTIs for each state.
Advocacy: NEED A BETTER ADVOCATE/SCHOOL RELATIONSHIP
Peggy: How can a school support a child whose parents have teamed with an advocate who is not following any of your guidelines for a positive advocate/school relationship? This advocate started calling the district office asking for information about the student. We had no release from the parent and did not know who this person was. Her requests were unclear. The district office contacted the school and suggested we call the advocate. I contacted the parents and sent them a release. The advocate has misstated laws to the parents and told them not to talk to us. We set up requested meetings and she cancelled the first two at the last minute for personal reasons. She is requesting an IEE before testing began. Now she is requesting a full eval knowing that school is out in a few days. We said yes. How do we get a win-win here?
Morning: I am speaking from several reference points–as a parent who hired a advocate for six months and as a parent who has attended PPTs with parents to offer support.
1. I hired an advocate because my child’s rights were violated under IDEA. Instead of hiring lawyer and making a complaint to the state, we chose to collaborate with school system. It was a great success. I wish I did not have to hire, but some school districs aren’t following IDEA and they know it. Parents feel bamboozled.
What you can do? Follow the IEP, IDEA, etc. and ensure that the staff is implementing services with fidelity. Make sure that the child is happy at school. Think about why the parent hired the advocate. Sometimes, it is a teacher who refuses to accommodate, no progress, failed FAPE, etc.
Advocacy: SCHOOL NURSE WANTS TO BE AN ADVOCATE
Allie: I would like to participate in a particular student’s ARD/IEP meeting. I have to administer meds to this student and provide additional services on a daily basis. The school diagnostician has told me “the district is your priority” and not suggest any services that may help the child. The diagnostician has also told me that it is a violation of FERPA for me to attend the ARD meetings, except for 2-3 minutes at the beginning. Is this fact? or am I being strong-armed to save the school money?
Chuck: Since you address needs of the child, you have a right to attend the meeting. I am not aware of why it would be a violation of FERPA for you to attend for all or most of the meeting. You can ask where in district policies or FERPA rules that it addresses what you were told. TX rules say that school nurses are to develop health plans for all children & to present it at an IEP/ARD meeting for those with a disability. I work for the TX federally funded PTI & can provide you with additional info, email@example.com
Aides: HOW TO GET 1:1 FOR MY SON
Paula: Obtaining services for my 8 yr old son diagnosed w/ PDD post chemo treatment 5 yrs ago was a nightmare. I have had to armor myself w/ facts prior to each mtg & this yrs mtg is this Wed. I am thinking of having him placed FROM a sp ed rm w/ 4 staff to an inclussion class. His biggest challenge to date are social/emotional. That being said, he will not benafit from this move w/out a 1:1 aid. How do I request this move & justify the 1:1? I was told the school only provides a 1:1 when it is a safety concern. He is not a runner but when in the halls & if a fire alarm went off he would not know what to do. He would panic & instinctively run to his familiar class rm. & not the nearest exit. He is hyper sensative when things go “wrong” in his mind & has trouble focusing on tasks w/out help. Does he qualify for a 1:1 in an inclusion class?
Chuck: On the Wrightslaw home page do a search for “One to One Aide” and you will find an article on this by Wayne Steedman.
Aides: ARE THERE QUALIFICATIONS FOR PARAEDUCATOR?
Elisabeth: I believe my student’s case manager has certification for special education – will double check that; however I am certain that the para educators have no qualifications or certifications to teaching my special ed student. These instructional assistants teach my student during the entire school day. Can a student on an IEP receive all their instruction by non-certified/licensed personnel?
Chuck: The NCLB law sets qualifications for paraprofessionals. States typically have state rules that they encorporate with the federal rules. Paraprofessionals working with students should be operating under the direction of certified teachers. The rules may also say that they can not introduce or teach new material or skills, just reinforce material introduced or taught by the teacher.
Check your state education website and/or check with your state parent training & information center for the rules in your state.
Elisabeth: Dear Chuck and Wrightslaw, thanks for your response to my recent question. After looking at my student’s school schedule, it appears that all of his learning is done with various para educators and only his speech/communication time is with an SLPA. None of his day is spent with an actual teacher. I will share my new knowledge about qualifications for Para Educators and also share my concerns that none of his time at school is spent with a special education teacher. Many thanks
Aides: MALE PARAPROS & FEMALE STUDENTS
Rebecca: Can you comment on what questions should be asked by parents of a female student, when the parapro is male? Parents want to make sure that the female student remains safe and that her modesty is protected.
Wrightslaw: Rebecca, you should read Pat Howey’s article on Male Aides for Female Students. Not sure of the details about the specific female student, but this article will provide some talking points for the parents. You will see how creating sensible goals, objectives, and benchmarks in the IEP can help the parent/school team focus on specific concerns and address practical issues, including modesty and safety. http://www.wrightslaw.com/howey/malepara.hygiene.htm
Aides: SCHOOL NOT PROVIDING AIDE LISTED IN IEP
gurdy: I live in Ohio and my son has an IEP. In the IEP he has a one to one aide. I’ve learned that they are sharing his aide with another student and the aide told my son that she can no longer help him because she is this other child’s aide. We have not had a meeting to get rid of the aide. Can they share his aide and not allow her to help my child who she was originally hired for?
My son has a field trip coming up and I was told that his father or myself had to go on the field trip because his aide will not be able to be with him because she will be in charge of giving medications out to the children for that day who take them during school hours. His father and I may not be able to go with our son. Can they not provide my son an aide and deny him the right to go on the field trip?
SharonL: gurdy, be sure to check the exact wording in the IEP. Sometimes it sounds one way & can be looked at other ways. I am also in Ohio & I normally get a DRAFT copy of the IEP before the meeting & after just to be sure it reads exactly like I think it should. One time I thought my son was supposed to have a 1:1 aide but it really was not written that way. We reconvened theIEP meeting & had it changed. If you have checked the IEP & it really says 1:1 aide they cannot do what they are doing so you will have to meet with them to discuss & take necessary steps to get it accomplished if necessary.
Morning: From what I have been told, some school do not include 1-1aides on IEPs due to budget issues,, etc. I worked as an aide for two students who had 1-1aides listed on their IEPs. The parents were never informed. The poor classroom teacher hand’s were tied and we made due to the end of the year. I would advise parents to stress the indivdual needs of the child in order to justify having an aide as opposed to “my child needs a 1-1 aide.” I do believe that the kids I worked with needed their own aides but the parents did not have a clue. Their programs were not being fully implemented. You may want to review with staff on how his IEP program is being implemented with fidelity with or without an aide. Aides have to be careful as they can lose their jobs or be put in difficult situations.
Yve: I am commenting on the portion of your inquiry that asks about your child wanting to attend an activity but cannot. Your child’s school must provide FAPE, so anything the general population is getting is what should be offered to your child. If your child needs support off-campus, especially for an event during school hours with educational benefit, it is their responsibility to provide the support, not yours. They also cannot require you attend unless they have asked the same of the other students. See Wrightslaw Special Ed Law 2nd Edition, look up FAPE and extra-curricular activities.
Aides: KEEP SAME PARA DURING TRANSITION
Paula: Our daughter is being transitioned to a new school. What type of wording or phrasing can we use to emphasize the importance of her current para moving with her. She is mostly nonverbal and we are fearful of her moving to the new school with no one familiar with her and her communication methods. Transitions are so challenging for her and we feel like this consistency of staff is the only crutch they can provide to help ease the difficulty. No one in the new school will know her at all.
SharonL: Paula, transition is critical. It would be great if they can keep the same person however I am not sure they are legally obligated to do so. If they will not keep the same Para perhaps a transition can begin from one para to a new one well in advance of the move so your daughter can adjust to a new person before the move. I know this may be tough but what if the para got ill or moved you would be in the same situation. At least get the school to agree to some kind of transition. That is a must.
Aides: PARAPROFESSIONAL DUTIES
Lee: I’m an “Instructional Assistant” for an NJ district. I have K-5 and TSWD certification, but my contract stipulates I do not work under certification. I assist a classroom teacher to carry out the IEPs of 4-6 classified students, and supervise students during lunch/recess.
My concern: All assistants’ hours were cut from 32 hrs/wk to 28 hrs/wk so we are not eligible health ins.benefits, As we are required to do lunch duty, this takes us out of the classroom for 45 minutes of the students’ instructional time. Previously, we had a 30-minute paid break, but most of us rarely use this due to the many different needs of the students. Can a district that uses Federal special education funding use instructional assistants for lunch duty at the expense of academic time – and ensure that we are not eligible for health insurance benefits?
Sophie: Lee, the part of your question dealing with cut hours is not something I can address. As a special education administrator in the Midwest, when I found out a paraprofessional was being pulled out of instructional duties, I always called the principal to ask which regular education salary fund they wanted to use to fund their 1/8th (or whatever part of the day) to pay the aide. Every single principal decided to return the paraprofessional to their instructional duties. Sorry I can’t be of any other help.
Assistive Technology: SCHOOL WON’T SEND AT DEVICE HOME WITHOUT WAIVER
Tiffany: I am an advocate. I am working with a family, the child is non-verbal and school is using an augmentative communication device at school. The parents requested the device be sent home, the school agreed to send it home and it was written in the IEP. The school is now requiring the parent to sign a waiver before the device can go home stating that they take full financial responsibility if anything happens to the device once it leaves the school building? Is this legal?
Chuck: Recently a court ruled that it is legal for a school to do this. Whether this ruling applies to all areas of the country, I do not know. School attorneys will certainly argue that it does.
Assistive Technology: NEED ASSISTIVE TECH (AT) GOALS
Denise: I want to make sure that my student with quadriplegic CP receives the AT he needs to meet his goals, as he has not received any AT in the past. Do I need to add a statement to each goal stating that “the student will need AT appropriate to his needs to help him work on this goal”?
Chuck: Denise, IDEA regs say schools “must ensure that assistive technology devices or services, or both..are made available to a child with a disability if required…” 300.105 After reading the complete section, I suggest a written request for an IEP meeting to discuss your child’s needs for AT devices & services in order to receive FAPE.
Attorneys: SCHOOL ATTORNEY AT IEP
Supermommy: I have a few concerns: 1) the district has their compliance officer (a lawyer) attend the IEP meetings. I have never had a lawyer and feel that her presence is to intimidate the team into not making the proper decisions for my 5 year old w/ ASD. Can they legally have her attend? Can I request her not to be there, and if so, will they comply? 2) It was in the IEP that toileting should have been done in the summer program. It was not. I have not been told why, as no one seems to want to take responsibility. My son was toileted at home in the summer and made progress. He began to lose this skill at school because of no one working with him. After 3 months, they are beginning to work with him, but nothing is in the iEP. His 3 year is in Jan. 2012. Thanks for your help!!!!!
Mindy: Dear Supermommy, I was an aide who worked with kids and toilet traing. First, it takes a 1-1 aide assigned to that student as toilet training may involve, initially, several trips to the bathroom in one day. Also, I, for the documentation requested but the parent, documented the successes and the misses. It took time and my 1-1 focus with that child and not serving as a classroom para. The OT was very helpful. The best approach to this may be is to ask the team how can you support their efforts in consistent toilet training and bring a data sheet to give them guidance for documentation. My focus was to insure the success of the child.
Supermommy: Thanks for your reply, Mindy, very helpful info. I have just met with the super and sped director regarding this and other issues. If anyone can address my other concern re: the lawyer’s presence at IEP meetings, I would sincerely appreciate it.
Behavior: INAPPROPRIATE TIMEOUT?
Wendy: I went to my 9 yr. olds school today, to pick her up. I was outside her computer class when i saw her on the floor with her aide standing near her. She was in a time out for throwing her headset instead of placing them on the table. Hayley is cog. impaired, VI and autistic. This floor was hard, DIRTY from kids walking all over it all day. There was carpeting in 3/4 of the classroom, Hayley was put on the hard floor. I watched, didn’t say anything but asked the aide to please wash Hayley’s hands after being on a dirty floor. This is so upsetting. Time outs are listed in her behavioral plan. I have no problem with the time outs, I have a problem with her being degraded to sit on a dirty floor, while the other students were at the computers. Please advise me what I can do to remedy this. Thank you.
Morning: I would call a PPT and put your request in writing. I would also document your observations to the teacher, principal and special education supervisor. You need to know what time out is and what will it look like for your child? Is she sitting in a desk for time-out? Is she ever put in time-out during lunch –if so what does that look like? The PPT meeting should create better clarification on this matter. What are the laws in your state concerning restraint and seclusion? I would bring someone into that PPT meeting with you as the district needs to explain the parafrofessional’s actions as it creates liability for the district. Since there is a behavioral component, is data being collected to figure out the antecedents to her behavior and a plan for consequences and positive behavior support?
Behavior: NO HELP FOR BEHAVIOR PROBLEM
Latisha: How would you deal with an elementary school that doesn’t want to do a section 504 on a child at the parent(s) request? That school would rather send a child with behavior problems to an alternative school. The school my daughter is in knows she has behavior problems and doesn’t seem to want to help her have a productive year.
Sandy: Latisha, your child has the right to be educated in the LRE (least restrictive environment). That is usually the home school unless EVEN WITH appropriate supports this cannot be done. Your school must try to help her in the home school first. Request in writing a special education evaluation (under IDEA and 504), include consent for them to begin the evals (complete their consent form ASAP if they require you to), and then the school timeline to evaluate begins (usually 60 days or 60 school days, depending on state). You can learn more about LRE on Wrightslaw or through your state resources – good luck.
Behavior: ADHD – BEHAVIOR ISSUES
Meisha: Need help with a 5 yr old ADHD child. My son has had several write ups. He has also been put out of school and had in school suspension. He is on medication but he’s still being bad. What else can I do?
Chuck: If your child is not currently receiving special ed services, you can make a written request for testing. A 5 year old being put out of school & in in-school suspension should be a red flag for the school that they need to be doing more for him. You can request that a functional behavior assessment (FBA) be part of the testing. You can read on this website about FBAs & behavior improvement plans.
Jennifer: I found the Wrightslaw website by stumbling onto this article. I routinely share it with parents.
Behavior: BEHAVIOR ON BUS TRANSPORTATION
Bobbie: I am transporting my son from school daily because of behaviors on the bus. The school will not provide para support on the bus. They called and asked if my son can ride the bus again because the student he was having problems with is no longer riding the bus. Am I able to continue transporting my son or do I have to put him back on the bus per the schools request?
Morning: I have seen schools mix kids with severe behavioral issues on the same small yellow bus with speical education kids who are in wheelchairs, some who are non verbal and some who end up copying the behavior, They do this to save money and I have seen it occur more and more–especially as the kids get older and in bigger cities. But, the schools I know all have paras on those buses to monitor the behaviors. A parent needs to know if there are kids on the bus who may cause harm or have severe tendencies that are problematic. You can always ask a lot of questions and document. In one case, the school district had a bus do an extra route as the mom complained that the kids with severe behavioral issues were a bad example to her child..the school complied and her child had a bus mostly to himself.
Behavior: VERBAL BEHAVIOR PROGRAM REMOVED FROM MY SON’S IEP
Alisha: My son has autism and had a specific VB (verbal behavior) program – a type of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy written into his official IEP last year. The school failed to implement the VB program and on his new IEP for this year are now saying that he does not need the program – removing all mention of it. My understanding is that if the school fails to implement the program, then the school system is required to pay for the program elsewhere. Am I correct? Any help would be appreciated!
SharonL: Alisha, DO NOT SIGN THE IEP. If the school cannot provide the services on the IEP they cannot just say “Sorry we don’t have it so we will just eliminate it or tell the parent he is fine now”. The school tried to do this to us. They tried for years to teach my son who has dyslexia to read and then came to us in an IEP meeting & told us they did not know what to do. They gave me the impression he could not be taught. Not the case. We found a reading tutor near us through the IDA web site (International Dyslexic Assoc.) . We proved through testing that the school was failing my son & they agreed to pay this outside tutor. They paid her for 5 years & my son went from pre-primer reading in 8th grade to 10th grade reading when he was 19. Alphabetic phonics was the program that worked.
Behavior: EXPLOSIVE BEHAVIOR ISSUES – NEED HELP!
Maria: Hello, Is there anyone out there who wouldn’t mind helping me? I will be enrolling my son back into school in August. He has explosive behavior issues from frustration to being pushed to do something,he doesn’t want to do. He can’t go back to school,without something in place once he starts,else it would end up like it did the first few months last year before I took him back out again. Is there any one that can help me???
Sandy: Hi, Maria! It sounds like you need a special ed advocate or attorney ASAP. I would Google your state’s “parent training information center” and/or “protection & advocacy agency” to get started. They offer free help, and you may also decide to hire someone to help you. Behavior issues can be complex and the stakes are high – good luck to you!
Behavior: SHOULD MY SON BE “PUSHED”
Maria: My son has issues with frustration and taking the time to reasonably figure things out. He usually goes on impulse when highly frustrated. Writing is also a weakness. In his reccommendations it stated to use limited writing assignments and even oral,Dragon software. This was dismissed at IEP meeting last year and I was told,he is in high school he is going to have to write,he just doesn’t want to do it. Forcing my son to do work when he is frustrated made for a lot of preventable behavior problems. Any ideas on how I can prevent the same things occurring this school term?
Texas Mom: If your son has problems writing then he needs to have that addressed in his IEP and the problem address properly.. My son who has dsypraxia, and in honor classes, is able to type anything longer than 3 sentences. He uses a regular laptop that the school provides to all students in his high school. Most the work all the teens do is online or on the computer anyway. Pushing him is not the answer if it affects his behavior and he becomes frustrated due to a disability. I would put my concerns in a letter and cc that to yourself as well as the principal and teachers. I would request an ARD meeting to address this issue. As his advocate, I would offer to buy the program if the school wouldn’t as it would really benefit him at home also.
Braille: CAN A SCHOOL FORCE BRAILLE OR REMOVE A CHILD FROM SCHOOL
Sonia: I just had an IEP for my 8yr daughter that has cone dsytrophy. Her doctor said we should wait (for her next appt.in may) before we look into braille, since we are not sure she will need it. (he wants to see if her vision is getting worse or if its at a stand still. Her VI teacher keeps pushing braille on us. Even though we keep saying no. Can THEY make her take it? Also they want to take her out of a regular class setting and place her in the visually impaired class room? Before we had a name for her vision loss. We took her to a low vision optometrist who said she would benefit from vision therapy but the school keeps saying they don’t cover it. How can I get them to cover it, the assessment the doctor did is now over 1 yr old.
Sharon: Sonia, Cone Dystrophy is a disorder that affects structures within the eyes. Vision therapy deals with the muscles of the eyes. There are some funded programs that school districts participate in regarding VT. You can contact your local optimetric school to find out it they participate in such a program and whether they have ever been reimbursed through the school district. I am a big fan of VT, but It is unlikely that VT will help your daughter recover vision given her diagnosis. Has the school ordered large print texts for her? That is an accommodation that she is entitled to under IDEA. It is certainly a step that should be tried before resorting to Braille.
You should also request a desk top magnifier that sits on a stand and can be placed over work. It will help your daughter with printed material that is not available in large print. Sheets that the teacher prepares should be enlarged on a copy machine.
Bullying: BULLYING INFORMATION
Roberto: I am a police officer for the Yuma Police Department. I am a member of the School Safety Unit. I teach the G.R.E.A.T. Program, which is a life skill program for the student. I want to get as much information on Bullying as possible. Thank you
Wrightslaw: Roberto, more resources for you.
more from the Wrightslaw Way Blog: http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?cat=528
Alice: What is CAPD?
Melissa: Central Auditory Processing Disorder
Classification: CAN SCHOOL CHANGE LABEL?
Melinda: Does a school or school district have the right to change the child’s label on the IEP from “Specific Learning Disability” (across the board) to “Intellectual Disability”? Does this decision have to be made by qualified Medical personnel?
The school told me that child will get the same services listed on the IEP. If that is true, why change the child’s “Label”?
How should I, as a parent, respond to this? I also refused to sign the NEW IEP after the recent 3 year re-evaluation. What happens now??
Melissa: Melinda, they can change the label, and you can disagree. Some, but not all, states require a parent to sign the IEP when it is completed.
Write a letter explaining your disagreement and ask them for Prior Written Notice (more info here on Wrightslaw about PWN). Also, request an independent educational evaluation (IEE) and find a qualified evaluator who specializes in complex children.
Take action now. Call your state’s parent support group (Wrightslaw yellow pages for kids should have them listed) and get their assistance.
My child’s school did the same thing, and I bought their “doesn’t change the needs” story. The change of disability label changed everything, and my child’s education has suffered. We are working to correct their mistake, but it is emotionally and mentally draining. Good luck.
Complaints: US DOE COMPLAINT
Sharebear: Has anyone ever heard of the US DOE losing part of a complaint file? We made a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request and were informed that a huge part of our file was missing and had possibly been shredded! I just thought I would throw that out there to see if anyone else has had this happen to them. Thank you!
4ourchildren: Sharebear, I have not heard about a situation like this, though that does not mean that had not occurred in other occasions to other people. I am deeply sorry for what just happened to you and your family regarding this problem. From the top of my head, there are two things that I think you need at this moment: 1. An attorney with extensive experience in these types of cases (i.e. FOIA requests, complaints, etc.); 2. Write a petition for justice explaining the relevant points in your case, and ask all the people you can to sign this petition (e.g. perhaps setting a goal of collecting 500 signatures) to be sent to your state representative, senators, or any other agency that might handle situations like this. I will be the 1st one signing that petition for your family, though my 1st option will be consulting with a lawyer.
Complaints: SHOULD I FILE COMPLAINT AGAINST PRINCIPAL
Chris: My child has Fragile X, AHD, ODD & Speech Delay. Not returning phone calls, saying I don’t understand gravity of the situation my child hit a teacher on her arm no one can clearly say what happen this as never been a problem with my child, he said teacher has a right to seek medical attention my child is 5 & his 1st concern is the safety of his staff I got a special needs advocate 2 referrals were on my child’s public record principal didn’t want them move to confidential recs we stated we would file a complaint & records were moved my child refuses to go to school, school knows, she as late & 6 absentees I got a letter from state attorneys office I called found out it was sent to them by the school. St atty office doesn’t understand why the letter was sent as disabled kids are a no no
David1: Chris, filing a complaint against the principal will lead to a power struggle at the expense of your child.
I would ask in writing for a copy of any incident report that may have been filed with the Sherrif’s office through the school resource officer.
The report can be amended to include details about your child’s disability. This may seem insignificant but in the event your child is up for expulsion or ends up in court in the future, this information will be valuable to the hearing officer or judge.
It would be to your child’s benefit to request and review a copy of the discipline record that indicates how these incidences are being recorded.
Complaints: TEACHER QUALIFICATIONS – COMPLAINT
Miranda: Over the course of 6 weeks, we have asked in writing that district personnel provide teacher and para qualifications and received nothing. Who do we file a complaint with?
SharonL: Miranda, did you send a reminder letter? They may have lost the original letter. You can call the board office to request this information also. There should be no problem getting this information. I complaint may not be necessary yet until you have exhausted all options to get this information.
Compliance & Implementation: NON-COMPLIANCE/ INTIMIDATION
Carmen: I recently filed a complaint to the state due to the school not in compliance with IEP. He is autistic and both his general ed teacher and aide are not familiar with autism. I found out during a parent teacher conference that the teacher has had my son sitting in class without doing any class assignments and he had not been giving homework or any thing even at my inquiring about this. I had a revised IEP meeting and had to table it because they unanimously lied during the meeting. I told them that we will reconvene with an advocate which is scheduled next week. They are now trying to go back and change and even falsify documentAtion pass the current date. Filling out paperwork today and filing it with previous dates. They also emailed me that the CEO of the school will attend the next meeting. Is this to intimidate me?
SharonL: Carmen, Who cares if the CEO of the school comes to the meeting? I always took a digital tape recorder with me to the meetings and I would let them know ahead of time. I use it to remember what is said so I don’t have to listen, take notes, think and answer all at once. The tape recorder takes the notes for me. I have noticed that people are calmer, nicer, and choose what they say more carefully when there is a tape device. This may help you get better cooperation and you will have a record of the meeting.
Mari: Dear Carmen, If they are falsifying documents, they will slip up and be caught. Be sure to get a complete copy of your child’s sped file and CUM asap. Hopefully you have held onto all the IEP documents you received. It’s pretty easy for state investigators to figure out who did the falsifying.
Here is another strategy: check to see if they are properly training all staff members who come in contact with disabled students. Be discreet. Strike up a conversation with a school staffer in one department, perhaps a bus driver, and casually ask: when was the last time you received training concerning disabled students? Then do the same with a cafeteria worker. Make training, which is required, a priority. Other parents of disabled kids with back you up. The CEO will now be on the hot seat.
Compliance & Implementation: NOT FOLLOWING IEP
mshope: Since September my child has been in a ICT class. My child needs to be in a 12:1:1 – child’s IEP states that’s the right setting. For some reason after the IEP meeting, there is now no room for 12:1:1. What do I do? It states clearly on the IEP that my child is supposed to getting these services.
SharonL: ms hope, You need to request an IEP meeting to discuss the problem. If they do not help you or say they cannot/will not do what the IEP says you may request that they put their refusal in writing as a PRior Written Notice. HOpefully they will want to work with you but if not you have the ability to file a complaint or file due process.
mshope: Thank you Ms. Sharon. My child’s IEP classification was left blank, no classification on it. My child has been in a 12:1:1 classroom since 4th grade. Now in 6th grade, he was placed in an ICT class. The school doctor said they don’t have a 12:1:1 class, but I should not do due process. My son is not doing well or making any progress.
At the IEP meeting, we discussed what setting my child was going to. THE ICT teacher was there. After I denied the ICT program, the school doctor amended my child’s IEP right in front of me. This is the same IEP that stated no classifcation on it. The same IEP that landed my child in the ICT program. Can the doctor do that? I don’t think the doctor should have touched the IEP that stated no classification on it. Should I have my child evaluated for a new IEP?
SharonL: mshope, no one on the team can unilaterally write something on the IEP without the team’s agreement. If they are refusing to work with you ask for a prior written notice. They must provide it or continue to work with you. Do you have a professional that can help? That has helped us in the past. You will probably have to pay for their time though but it is worth it.
Yes you can request another test if it has been longer than one year. Remember you must sign the school’s request form or the time of 60 days does not start for them.
Wrightslaw: mshope, take a look at these two articles below. They will give you two very simple forms to use to keep track of what you proposed / discussed at the IEP meeting and what the school agreed to (or not). Choose one you want to use and follow the directions for using it. Take the form to the IEP meeting, then fill in what happens at the meeting.
If you have access to a computer and printer, you can download the forms.
Or just make your own form like these on a sheet of paper, they are user friendly.
Confidentiality & Privacy: FERPA – RECORD PRIVACY OR PRIVACY IN CLASSROOM
Tammy: I have two children in a public special ed class in Texas. Both are in the medically dependent children program through the state and have nurses that go with them to school. I was recently told that my nurses can not be present in the room during instruction time due to FERPA-that they are violating the privacy of the other students. I thought FERPA only applied to records. Is there something I am missing?
Chuck: Mr. Wright has stated several times & places on the website that FERPA applies to records. Schools take this position regarding nurses for a variety of reasons. In some cases they are afraid that at some point the parents will request that the school pay for the nurse. There are ways that you can address this.
I work for the TX Parent Training & Information Center. Our staff may be able to assist you. You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wrightslaw: Chuck, you’re right. FERPA regulates education records, nothing more.
Tammy – this article will give you information and resources about the issue of “privacy of the other students.” http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/priv.confid.observe.htm
But, as Chuck says, the school may have other underlying concerns. Remember to always document everything, any information or responses you get from the school and use your effective advocacy skills when discussing problems and concerns. Make use of your PTI – it’s nice to have a specific contact there.
Confidentiality & Privacy: PRIVACY IN THE CLASSROOM
Kelly: My daughter is has an IEP, & misses a great deal of school do to chronic illness. Several times she has had classmates tell her that that teachers have openly criticized her for either not being in attendance, her progress and/or share their irritation of late work. They’ve used her name & openly talk about her in classes. It is done both out loud to the class in general or to a fellow teacher. Not only does my daughter have physical medical issues she also has mental health issues like ADHD, panic and anxiety disorders and depression, that trigger her physical health. It is hard enough to deal with the scrutiny of peer pressure, bullying and gossip, but worse when faculty starts it up. It is even more shameful for them to speak poorly of a child on an IEP. Are there any specific laws regarding privacy for kids with disabilities?
Chuck: Kelly, federal rules on confidentiality deal with written records. What you are talking about is covered by your state’s professional standards & ethics for educators. I suggest starting with the principal, since they can & should address this type of behavior. If this is not successful, follow the procedures for appealing your concerns to higher administrators.
Discipline: CAN THE SCHOOL EXPEL MY CHILD FOR SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL?
Donna: I do not know the law about Facebook incidents that happen outside of school. My daughter was expelled for 2 days this week because of an incident that happened on Facebook last weekend. She made some threats against another girl. That girls mom got involved and printed out screen shots of what my daughter said but none of the conversation involving her or her daughter was printed out. She took it to the school and my child got in trouble for it. My question is–can they expel my child for something that happened out side of school? the mom should have called me and let me handle it. I am not planning on fighting it right now. My husband has terminal cancer and i don’t have the time to fight the district at this moment. I took my daughter out of school and i am sending her to her dads to finish the year.
Morning: Donna, check with your state department of education. I know of many students who have faced actions from school administrators due to comments on social media that threatens, harasses or intimidates another student but it should involve a process. Schools have written policies about such so check the parent/student handbook. Work with the school psychologist and your daughter to have some meaningful conversations about the incident and how to insure that it does not happen again. Your daughter may need a better support system within the school setting such as guidance, etc. For safety reasons, I feel parents should not approach each other about these type of incidents as they should be handled by school administrators or even law enforcement. A threat is a threat.
Discipline: TAKING AWAY FIELD TRIP AS PUNISHMENT
Stephanie: All my kiddos go to Public school in Central Texas. What is the truth? Can a field trip be taken away from an ADHD/ED elementary student (served by special ed) due to possible bad behaviors at the field trip?
Chuck: Stephanie, I believe that most TX school attorneys would tell the school that this would be considered discrimination. Children with disabilities are to have access to activities & trips that other students have.
I would suggest contacting the special ed dept. in writing & verbally. Describe what the campus is doing & say that you believe that this is discrimination. You may or may not want to say that if you need to, you will contact the TX Education Agency &/or the Office of Civil Rights. I am with the TX Parent Training & Information center, Partners Resource Network, http://www.partnerstx.org/
Discipline: DISCIPLINE ISSUES – GETTING UP IN THE MORNINGS
Shelley: I have a disabled son who due to his disabillity has problems getting up in the mornings. He has had issues with being tardy ever since kindergarten. He is now a junior in high school and has been harrassed continusely since he started there. I have ask for the IEP to be changed and tried to explain the situation and it just doesnt stop. They even told him that the judge would take him away from me! He keeps being dicipilined and now Im being threatened with court/jail. Is this legal? Thanks, Shelley
MORNING: I have some experience in this matter. In one case, the mom let the child deal with the consequences of the school for not getting up in the morning and getting to school on time. The pattern of this had started when he was younger and now, in high school, it had to stop as he was being enabled to do such. After a few detentions he figured out to “wake up” and get to school on time. The child was ADHD, etc. and gave the mom a hard time until the school intervened.
The second case, the mom and the school district worked together to teach the girl organizational skills to get to school on time. They used motivators. The mom did not want to blame the medication for the issue but wanted the child to transition to waking up on time.
Discipline: CHILD WITH AUTISM – FREQUENT SUSPENSIONS
KAREN: My 8 yr old autistic grandson is being suspended from school, frequently, due to behavior problems that are directly related to his disability. Punishing his parents and possibly threatening their jobs is not going to solve the problem. He needs to learn to communicate the cause of his outbursts with words or gestures. Isn’t there something in the NCLB law that excludes such children from suspension and expulsion?
Sandy: The law is IDEA, not NCLB. Under IDEA, there are very specific disciplinary safeguards for students with IEPs. There cannot be more than 10 days of suspension without a manifestation determination meeting. This is a complex area of law, so I suggest finding an attorney or advocate to help guide you. The Wrightslaw site (free to use) has information written in parent-friendly language: http://www.wrightslaw.com. Search “suspensions” or “discipline” and learn your child’s rights! Good luck!
Chuck: Each state has a Parent Training & Information Center funded by the US Dept. of Ed. Staff at your state Center can assist you on this matter. A list of the Centers by state can be found at: http://www.parentcenternetwork.org/national/aboutus.html
Illinoisan: Parent should also have been provided with a Procedural Safeguards document, which describes process regarding suspensions and such, as well and the rights that IDEA gives parents and students with disabilities. Your state board of ed should have this document posted or call the state board and they would be able to point you to a copy. But Sandy is right; this can get quite technical.
Jennie: There are three special needs children in my sons middle school. These three children and only these three are forced to clean up the lunchroom, carry all lunch trays into the kitchen, load and wash them. They do this while the rest of the students are enjoying lunch, socializing and watching the three students clean tables etc. These three students are kept out of a class every day to do this demeaning work. The school refuses to stop this because the father and I are divorced and he is fine with it. How is it legal to humiliate a child even if you have an ignorant parents permission?
MORNING: I see several issues to consider. First, many students learn some life skills this ways (regardless of special education status or not). It all depends on the IEP. I am not sure if you can call this discrimination. Another issue is when parents disagree. From a personal viewpoint, it puts the staff and the student in a horrible position when parents (regardless of marital) status cannot agree to the benefit of the student. The issues truly is between the divorced parents. Some schools are trying very hard to develop great IEP goals but when divorced parents disagree, it adds a layer that must be resolved. As one who has cleaned cafeteria tables, all students should do this as part of community service to learn skills.
Discrimination: LEFT BEHIND FROM FIELD TRIP
Shelley: My daughter has Rett Syndrome & Irritable Bowel Syndrome. She had diarrhea shortly before leaving on a field trip. They cleaned her, changed her, and then left her behind. They called me to pick her up after her class had left. Her IEP states that she may be cleaned and return to school, but I was told I could not return her to school because her 1:1 aide had went on the field trip. Frustrated because she was sad and confused.
Melissa: Shelley, I would file a 504 discrimination complaint.
Discrimination: DAYCARE SAYS WE MUST PROVIDE AIDE FOR SON WITH AUTISM
Emily: My son is 11 and has autism. He requires feeding and bathroom assistance as he wears diapers. Our local daycare, who provides services to ages 0-15, told us they could not take him unless we provided an aide to assist him. Is this legal? Isn’t that why we pay a daycare, they are the assistance that our children need?
Chuck: The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) deals with daycares. Info on this issue can be found at: http://www.ada.gov/childq&a.htm
Documentation: EMAIL VS. CERTIFIED MAIL
Shari: I am have a difficult time dealing with my son’s school and I have made several requests for specific information with no one willing to address the requests. I’m in the process of contacting them again. I am wondering if I should be sending the request via certified mail or should I attempt to keep emailing but contacting someone higher up. I feel like I am getting no where.
Wrightslaw: Shari – Pete and Pam advise parents not to use certified mail. They explain why and provide a good alternative to using certified mail or email in this article. The Negative Impact of Certified Mail at http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=2687
You’ll find more here about Effective Letter Writing http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/11/ss.short.course.htm
SharonL: Shari, I always sent one letter certified mail to the special ed director and a copy to the principal. I always got a response after that.
Documentation: WHY NOT USE CERTIFIED MAIL?
Joan: Why should a parent not use certified mail when sending a letter disagreeing with the IEP?
Due Process: WHEN DO I FILE DUE PROCESS?
Mary Pat: I recently had my daughter’s IEP where do to a new teaching model in Sept 2009, they want to take her para away. It is stated in her IEP that the CST will meet again in May 2009 to discuss her progress and her need for a para in Sept. Do I file for mediation and due process now or wait to see what happens in May? Also, am I able to file in May 2009, if I do not like the decision, or do I file now within the 15 day period from her annual IEP?
Wrightslaw: Before requesting a due process hearing, you need to consult with an attorney who has expertise in special education litigation. The attorney can provide advice about how and when to proceed.
To prevail, you need experts from the private sector who evaluated your child, observed the program, and can testify about your child’s needs, appropriate educational programs, etc.
There are many issues, obstacles and pitfalls for parents. We filmed a DVD about a special education due process hearing. When you watch the DVD, you’ll have a clearer sense of what a due process hearing is like. You will learn more about the Surviving Due Process DVD here: http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/dvddp/index.htm
Due Process: DUE PROCESS ISSUES
Miranda: If district personnel have mechanically forged parent signatures onto documents and falsified documents, such as consents to IEPs and evaluations, are these acts addressed in due process?
SharonL: Miranda, yes but you better be sure you can prove this with strong evidence or it could be disastrous.
Dyslexia: TROUBLE COMPLETING WRITING ORGANIZER
Laura: My 7th grade daughter is dyslexic. She writes at a 1st-2nd grade level. In English class, she refuses to fill out writing organizers and wants to write without an organizer.
The note home to me was concerned about her behavior and the fact that three people tried to convince her to write out this organizer and failed.
What should I do to help her organize her writing and defuse this power struggle? We have Inspiration software and many Aps. Thank you!
SharonL: Laura, my guess is that your daughter cannot fill out the organizer. This happened to my boys (all LD& one dyslexic). Instead we worked with the school personnel to fill out the organizer for our children until they became better writers & could do it themselves. The behavior is coming from frustration most likely. That may only get worse without some assistance.
Morning: I agree with Sharon. My older child is dyslexic but we tried something different when she was resistant to technology, organizers, etc. We stepped back and did “nothing.” We told the teachers to “step back.” I felt that something more was going on due to the level of resistance. I realized, and the staff, that she wanted to advocate for herself more, have more input and be the captain of her ship as she wants to steer it into college. Did she fail without some of the assistance–yes. However, she gave a lot of input into some new ways she can help herself with other types of organizers, assistive technology, etc. She knew more than we did. It was not a prefect solution but it worked for her specific needs and situation. I did not want anyone forcing her to do anything at her age.
Dyslexia: DYSLEXIA – WHAT SERVICES IS MY SON ELIGIBLE FOR?
Lisa: My son has been with ADHD and dyslexia. The principal of the public school he attended determined he was going to be retained in first grade and flat out said he was NOT going to consider the doctor’s diagnosis or opinions on retention that he made up his mind and that was final. So, we began homeschooling. Now, at 8, he has begun to read, though slowly, yet still suffers from anxiety due to the last year in public school with a sever bullying situation that was never handled by the school, and the teacher repeatedly “yelling” at him while trying to learn to read. Since I have never dealt with dyslexia, I am feeling like I am trying to teach a foreign language that I do not know. We are at a loss as to what services he may be eligible for or how to get any help for anything. ANY ideas or help you may offer would be greatly appreciated.
SharonL: Lisa, you may request a multifactored evaluation to be completed by the school. Send your request in writing & followup with a call to get together to sign the school’s testing consent form. They are then supposed to get the testing done in 60 days. You can request a DRAFT copy of the results to go over with an advocate or physician so you understand the results of the testing. You will get together with the school to determine if your child qualifies for services. If the determination is made you will write an IEP & can address goals for the dyslexia & ADHD. If you don’t agree with the school you can have an outside eval done & the school had to pay for it. There is an OHI (Other health impaired) IEP you can look into. Ask the school for the paperwork for your doctor to fill out.
Morning: I have an older dyslexic child, but the school did not remediated him early enough and the window of time for him to learn to read by third grade had been lost even though he was in special ed. After 5th grade we hired an advocate and secured an IEE and he was diagnosed with severe dyslexia which, in his case, also came with some other learning issues. Each child is different and their needs for remeidation will vary depending on the recommendations and test results. In my son’s case, the IEE was the benchmark that gave the school system much needed guidance to help him. He is making gains and will progress but he will never catch-up. Considering the principal’s behaviors, you should contact your state department of education for advice and hire an advocate.
Sonja: Lisa, school systems can now test for dyslexia and your child can have an IEP. Just as students cannot bully, neither can teachers. I am so sorry for what has happened to your child. You should call your state BOE and ask for a “CHILD ADVOCATE.” This will not erase what has happened, but the advocate will be able to assist you in understanding your parental rights, getting services for your child, and hopefully bring the love of learning back to your child. In the mean time, try color overlays. Often, the child being able to hold the letters in place by placing something on top of them, can help. The overlays come in a rainbow of colors, because every child is different. I hope this helps and I truly hope your cherub finds peace and happiness in the world of education. Regards, Sonja
Eligibility: SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST SAYS NO EDUCATIONAL DIAGNOSIS OF AUTISM
Marlene: My 11 yr. old daughter has a diagnosis of ADHD,ASPERGER’S DISORDER,RAD. by a Board Certified in both General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.My question is does the school psychologist have the right to make the statment that his impression is not that of a child with an autism spectrum disorder and there is no school documentation of any criteria which would indicate an educational diagnosis of Autisum.She was diagnosised in Sept. of 2012.I realyy don’t know what to do.Please help THANK YOU
Hadassah: Marlene, sad to say, this happens around the country. Medical diagnosis does not equal educational diagnosis. Try sending a letter to your school district saying that your child has been medically diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum, that you are concerned about the impact of this diagnosis upon her ability to access the educational opportunities offered by the school district and ask that she be evaluated by the district’s autism expert.
Girls on the Autism Spectrum demonstrate their difficulties differently from boys. They often “fly under the radar” in school and fall apart at home.
Sheree: Marlene, we went through the same thing with our district for our daughter, who was also 11 and diagnosed with Asperger’s, ADHD Inattentive Type. We asked our district for an IEE because we disagreed with the school psychologist. The district argued with us for two months, but they finally “allowed” us to get an IEE. We got a second ASD diagnosis. ADHD and a new diagnosis of an anxiety disorder because we had been fighting with the district for a year and she not getting the support she needed and had regressed. It wasn’t easy and it took us over a year to get some of the support she needed. Start off by asking for the IEE and put it in writing. Tell them you respectfully disagree with the school psychologist based on the diagnoses made and that you would would like to obtain an IEE. Good luck and don’t give up! Keep us posted!
Eligibility: CAN SON ON MEDS GET IEP – OR IS IT TOO LATE?
Melissa: My son is in the fifth grade and is 11years old. When he was in the third grade he was diagnosed with Oppressive Defiant Disorder and ADD he is on medication to treat both. My question is since he has been on medication for almost three years is it possible to get an IEP or a 504 plan for him or would it be to late? The school does know about his diagnosis but its an everyday thing to get a phone call about his behavior.
Sandy: Melissa, as the old saying goes, it’s never too late! Seriously, though, the meds have nothing to do with it. Put a request in writing ASAP asking for a comprehensive special education evaluation (under IDEA and 504) to be conducted, and include in the letter your consent for this evaluation to begin. (They may require you to sign their own form, so do that right away if they need it.) Consent begins the timeline (usually 60 days or 60 school days) for the school to conduct the eval. Good luck!
Eligibility: RETESTING FOR ELIGIBILITY
Michelle: My son is 7 years old and in the second grade. We have not received all of his test results prior to the eligibility review meeting. I am not comfortable or ready to meet with the team until after I review his test results. Are we required to meet?
Sandy: Request (in writing!) that the school provide test results 5 days before the meeting so that you have time to review them and thus participate as an informed team member at the meeting. The test results are available as education records under federal FERPA – 45 days – or your state counterpart, which may be shorter, AND they are available before an IEP meeting. If the team fails to provide them, go to the meeting and state that you need to adjourn and why. That you want to reconvene once you’ve received and read the results. That will be inconvenient for them, and they will probably provide the records in advance next time. Good luck!
Eligibility: REQUIREMENT FOR ADHD IDENTIFICATION
Bill: Is a physician’s diagnosis of ADHD required for a child to be considered by the PPT for OHI/ADHD? Would appreciate any cite to such a requirement.
Kellie: Bill, my school psychologist had the teachers and the parents fill out a questionnaire on my daughter for ADHD. The testing came back positive from the teachers and just a little from the parents. I took a copy of this questionnaire and the results to my pediatrician and the doctor said she would have used the same questionnaire and we started my daughter on the meds and I took a letter from my doctor to the school psychologist. Of course the child’s academics must be affected by the ADHD diagnosis to be placed under OHI. We later had her tested for APD which looks just like ADD and that came back positive. Hope this helps.
Eligibility: ELIGIBILITY FOR SPECIAL ED
Fran: If a child has a diagnosis of Bi-Polar, has 2 to 3 academic classes she is struggling in,(9th grade) can the parent request the school pay for an outside source for another psychological? I disagree with the one they reported with scores showing more than a 19 point split between verbal; and performance and overall score and the special ed. team ignored it. They stated she showed progress with turning in her homework, so there wasn’t a sufficient concern to place her.
Sandy: Yes – if you disagree with the school’s evaluation for any reason (and you don’t even have to provide the specific reason, though the school may as), you have the right to an IEE (independent educational evaluation). You can read more about IEE’s at Wrightslaw – http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/test.iee.steedman.htm
Eligibility: HOW IS OHI DETERMINED?
Beth: I have a question. I was told by a physician specializing in Selective Mutism that OHI was the most appropriate school based diagnosis. I was told by a School Psychologist that OHI as defined by IDEA, was not an available diagnosis for a student with Selective Mutism. How is OHI determined in the school setting? Is OHI restricted by IDEA?
Sharon L.: Beth, check with your state special ed department. They may be able to assist with how to request an OHI IEP. We did it by getting the paperwork that was necessary for the doctor to sign and then had our doctor fill it out. Once we got that back to the school we met and put together an IEP that met his needs.
Eligibility: SERVICES BEFORE KINDERGARTEN – NOW ELIGIBLE FOR IEP?
Jennifer: My daughter is 5 and entering kindergarten in the fall. She has been receiving services from the school district through PSSE for speech. She has a severe articulation delay with a 15% intelligibility. She is also receiving OT services for SPD, Auditory Processing, Visual Processing, Vestibular deficiency, Touch Sensitivity as well…to name a few. She was also approved for summer services for both speech and OT. For kindergarten we are only being offered informal services instead of an IEP, which I feel is necessary. I have to meet with the head of Student Services to plead her case. Am I wrong in thinking that she is eligible? Where do I begin?
SharonL: Jennifer, my son also got services prior to kindergarten. Once that was over & he was going to first grade the school did another evaluation to determine if the services were still needed. Once they did the evaluation we met & it was decided to put him on an IEP because he still needed services. You can request in writing to have this done & make sure you sign their consent form as the 60 day requirement to get the testing done does not start until the consent form is signed.
Eligibility: ENROLLED IN A SPECIAL DAY CLASS – NO IEP
Michele: I wanted to ask if a student can be enrolled in a Special Day class with no IEP or 504 plan. This student may be a harm to other students in the class, as he has behavioral issues the current students do not. The director unilaterally decided to enroll this student in the Special Day class, as their solution to this student’s needs. However, he was assessed, and at the IEP it was decided he does not qualify for special education services.
ASDmom: Sounds like RTI and creative way to deny IEP. Research this, then write letter documenting all.
Eligibility: ELIGIBILITY CLASSIFICATION
EC: we just recently had our daughter eligibility conf. we disagree with the classification of mulitiply disabled, she was diagnosed with dypraxia/ DCD, convergence insufficiency . we want classification SLD but district refuses to change because she also has speech delay. why would district push multiply disabled.?Right now she is in reg. ed but district wants placement out of district in public school multi-disablity class. Her reg ed teachers are not supportive of her staying in reg ed. We don’t believe she meets that criteria under IDEA, Dyspraxia is a LD.
Chuck: Check your state education agency’s website for information on the defininition of multiply disabled to see what it says. In this state it sounds like your child would meet our definition for multiply disabled.
In some states certain disabilities or placements earn the school more funds, so that could be an issue in your situation. You can always make a complaint ot the state &/or a request for mediation.
Sharon: I understand that you are disagreeing with the classification of multiply disabled, but according to the information you have provided in your post, your daughter fits that category. You mention two different diagnoses in your post. You are right in that dyspraxia is a SLD, but convergence insufficiency clouds the issue. CI affects reading because the eyes have difficulty working together. Does your daughter receive vision therapy? That is an essential part of her treatment. You mention a speech delay as well. Children with dyspraxia often present with speech delays, but once again, the CI clouds the issue.
I am wondering whether the multi-disabled class doesn’t address children with visual impairments. If it does, then it is an appropriate placement.
Sharon: You state that her current general ed teachers are not supportive of her remaining in a general ed class. They must have specific reasons why they feel this is not the appropriate placement for your daughter. Have you spoken with them and asked them to justify their position? Have you gone to observe the class she has been offered? Perhaps you will see that it can offer your daughter more opportunities to maximize the educational benefit she receives in school.
If the proper program is awarded, and the placement proves to be appropriate in order to further your daughter’s education, then the classification should not matter at this time. Remember that classifications can, and are often, changed.
Good luck, and keep an open mind.
ESY: MEDICAL DISABILITY AND TUTORING/ESY
Jane: My 11th Grade student has Medical & LD’s which cause her to miss a lot of school. She’s bright. when there, can get work done, retain knowledge, but produces work slowly. IEP gives extended time. thus far, missed over 40 days – prior req. for home tutor due to medical has been ignored. Request for ESY (a transitioning high school-college program) is being denied. School’s view is she’s not eligible for ESY or tutoring bc the issue is she has fallen behind due to absences, not requiring specialized instruction over the summer or possible regression – tried Federal law using ‘emerging skills’ too and denied as well due to absences. Currently at high risk for retention and not graduating w/trade certificate & diploma, as written in vision & transition plan/statement. Help please!
Kathie: Jane, my daughter too has medical disability but no LD, and she needs extended time. She started with alot of absences. Finally a kind person informed me that I should get her on a 504 and get home tutoring. It wasn’t easy and they dragged it out. This was after about 8 months of falling behind. Then I requested that be put on an IEP. This took another 6 months. Now I am fighting for more hours of home tutoring. The school is refusing.
My daughter’s medical condition prevents her from attending school because she cannot stand or walk far and has extreme fatigue. I provided the school with the doctor’s statement to that effect. Medical papers on medical condition that documents symptoms and support the need for home tutor. Have you done that? Send by certified mail? I’m fighting for ESY services too. Good luck.
Evaluations: REQUESTING NEW EVALUATIONS
JeanMarie: My child has an iep and the school is helping us somewhat.
I had her tested at the beginning of third grade and the school told me she had an auditory processing disorder. I asked for a new set of complete testing and was told no. They did redo some parts of the testing which my child scored higher on. Now they are saying there is No way she has auditory processing disorder. Can I request a complete set of new testing. I really want to know a correct diagnosis so that I can help my child. Does anyone know the next step and if I can ask for further testing.
SharonL: JeanMarie, you can tell the school in a written letter you do not agree with the test results especially since one time it said your daughter qualified & another time she did not. You can request an outside evaluation from a professional at the school’s expense. The school will give you a list of prof to choose from. YOu do not have to use any of these. You may get a recommendation of who to go to from a physician, advocate, support group, etc. Once you have the outside evaluation done the school has to consider it. This may make things a lot clearer for everyone. AT this point you do not have to sign anything until you see what the results of the outside testing is.
Evaluations: SCHOOL DENIED TESTING
Crystal: My son currently has an IEP with the local school system. He is not currently meeting this IEP and our family has concerns that he may have Autism and that IEP needs to be adjusted to meet is needs. I have asked the school’s Special Education Dept. to test him and they have denied me. What are their obligations as far as my request? If I cannot test him how can I know if he needs additional or different kinds of help?
Chuck: The district should have responded to your written request with a prior written notice of refusal to test. If they did, you need to find help to analyze their reasons & to try to build a stronger case for testing. Schools are required to identify all of the child’s needs. I suggest that you try to get help from your state’s Parent Training & Information Center. You can find info on the Centers & prior written notice in the Topics list on this website’s homepage.
Evaluations: I ASKED FOR AN ASSESSMENT
Suzanna: My kinder daughter’s teacher called me in to discuss her boisterous behavior in class. I asked if she should be assessed, the teacher declined to give an opinion. I later emailed the teacher that we would have her privately assessed. Now the principal and teacher have scheduled a meeting to “to brainstorm and discuss questions about the assessment.” I don’t have any questions, why are they calling this meeting?
Morning: It seems they are covering their bases. The classroom teacher did not or in some cases “could not” offer you an initial opinion an assessment. You opened the door for them to “do their job.” You may want to get some advice from an advocate or resource center before the meeting. Research how to request an evaluation from the Wrightslaw’s website. There is a saying among some educational professionals, “if a parent does not ask for ” it-” -do not give ” it ” to them.” “It ” could include IEE, AT evaluations, ESY, assessments, FBA, etc. Know what “it” is and how you can advocate for your daughter. Also, I do think it is good that the principal and the teacher are meeting with you. Use it as an opportunity to advocate for your daughter. Know your rights!
Evaluations: ADDITIONAL TESTING/EVALUATION
Elena: My 9 y.o. Is in 3d grade. He was diagnosed adhd/combined type last year and found eligible for sped. As I have learned more about ADHD, I do not think his IEP goals are sufficient nor do they address the underlying executive function issues. I am requesting the school do a neuropsych eval to determine more specifically where his executive function deficits lie so we can appropriately tailor his IEP. My question is, if the school refuses can I still request an IEE? I am saving up to pay for a full diagnostic, but we won’t be able to afford it for awhile.
SharonL: Elena, if you have not had an evaluation for your son in at least one year the school should not refuse to give him another one at your request. Remember to sign the school’s consent form to start the 60 day process. Once you get the results you may request a DRAFT to be sent home to review & discuss with any professionals you have to help you understand the results. If you do not agree with the results you may request an outside evaluation at public expense (school will pay for the outside evaluation) & when that is completed they must consider the test results.
Evaluations: EVALUATION TIMELINE
Dorothy: After sending a formal request for a child’s testing in public schools in Pennsylvania, how many days before the school district is required to comply?
Pete Wright: Dorothy, you have to be careful about asking questions of this nature. Often the answer you receive may be wrong! Part of the answer is dependent on whether is it a new eval or re-eval. Learn how to find the answer yourself. Go to our website, left column, scroll down to “Law Library”, then click on IDEA 2004 and look for the law about evaluations. (Easier route – it is in our law book.) You will find it in 20 USC 1414. Then look at timelines in 1414. Then you must google “pennsylvania special education regulations” and download them and look at the corresponding state reg. The timelines vary around the country, from 45 calendar days to 60 school days. Answer the question yourself, then come back and tell us the answer for your state!
Ted: How long does a public school have to complete a child’s 9-10 year old evaluation, once the paperwork to allow the evaluation is signed by involved parties.
Wrightslaw: Ted, someone else asked this question several weeks ago and here’s what Pete advised. Just substitute your state name when you search for your state special education regulations.
From Pete Wright – Dorothy, you have to be careful about asking questions of this nature. Often the answer you receive may be wrong! Part of the answer is dependent on whether is it a new eval or re-eval. Learn how to find the answer yourself. Go to our website, left column, scroll down to “Law Library”, then click on IDEA 2004 and look for the law about evaluations. (Easier route – it is in our law book.) You will find it in 20 USC 1414. Then look at timelines in 1414. Then you must google “pennsylvania special education regulations” and download them and look at the corresponding state reg. The timelines vary around the country, from 45 calendar days to 60 school days. Answer the question yourself, then come back and tell us the answer for your state!
Evaluations: SCHOOL REFUSING TO SCHEDULE A EVALUATION DETERMINATION MEETING BECAUSE MY CHILD ISN’T ENROLLED IN THE SCHOOL
Denise: 16 days ago I registered my daughter for public kindergarten for the fall 2014. At the same time, I hand delivered my child study team referral letter requesting my daughter be evaluated for special education. My daughter is 5.5 years of age and presently in a transitional kindergarten program at a private preschool. We did not enroll her in kindergarten this year based on learning challenges and her august 24th birthday. We have received no formal letter from the school informing us of a evaluation determination meeting within a 20 day period. My husband phoned the school yesterday and was told by the principal that they will
Chuck: It appears that the principal does not understand the district’s IDEA child find obligation. 300.111 You can remind them of this &/or contact the spec. ed office in writing.
Evaluations: REEVALUATIONS – HOW OFTEN?
Paulette: I understand as a parent you can ask the school in writing to retest after 12 months. However, I noticed their testing did not include an intelligence test OR a school achievement test (as listed in your “From Emotions to Advocacy” book). They only completed only PART of a screening test for the educational achievement testing (the WRAT-2 Memory & Learning section). The other test, the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC-2) is not listed in your book.
My daughter is already on an IEP, so no need to establish services. School does not think she has dyslexia, but ed. psych. does. Also has suspect auditory processing disorder as per Sensory Profile.
1) Am I allowed to request new testing (vs. retesting what is already done)? If so, what tests? School stated they only have to do so every three years.
Matt: Yes, schools under IDEA law only have to administer re-evaluations once every three years, BUT if they claim to administer a “comprehensive Psych-Ed Evaluation” and did not do the FULL BATTERY of testing then it does not count as a complete Psych-Ed. The Weschler and Woodcock Johnson tests have several components and schools often try to get away with doing only a few of them. The must to do the full battery of tests under each for it to count as a Psych Ed. Eval. File due process against the district if they tried that one on you.
Evaluations: SCHOOL REFUSES EVALUATION
Susan: Can a school refuse to do an evaluation on a high school student? My nephew has ADHD and several concussions recently from school football. I think he qualifies for IEP on both ADHD and TBI. School says no.
SharonL: Susan, did you put your request for an evaluation in writing? We usually put it in writing, send it certified mail to one of the administrators (spec ed director or principal) and give them 5 working days to respond. This may get some results. If not escalate to the superintendent and go higher until you get an answer. They should be willing to put there denial in writing so you know why and can consult an attorney if need be.
Chuck: The school should have given you prior written notice of their refusal to evaluate. You can find more on this concept/document on this website. You have the right to challenge their decision through a request to the state dept. of education for mediation or a due process hearing or by making a complaint to the state.
Evaluations: REFUSING EVALUATION
Catherine: Does a school district have the right to refuse an initial evaluation of my child when I feel he is struggling?
SharonL: Catherine, did you put the request for initial evaluation in writing & request a meeting to sign their consent form? If so & they have refused they should put the reason in writing. You can always go to the next higher level or to your state dept of ed special ed department for mediation/help. I have never had a school refuse evaluations for any of my 3 sons & I have had many through the years. They need to tell you why.
SharonL: Catherine, Did you put the request for initial evaluation in writing & request a meeting to sign their consent form? If so & they have refused they should put the reason in writing. You can always go to the next higher level or to your state dept of ed special ed department for mediation/help. I have never had a school refuse evaluations for any of my 3 sons & I have had many through the years. They need to tell you why.
Jennifer: My advice is not to say this is how you ‘feel’. Provide the school with concrete examples of his struggles–written work, grades, documented examples of his difficulty. If he has regressed, provide evidence.
Evaluations: EVAL RECOMMENDATIONS – SCHOOLS SAYS “TOO MANY” FOR IEP
Maria: My sons evals listed a lot of recommendations in working w/him in school.The sped supervisor said there was just too many to list on his IEP,but didn’t list any at all.She said there was just too many to list and if the teachers need them,they can look in his file.What can I do as parent, to get his recommendations added to his IEP?
SharonL: Maria, I believe there is no such thing as too many recommendations. There is a way to add it to the IEP by adding another IEP page. If these items are not in the IEP they are not considered part of the legal document & no one has to follow them plus they will not be considered for him to meet his goals etc. for FAPE. They must be put in the IEP. There may be a way to consolodate them. We did this on some of our son’s IEP’s.
Evaluations: TRIENNIAL EVALS NOT FINISHED – SHOULD WE WAIT ON IEP MTG?
Gayle: My son’s IEP meeting is scheduled for next week. He is in the middle of his 3 year re-evaluation, as well as additional assessments and evaluations by outside sources. The school is insisting on getting the IEP done next week. Do I have the right to ask them to hold off the IEP meeting until all assessments are done? I do not want them meeting wihout me
SharonL: Gayle, I would want all of the assessments done & I would want some time to review a DRAFT copy sent to me a few days before the IEP meeting. They are probably running out of time on the end date of the IEP. Don’t worry the existing IEP will still stand until the new one is written. If they have an IEP meeting without you they are out of compliance since a parent must be part of the team meeting. They should be willing to wait at your request.
ASDmom: I’m not sure how they can determine FAPE without this information and they are required to have the information to determine FAPE. It’s their problem not yours or your childs if they don’t have the evaluations they deemed necessary done in time for 3 year anniversary date. Our previous district got hung up alot on anniversary dates and having something in place regardless of if they had the info to make decisions. My advice – if they try to proceed before triennial evaluations done just to have something in place and then revisit later (aka – stalling or it will never happen) then file a complaint with your State Office of Education.
Evaluations: EVALUATION BY THE SCHOOL
Jen: My 10-year-old will be starting 4th grade this year in a new, grade-level building. He has been placed in a gifted and talented classroom. He has been diagnosed as [severely/99.90%] ADHD, he also has diagnoses of OCD, anxiety, and Tourette’s Disorder. His doctor has recommended, among other things, that a parapro be provided for him while he is in class. When I spoke to his new principal about that, I was told, quite flippantly “Oh, we don’t have that ability (to provide a para for him).” I have worked in the district, for the record, and I can tell you that that is a load of crap. My question is: What is the obligation of the school in terms of making that happen? We will be filling out a 504B (I think that’s the form) soon, and I need to know how to proceed if I need to “fight” for this for my son. Thanks!
David1: Jen, If you haven’t already read From Emotion to Advocacy, I highly recommend it. I would never agree to a parent fighting the public school for their child’s education. You never hear of a fight where both participants win and a child’s education is a risky thing to put on the line. My wife and I purchased the book mentioned above as well as The Special Education Law book. We began learning how to advocate for our son when he was in middle school. He currently has a 3.87 GPA in college and is his own advocate these days. It is worthwhile to understand the difference between a 504 and an IEP and the book talks about the importance of SMART goals in an IEP.
Sharon: Jen, I agree that an evaluation should be done but I would not pay for an outside evaluation. You should request an evaluation from the school & then sign their consent form immediately. The 60 day requirement to get the testing done does not start until their consent form is signed. When the test is complete you will sit down with the team & go over. Your son may test into getting reading help. IF you do not like the results of the testing (you can request the results of the test ahead of time before the meeting to review with professionals) you do not have to sign. You can then request an outside evaluation be performed at the school’s expense. The school will give you places to go for the test but you can pick your own tester. This will usually get what you need for your child.
Morning: Sharon, I agree with what you are saying as it is the proper procedure. In most cases, it does work. Some parents with older kids cannot wait for failing schools to act as there is less remediation in the higher grades. For some parents, taking action and control by paying for (if they can afford it) outside evaluations on their own “woke-up” schools systems that would have stalled or not provide the right services. As a parent, I cannot afford to wait as I have an older child. I have, through my experience, been very successful getting her needs met with that strategy and collaboration with the school district. I worked in school systems and see them fail many students who have independent evaluations so I don’t play around. Your advice is sound and my case may be individualized just to my child.
Extracurricular: SCHOOL DENIED CHILD PARTICIPATION IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY
Flor: My 6th grade daughter was denied participation in band because she was not able to pass the the academic assessment required for all students to take if they want to participate in any extracurricular activity. Can they make this a requirement? She obviously will never be able to participate in any activity… Is there anything I can do?
Miranda: Flor, look at ADA regulations and consider your daughter’s diagnosis, evaluations, and IEP. Put something in writing to the district that addresses those three things and require that they put something in writing to you explaining how or why they will deny your daughter access to learning opportunities (because band is a significant learning opportunity) considering her disability (which may or may not be an act of discrimination – I don’t know since I don’t know everything about this situation). If you feel that she is being unfairly limited, you must consider IDEA, ADA, and your daughters needs and diagnoses with regard to her IEP.
Sandy: If the school requires all students to pass an academic test to participate in extracurriculars – and in effect that would limit participation by kids with intellectual (or other learning) disabilities, then I believe that’s discriminatory under Sec. 504 (interpreted the same as ADA in this context). I would let the district know this and I’m guessing they’ll back down, esp. if you mention that you can file an OCR complaint on behalf of your students AND the other students who are being so limited. Good luck to you!
Identification & Child Find: CHILD FIND — WHICH DISTRICT IS RESPONSIBLE?
Daeric: If a child is attending a public school outside their zoned district because they are on an inter-district transfer to attend where the parent teaches, which district is responsible for testing? The district where they are attending, or where they are zoned to attend? Texas, if it matters.
Chuck: The district where the child is enrolled has the child find responsibility. In some cases schools have decided to revoke the transfer.
IEPs: EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN THE IEP
Ron: Does my daughter have any rights? – Can a public school refuse to allow my daughter to have extra-curricular activities included in her IEP? The only activity is year book staff in her elementary school. She was not selected despite her artistic talent, straight A’s, etc. Thank you for your time
Chuck: IDEA regs require schools to make such activities available to students w/ disabilities, 300.042 defines supplementary aids & services as “aids, services, & other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular & nonacademic settings, to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate”. Also see 300.107 Nonacademic services. Refusal could also be considered discrimination under Section 504.
Veronica: Chuck – thanks for the references. I looked them up in my Wrightslaw law book and also found more information about Nonacademic settings in 300.117, on p. 208. It looks like the school cannot refuse to put extracurricular activities in an IEP because if the team decides a child needs them, the regulations say they must be included. But I’m confused about the discrimination part – maybe I don’t understand Ron’s question. If all kids are included in the “selection” process for an activity – some are chosen, some are not. It may be discrimination to exclude a child from an activity if the only reason is that she has an IEP. But having an IEP doesn’t ensure selection – right? Wouldn’t that be discrimination against the kids who don’t have IEPs?
Chuck: Veronica, yes having a disability does not ensure selection if there is criteria for the activity. However, if a child with a disability is kept from applying or is not seriously considered, that could be discrimination. Also some activities, clubs, intramural athletics, etc, should be open to any student.
Jane: Hi Veronica , Wanted to add my 2 cents. You question if it would be discrimination to allow students who have IEPs to participate if students without IEPs would not be automatically included. Wouldn’t the person who has a IEP typically have a disability that would deny them the right due to their disability. I mean you can’t deny the right to participate based on the disability.
FAPE: DOES THIS GIVE UP OUR RIGHT TO FAPE??
Teresa: Our daughter just entered 6th and has been on IEP since 1st grade. She reads at 2nd /3rd grade level and has shown very poor progress on test results(performed by school). We are in the midst of retesting &new IEP review in 50 days w school due to our formal request tomschool stating the IEP has failed, Our daughter has dyslexia & school’s not meeting the needs. We have asked for our daughter to miss the first 3 hrs of school to go to specialized Barton reading based school while we waiting for results &agree on remediation plan – we can’t waste another day. We did the program over summer and it has advanced our daughter tremendously. The school has called a meeting and wants write in the IEP that we are denying services (sp. ed. math, lang. arts and reading) to attend the Barton program. I fear this gives up our rights to FAPE. Help!
SharonL: Teresa, my son did not progress 1/2 a year in one year & is dyslexic based on a multifactored eval that the school did. We sent a certified letter to the school requesting an outside eval at the school’s expense which is our right. The school sent us a list of places to get the eval. We did NOT go to any of those places. We went to a prof in dyslexia based on a recommendation from our attorney. The results of the outside eval were amazing. The recommendations were excellent. BAse on this eval and a threat from us to go due process the school hired an outside tutor that was certified in Wilson reading & Alphetic Phonics. The school proceeded to pay for this tutor for our son for 6 yrs. He went from 1st gr reading to 10th gr reading. We did not pay for any of it as FAPE is the school’s job not ours.
FAPE: SUING FOR DAMAGES
Anne: My child had and IEP at the school where I worked; had gotten in trouble several times. I know confidentiality had been broken against & have seen it 1st hand about others. I have left job because of stress from the gossip & deceit going on. It has had a large impact on me because of what has happened. I also know for a fact that procedures were not followed properly. Can someone guide me to what type of lawyer I need to seek out to sue for damages?
Dawn: Anne -
1) did your child have a BIP in place?
2) what documentation do you have that support procedures were not in place?
3) if pursuing an attorney, who will ask you the above, you want an attorney that is an educational advocate or who specializes in special education / education. Google “special education attorney in (your state).
Last, before you try to sue for damages, be sure that you have documented evidence of your claim that your child and others were not receiving FAPE.
Goals: HOW TO MEASURE BEHAVIORAL GOALS
Jill: What are the different ways to measure behavioral goals in an IEP? My school is currently only using teacher feedback, random observations by resource specialists and a daily behavioral chart. I want to see and have them collect data in the forms of numbers and tallies. Hard core data. Is there a proper way to do this type of data collection? A type of measurement system I can ask them them to use. Thanks.
Sharon L.: Jill, you can request a behavior assessment from the school. You need to send a letter requesting the assessment & then within 5 business days you need to sign their consent form if you have not heard back from them sooner. After you sign the consent form they have 60 days to get the assessment done. After it is done there will be a report & meeting with the team including the person who performed the assessment. You may request a DRAFT of this report to go over ahead of time. You may ask professionals to read it or a physician to determine if you want to add/subtract anything. Once you have the meeting this needs to be added to the IEP & the box for behavior plan needs to be checked. Tthe teachers will need to be informed of the behavior plan & would need to follow it because it is now on the IEP & the IEP is the law.
Goals: DISTRICT DENIES WRITING GOALS DESPITE AGREEING THERE IS SEVERE DISCREPANCY
Buster: The district agrees that my daughter has severe discrepancies between expected ability and performance in the areas of math calculation and written expression. The district has, however, formally denied the requests for goals in these areas stating that my daughter’s needs are being appropriately addressed through accommodations in the regular education program (e.g., use of a calculator). They base their statement on broad category progress in her report card. This same report card, however, shows that grade-level standards are not being met in the specific areas of math calculation and spelling. I have raised the OSEP Ellie/Felton letter with little effect. Can the school deny writing goals based on the assertion that accommodation are sufficient?
SharonL: Buster, the district can tell you anything they want but they must put it in a document called Prior Written Notice. I am assuming your daughter is on an IEP. I would request an IEP meeting and discuss this again and request that they put goals for math and written expression. If they refuse they must give you a Prior Written Notice or they must work with you to come to an agreement. I usually take a digital tape recorder to my IEP meetings and I tell the school ahead of time I am doing this so they know. Once you get the aggreement or the prior written notice you may then decide to consult with a professional such as an attorney, advocate, math or writing professional. You may also consider requesting an outside evaluation at public expense.
Goals: MEASURABLE ACADEMIC GOALS IN THE IEP?
Susan: Based on the IDEA Laws, Can an IEP include measurable academic annual goals, when the IEP is for ADHD inattentive type, qualifying under Other Health Impairments? My concern is that even with accommodations and modifications, we have no measurable academic goals to monitor academic progress. Just behavioral goals are included on IEP. Thanks!
Wrightslaw: Susan, the Present Levels in the IEP (required by IDEA) should accurately describe both your child’s academic achievement and functional performance. The IEP team must look at your child’s unique academic, developmental, and functional needs. If your child’s disability is affecting his academic achievement or he has needs or weaknesses in this area, the IEP team should write IEP goals to address these issues. All goals in the IEP, academic or behavioral, should be measurable.
Get up to speed in Chapter 4: Present Levels, Measurable Goals, Services in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs.
You’ll find the IDEA requirements for IEPs starting on p. 99 and p. 245 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition.
Wrightslaw: Susan – if you read the references you see how important present levels are. Present levels are based on data from objective assessments. Has your child had a recent evaluation by an expert in the private sector. Do you have data that shows his strengths and weaknesses and what his needs are?
Accommodations and modifications alone don’t often lead to the acquisition of essential skills. They are not a substitute for specialized instruction that is designed to meet your child’s unique needs. If the present levels are accurate, current, comprehensive, and based on objective test data, you will be able to see your child’s needs clearly and be able to write measurable goals in any area that will address his needs.
Use the search box on any Wrightslaw page using terms like “present levels” “objective text date” “evaluations” or scroll through the topic index for answers to your questions.
SharonL: Susan, the short answer is yes however we put our son on an OHI IEP because of his ADHD & the school tried to only put behavioral goals, social skills goals on it. I contacted the state of ohio board of education office & was told that an OHI IEP is still an IEP & any and all goals the team believes the child needs can be put on it. We went around & around with the school but was finally able to get all of the goals my son needed including educational goals.
Goals: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACCOMMODATION AND GOAL?
Bernice: Hi, my daughter is in special education and I want to know the difference between an “accommodation and a goal”. She does need extra time on assignments and her teacher has agreed to that and to also provide prior instruction to her before introducing a new topic to the class. Sort of a “pre-teach” and “re-teach” method. They insist on using accommodations rather than goals. She is not in the 504 program. Should I advocate for goals or does it really make a difference? Thank You for reviewing my question.
Jennifer: An accommodation is what the school does to help her learn and have access to learning. The things you listed sound to me like accommodations.
However, her IEP must contain goals as well. Goals are levels of performance that she should reach, or approximate, by the end of the school year or the grading period, in some instances.
By the end of the school year, Johnny will read a first grade level passage at 40 words per minute with at least 80% accuracy.
Goals must be measurable and explain what skill the student will demonstrate by a point in the school year. Get a copy of her IEP. It should have goals.
Goals: IEP GOALS UNCHANGED FOR 2 YRS
Caprice: I have twin daughters in the 5th grade M/M special day class. They transferred at the end of last year from a severely handicap class.
1. IEP Goals are the same since 2011
2. Assessments show growth but goals are the same
3. Minimal documentation or lack -documentation exists from 2011
4. My daughters come home distressed- para claps her hands loudly , gets in heir face and tells them to focus( tone of voice is elevated)
I am concerned because their goals have not changed. I don’t feel that they are getting their needs met. My concern is that they will push aside concerns as they have done before. How can I ensure that new goals will be formed and my children will be respected.
SharonL: Caprice, unfortunately schools get stuck using the same goals year after year. This has happened to us. We put together some goals we thought were appropriate to our son & brought them to the IEP meeting to get them incorporated. We brought up the fact that the goals seemed to be unchanged from the previous year. We were able to get the goals updated. The best bet is to get an IEP meeting together & discuss.
ASDmom: write a letter documented all and ask for IEP meeting. Go with ideas for new goals. Go up chain of command if necessary with letters.
Goals: REPEATING GOALS ON IEP
Kelly: My 7yo son with autism and down syndrome has had the same speech, pre-academic, and self-help goals going on his 4th IEP in a row. Is this typical? Several of the OT objectives are several year repeats too.
SharonL: Kelly, yes it is typical but not appropriate. We had this happen to our sons as well until we discovered that this should not happen. It means that they are either not meeting the goals or not giving new goals. YOu need to find out. If it is the first they are not meeting FAPE. If it is the latter get an advocate or outside tutor/professional to help you at the meeting write appropriate goals so your child can move ahead.
Goals: MATH GOALS NOT TAUGHT
Debbie: The goals and objectives for Math in my son’s IEP were not taught this year and are not even in the math text book. I have brought it to the IEP teams attention as well as principles with no acknowledgment or response. What can I do?
SharonL: Debbie, rirst you need to request an IEP meeting & request evidence of progression. You will need evidence before you can prove that they have not taught your child. WE have run into this before. We requested all of the quarterly reports & then hired a tutor/math professional to review the reports & work with our son to see what he does & does not know. We have asked the tutor/professional to come to the IEP meetings (be sure you let the team know if advance & be prepared to pay the professional for their time). This can go far in determing what is going on & what needs to be done to rectify the situation. If after this the school refuses to put in the suggested goals, etc they must put any refusals in writing in a prior written notice letter. Usually they will work with you instead.
Homebound: HOME TUTORING HOURS
Jane: My son has an IEP as Health Impaired and has unfortunately been sick almost the whole year. The school has finally offered Home Tutoring for 2 hours a week for the last 5 weeks of school. It’s not much, but it is a start since he has not received any instruction, since at least January (today is 6/12/12). How many hours of Home Tutoring are equal to hours of in class instruction? He needs more hours of home tutoring. The school is considering if he needs ESY. He’s in 10th grade. I think a private placement would be best, since he is not receiving FAPE, and has a lot of catching up to do, What are your suggestions? THANKS for your support! Jane
Lisa: Jane, sorry to hear you are having many of the same struggles we are. I would assume that home tutoring would not be hour for hour equivalent, because of course it is individual instruction. But I have never heard of any set rule about a ratio.
I am jealous you are getting any tutoring-we can’t get ANY. Do you think they will continue to provide it to you after the summer? I have been fighting this fight for years and so far haven’t been able to figure out a single way to keep my daughter up with school. How many days annually does your son usually miss? Mine misses about 30. Do you have anything in your IEP to keep your son up with school that actually works? Have you found any private schools who say that they can keep him up?
Wrightslaw: Issues of homebound are determined in part by state law and state regs, if any, on the subject. IDEA 2004 and the federal regs provide no guidance on this issue. However the IEP controls the services, regardless of where they are delivered – at home or in the public school. The IEP team determines what the child required in order to receive FAPE, i.e., a free appropriate public education.
Homebound: HOMEBOUND INSTRUCTION NOT ADEQUATE
Michelle: If a child cant attend school with doc note, a teacher is sent to the home by the district. it can only be 3 hours per week and does not need to be a special ed teacher. there also does not need to be any assistive technology special ed programs used, even though there is an iep. does this sound correct? there is also only one retired associate hs principal working with inhome kids as the teacher and we were told there was no other choice. any thoughts?
Sandy: Michelle, check your state’s laws/regs on homebound. Call your state department of education or a “parent training information center” in your state. In my state (IL), this would not be adequate. I expect that to receive FAPE in homebound placement, a child would need assistive tech (if it’s in the IEP), a sped teacher, etc. depending on the child’s FAPE needs. An artificial time limit of 3 hours a week sounds wrong (in IL it’s 5 hours and it’s a minimum, not a maximum). So please look into this, and good luck!
IDEA 2004: DOES SPEC ED LAW APPLY TO VO-TECH SCHOOLS?
Susan: I’m trying to find out if the special education laws are the same for vocational-technical high schools as they are for other public high schools. My son goes to a vo-tech high school in New Jersey. It’s a public school, and my understanding is that ALL public schools receive government funding, and as such are mandated to adhere to the State and Federal special education laws. The vo-tech school my son attends, however, is NOT his district school, and I think there’s only one vo-tech high school for each county, and any student who doesn’t maintain passing grades is made to leave (in which case, they’d have to return to their district high school). However, my son has an IEP and I’m wondering if there is any part of the special education laws which DON’T apply to a vo-tech school. I heard there is.
Morning: I checked out vocational schools for my child a few years ago and received the same type of response. The special ed. teacher at the voc. school was honest and pointed out that the work gets harder and they have to “keep up” and that special ed. staff was fewer. She was positive but realistic. I live in a state close to you and with the advice that the special ed. teacher gave me I looked at my child’s interests and we chose other avenues to transition to a career or college. The parent and child must do a lot of research and advocacy but know that some teachers at that level may not accommodate regardless for whatever reason. It is frustrating. Keep advocating. I know kids with LD who are successful at voc. schools.
Chuck: Since these schools are part of the public school systems, the state & federal special ed laws apply to them. Public schools receive a lot of federal vocational funds (called Perkins funds) & a public school(s) receive federal sp ed funds for the sp ed students attending the vocational schools. Many such schools do not know how to individualize for students, but they are required to. Many parents do not know to push them to do this.
Morning: Chuck, you make excellent points? In a culture like some of the voc schools that are not accustomed to accommodating for LD students, how do parents truly push for the rights in a system steeped with “old school” mentality? I have found teachers very accommodating in elementary and middle school for the most part. High school is a different process though many wonderful teachers do accommodate. It becomes exhausting for a parent to keep “pushing.” Here is one solution. I know many parents who do a lot of research and teach the teacher how to accommodate. It works if the teachers are receptive and many are as it makes their jobs easier. I would not totally depend on a teacher to know everything. My goal is to “make it work” for my child and for the teacher. Any thoughts?
Chuck: Morning, you are correct that HSs tend to have a different culture & attitude toward dealing with student differences. This makes it difficult & exhausting for parents when pushing for their child. I favor doing what you mention. Look for educators who are student advocates or at least open to suggestions. If you can find such people, it makes your efforts more productive & less likely to make staff defensive. If you can find a supportive administrator on the campus or in the district that can be very useful.
Independent Evaluation IEEs: WHO PAYS FOR IEE?
Sue: Dear Wrightslaw, I have been searching your site for the answer to this question. It appears that parents can ask for an IEE. If the school district refuses, the school can request due process hearing. The parents must justify why they feel they need an IEE. The parent may pick an evaluator who is not on the the school district’s approved list, but must be able to justify it, too. Is all this correct? If all this is correct, is it more time effficient to go ahead and pay for it yourself? What is the likelihood that the school will accept the opinion of an IEE that the parents paid for? I am a single parent, and at the point that the burden of attending so many IEP meetings on top of time off caring for my child when he is ill or for well child visits/dentist is impacting my job security.
SharonL: Sue, the school pays for an independent educational evaluation. You do NOT have to use any of the people who are on the school’s “suggested list.” Request a copy of the policy that the school uses regarding the IEP. Our school has a booklet called ” Who’s IDEA is this?” that explains what parents can do and what the school can do, etc. The school policy will discuss IEE’s if a parent does not agree with the results of the school’s testing. If you have not requested an evaluation by the school, you must do that first. That will give you something to go by. You may or may not agree with it. If the school evaluates and you do not agree with the results, you can get at IEE at the school’s expense. Yes, the school has a right to file a due process hearing about your request for an IEE but I haven’t seen this happen. If you get an IEE or an evaluation by a psychologist in the private sector, the school must consider the test results but they are not obligated to implement the recommendations.
Chuck: You need to study your state guidelines. In TX the regs say that if the school refuses to pay for an IEE, they must ask for a due process & they must defend why their evaluation is appropriate & an IEE is not needed. The burden is on them. Because of the loss of staff time and the cost of school attorneys, schools would spend much more to defend their testing than the IEE would cost. So in TX most schools agree to pay for IEE’s.
Independent Evaluations IEE: INDEPENDENT EVALUATIONS
Linda: If I said I was satisfied with my child’s evaluation at the time of her reevaluation meeting can I change my mind after a month or so and ask for and expect to get an independent evaluation?
Sandy: Linda, you should be able to request an independent educational evaluation under these circumstances. A month is not an unreasonable time to change your mind. (MA regs, for instance, give you this right for 16 months, and under IDEA, the time might even be longer depending on the situation.) So I say go for it – good luck!
Independent Evaluations IEE: CAN I ASK FOR AN OUTSIDE EVAL?
Marlene: My 11 yr. daughter has a IEP that makes no sense to me, she is failing social studies and science, does fair in math with modified work. The other teachers are not doing this even though it is in the IEP. Because of what the school psychologist put in his report, I don’t feel like she is being treated fairly. She is on 5 different meds. The problem is he doesn’t like me. I tried to get her help last year and had no luck. I was told I could ask for a outside psychological exam at the school expense. is this true? If so how do I find an agency to do this?
Wrightslaw: Marlene, take some time to read the articles on Wrightslaw about evaluations. Start with this one: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/test.iee.steedman.htm. Then go to the Evaluations page and read through those articles. http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/test.index.htm
You’ll find many results if you enter the term [ Independent Educational Exam or IEE ] in the search box on any Wrightslaw page.
To find help in your state, you can use the Yellow Pages for Kids at http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/help/states.htm.
Independent Evaluations IEE: PRIVATE EVALUATIONS IN PARENT REFERRAL
Fonda: If the parent has provided the school with a two psychological evaluations and an occupational therapy evaluation on their child and the school does not do their own testing in the those same areas in a parent referral for special education, would the school use the evaluations the parent provided as their own?
SharonL: Fonda, the schools are obligated to review the evaluations but do not have to use them. They can use them but do not have to. Did you request to have the school do the evaluations in writing? Did you sign their consent form? If you have done this they should complete the evaluation within 60 days or provide you with prior written notice if they refuse.
Fonda: The schools have stated they are going to evaluate but they do not feel that they should evaluate in all the suspected areas of disabilities I listed in the letter because they would be duplicating testing. That is why I asked would that mean they are using the evaluations I have provided.
Independent Evaluations IEE: TIME LIMIT TO REQUEST IEE AT PUBLIC EXPENSE
JillC: My son was evaluated in 2/2013 and the CSE meeting was 4/30/2013 in which he was denied an IEP. I have since learned more about the process and have recently requested an IEE at public expense. The district replied that I am out of the time frame (90 days) to disagree with the results. I have reviewed IDEA 500.302 but I have not been successful in finding anything that would allow me to respond to the school that they can not limit the time frame to disagree with the results. Is it too late for me to get an IEE at public expense? Any help would be appreciated. If it makes a difference we are located in NY state.
Sandy: Federal law does not state a specific timeframe, though perhaps your state law does. Even if it does, 90 days would probably not be it. In my experience courts consider a year reasonable, 18 months to 2 years maybe (that’s where it gets dicey). Ask them to show you where in writing it states the 90 day timeframe – they won’t be able to!
Independent Evaluations IEEs: IEE FOR CHILD WITH 504 PLAN
Jennifer: I wonder if a student with a 504 is able to request an IEE? I have seen on nlcd.org that only a student on an IEP is able to request one. Is this true? My daughter has a 504 due to learning issues that stem from a neurological disease. We would like an additional evaluation (MLAT) to determine if she “has a disability that adversely affects her ability to learn a foreign language.” Outside of school she has been “diagnosed” with dyslexia and auditory processing difficulties as part of a larger neurological diagnosis of Neurofibromatosis type 1. This information is listed on her 504. She is very bright, yet has significant difficulties in the areas of spanish and math. We want to determine if she should be exempt from spanish. Thank you, Jennfier
Wrightslaw: Given your daughter’s neurological and learning issues – dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, and Neurofibromatosis, I’m surprised that she was not found eligible for special education and an IEP that provides her with a free, appropriate education. There are significant differences between IDEA and Section 504.
Section 504 is a civil rights law that is intended to prevent individuals from discrimination due to a disability. Section 504 is not an educational law and does not provide the same rights and protections as IDEA, including the right to an IEE. Please consider requesting that the school evaluate her for special education eligibility.
Jennifer: Our daughter has a 504 because that’s where we started. We wanted the least restrictive program for her. Didn’t push an IEP because we didn’t think she needed special ed. She did well in elem school with ALOT of help from us. Once she entered 7th grade she started having more difficulty and we started a 504 plan. Now in 9th grade she is continuing to have alot of difficulty in 2 areas (math and spanish). We asked for an IEE to see an outside psych (ours is not qualified to give this particular test, the MLAT) to determine if her disabilities extend into the range of learning a foreign language. So are we really asking for an IEE or simply for a test to determine a disability that our school psych isn’t qualified to give?? We do not dispute the results of her intial testing years ago, however the MLAT was not part of her intial testing.
Jennifer: Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it. I have asked for a meeting with school to discuss everything we know and may want to proceed with an IEP. We just wanted our daughter to be as independent as possible, and thought accommodations might just be able to do it without adding specific special education. Aside from Spanish and math her other grades are in the 90′s. So we are trying to muddle through this. Thank you for your reply! I really appreciate it. Thanks, Jennifer
Wrightslaw: Jennifer, I understand and hope you know I was not criticizing you. We are going through a similar situation with a grandchild who has reading comprehension and severe written language problems. The school strongly “encouraged” the parents to accept a 504 plan.
The school social worker actually said, “You don’t want him to be labeled – do you?” Our grandchild piped up, “My granddaddy has dyslexia and dysgraphia too!” Out of the mouths of babes.
The hard part is getting the school to provide the services he needs. The elephant in the room is the fact that most educators don’t know how to remediate these problems. Their solutions are to provide accommodations, lower expectations, and socially promote kids who are not prepared.
Off my soapbox now.
IEPs: IEP REVOKED UPON MOVE TO NEW STATE
Sara: My daughter had an IEP from Kindergarten. It was reviewed every year, part of it was for a developmental issues. When we moved from CA to OR her 6th grade year, we were told she didn’t qualify for an IEP because the developmental issue didn’t seem to be there anymore, but that was only part not the full reason for the IEP. And the psychologist in OR never even talked to her. They held her back in the 6th grade and now we have moved to NY but were told she is not eligible to be tested due to the paperwork from OR, even after we told them what happened. They won’t look at the paperwork from CA. Yet they tell me to have her checked for ADD which the Dr. says she doesn’t have. How do I get her re-tested?
Wrightslaw: Sara, if I understand your facts, you moved from CA to OR when your daughter was in 6th grade. The receiving district in Oregon decided she was not a child with a disability and did not develop an IEP or provide special ed services.
Later, you moved to NY. Your daughter was no longer a child with a disability. To get special ed services, you have to start the clock again. Before taking that step, get a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation by a psychologist in the private sector who has expertise in her disability. This evaluation should identify her needs and help determine if she is eligible for special education according to the criteria in NY.
As your child’s advocate, you need to become familiar with the NY special ed regs. You can find them on the NY DOE site at http://www.nysed.gov/
IEPs: IEP NOT APPROVED BY PARENT – CAN’T GET MEDIATION OR ANOTHER MEETING SET
Barb: I checked 2 corresponding boxes “Do not agree with the IEP” and “Request Mediation” right above the signature line and then I signed the IEP – MONTHS AGO! However the school already implemented the IEP anyway.
They have stated that we should have another IEP Meeting first before Mediation but they are giving me the run around about getting a “new IEP Meeting” set up. They tentatively schedule the meeting and then they indicate that they have a “conflict” and need to reschedule but the rescheduling is an exercise in insanity because nothing seems to work for the school staff.
What can I do to get them to take “real” action and schedule a firm IEP meeting or IEP Mediation? What can I do to get them to STOP doing some of what they are doing?
Sharon: Barb, once you request mediation everything is supposed to be put on hold. They should not have implemented the changes in the IEP until after mediation. If the school has stated that you should have another IEP meeting prior to mediation, then they should have scheduled it within a specific time frame. The district is probably out of compliance at this time.
Check your local procedural safeguard notice (you should have received one with you notice for an IEP meeting), and find out how many days your LEA allows in which to schedule an IEP meeting. With that information, write to the district chairperson. Use the format in the Letter to a Stranger which can be found in the FETA book.
Chuck: Have you made a complaint to the state education agency & requested mediation? If not go to their website & study the procedures & file a written request for mediation with them. The Procedural Safeguards Document that the school gives you should also give you this information. However, the state website might be a better source.
IEPs: SERVICES /ITEMS LISTED IN IEP
DebraL: If an IEP includes OT items such as a slant board and OT kit, do they have to use them?
The OT therapist and Special Education Case Manager told me they are there just in case she needs them, but they said she doesn’t so they don’t use them. She has ADHD and Dyspraxia and needs these items.
Wrightslaw: Yes, educators and related service providers are required to provide the services and supports in the child’s IEP. Do you remember what was said during the IEP meeting about using the slant board and OT kit? What problems does your child have that led the team to write this into the IEP?
We encourage parents to write letters after IEP meetings to document what the school agreed to provide and why. NO ONE WANTS TO WRITE A LETTER so most parents are swamped and don’t write the letter. Later, when you have difficulty getting the school to provide services they agreed to, you see why it’s essential to document these things in writing. As Pete says, “If it isn’t in writing, it was never said.”
IEPs: FIRST GRADER w/ IEP-FRUSTRATED THAT DISTRICT HAS NO INTEGRATED CLASSES, WOULD LIKE ESY FOR CHILD TOO
Lynn: My son is in 1st grade – in a regular education classroom with related services (OT, PT, Counseling) and a special education consultant teacher (1 hour a day). He entered Kindergarten with an IEP as he has been receiving services since he was 13 months-old. He has made slow progress and is about a year behind. Last year they recommended that he be retained (they mentioned it again, I feel it’s their roundabout way to get students to “grade level”). I was adamantly against this, as I feel this goes against everything that Special Education stands for. Integrated would be perfect as it would give him on-going support throughout the day. How do I request the district to consider this? He does not belong in self-contained, their only other option. How do I also request ESY?
Chuck: Lynn, the National School Psychologists Association has for many taken the position that retention is not appropriate. IDEA requires procedures for removing a child from the general ed classroom. It would help if you can find what your state education agency tells schools about these. Then you can be quote these to the school, if you need to. I suggest that you contact your state’s parent training & information center. (State PTIs under resources on this website’s home page.) You can also find info on ESY there.
IEPs: CHILD AT IEP MEETING
Ann: Does a parent have the right to request that their 16 year-old child not attend and/or participate in an IEP meeting?
Sandy: Ann, at age 16 (or in some states, 14 1/2), the school must invite the child to attend. But if the parent strongly feels the child should not attend, I think you have that right, as the child is still a minor. That said, usually it’s a good thing to have the child of that age attend, even if only for part of the meeting (maybe the very end where decisions are made). Hope this helps!
SharonL: Ann, yes, you do not have to have your child at the IEP meeting if you do not want it.
IEPs: SCHOOL CHANGING IEP
Melinda: Does a school district (or school) have the right to change the IEP listing from having a specific Learning Disability ( across the board) to Intellectual disabled? doesn’t a qualified Medical personnel have to do that? The school told me the child will get the same services listed on the IEP so why change the “Label” How do I as a parent respond to this?
Jennifer: There should always be current data, meaning a battery of formal testing results and curriculum based assessment, to justify the diagnosis. The diagnosis, or handicapping condition (learning disabled, intellectually disabled, etc.) is a COMMITTEE decision, not the school’s decision alone. No, a medical expert is not required. If the school feels that a change in the handicapping condition is warranted, ask to see new testing that backs this up. As a special education teacher, I shudder at the thought of changing a student’s condition to ID without formal, objective data that is current.
IEPs: SICK CHILD NEEDS HEALTH PLAN AND EMERGENCY PLAN – SCHOOL BALKS
Melinda: My child has documented heart condition and CP with ADHD. He has an IEP. The school is rejecting if not refusing giving my child an Individualized Health Plan (IHP) and Emergency Care Plan (ECP? Is my child protected under the federal disability laws?
Wrightslaw: Melinda, we’ve published several posts about health plans and medical plans on the Wrightslaw Way blog.
Read these posts – I think they will answer your questions:
“Can we include a Health Care Plan in My Child’s IEP?”
“Doing the Work Gets Results: How a parent got the services her child needs, including a medical management plan and treatment plan”
After you read these posts, please let us know if they / we answered your questions. ~ Pam
IEPs: SCHOOL REQUIRES RELEASE FORM FOR SUPPORT PERSON AT IEP
Vanessa: I live in Washington State and just recently in my school district certain families have been asked to sign a third party release of information form when they are bringing a support person; advocate; or family member to an IEP meeting.
The attorneys for the district have stated that this a requirement by law because the individuals listed above are considered a third party. The parent is not required to sign one for a IEP team member from the district who has not been to the students IEP in the past. We are confused it has been the understanding under IDEA that a parent can bring someone to the IEP meeting to be support. The parents have had meetings in the past and have not been requested to sign a release form.
Does this issue fall under the FERPA Laws? Please Help
Chuck: Yes this falls under FERPA. You may want to review this topic under the list on the Wrightslaw home page. This is a common practice at meetings & does not prevent you from bringing whom you want to IEP meetings.
IEPs: IEP AND SPORTS
Noel: My daughter has IEP (SLD) and plays soccer and may become ineligible because of grades, how can I help ensure her success. Soccer is part of the reason she loves school. Noel
MORNING: Aside from the sports, if there are issues with grades–then a PPT should be held to look at the child’s deficits, accommodations, strengths, progress monitoring, etc. My child has an IEP, loves sports, plays competitively at the high school level, etc. I agree that sports do motivate kids–it motivates my child to keep her grades high to remain eligible. She has to work very hard, use AT and just put in a lot of time to stay on top of her grades. It is not easy for her but she loves the sports. At the high school level, there are eligibility issues. But, if a child is struggling (and I do personally understand your concerns), I would work both with the PPT team to understand the academic difficulties and the coach to help motivate the child. Grades come first and sports second in my home. But, sports are fun!!
IEPs: TIME LIMIT ON IEP MEETING
Louise: Principal put a time limit on my 3 year iep meeting. I was told he could not do this, however after reading many articles I can not find anywhere prohibiting a time limit for a meeting. Does anyone know where I can find this info?
Wrightslaw: There is nothing in the federal law about time limits on IEP meetings. In some cases, more than one meeting is needed.
We don’t encourage parents to request long meetings. When meetings go on for more than an hour or so, they tend to become unproductive. In general, it’s better to have 2-3 short well-organized meetings than a long marathon. ~ Pam
IEPs: MEDICAL MANAGEMENT PLAN IN IEP
Alexia: My son has autism and epilepsy and we had a PPT to update his IEP and go over a medical action plan if he has a seizure at school. I recieved the new IEP and found no mention of my son’s medical condition or the action plan for a seizure mentioned or attached to the IEP. Should it in the IEP or is the IEP strickly for educational accomodations/goals and objectives? I would think the IEP would make mention of the medical action plan somewhere?
Wrightslaw: Alexia – You should be able to include all needed accommodations in your daughter’s IEP. Read this post. http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=7544
Sue Whitney explains how to create a health care plan that can be included in the IEP. Be sure to review the links in the post. Good luck.
IEPs: SCHEDULING IEP MEETINGS
Janice R: Can a parent request an IEP at 3:30 p.m. so that both parents can attend? School ends at 2:27….the reply I received is that the teacher can’t stay after 2:40 p.m.???? I have always been accommodating but I don’t have any personal time left at work. I thought IEP meetings were to be held at the parent’s convenience?
SharonL: Janice R, there is a document you can sign to allow the regular ed teacher to be exempt from the meeting. The contract that the regular ed teacher has with the school is such that the teacher can refuse to meet after contracted hours if he/she does not want to meet. You can tell the IEP team you will sign him/her out of the IEP meeting. This should allow you to be able to have the meeting. If the regular ed teacher ‘s input is very important could you meet during him/her contracted time and let him/her go first so he/she can leave when the contracted time is done? This should help take care of this situation. Also meetings and be done via conference phone. Perhaps the teacher would be willing to do this.
IEPs: DISAGREEING WITH AN IEP
Jerri: I need a little guidance on this one. I had a CSE mtg. on 11/25/08, taped of course. In total I spent 12mins saying reschedule due to 200.3(c)(ii) no general ed teacher… Long story filed a state complaint just heard back and although they will remove the IEP from his files they will not do anything about holding the chairperson accountable for the falisified notes( and I mean completely falsified). I just find this unbelievable. Other than filing with the office of professionals and the attorney general I am not sure where to take this. The state said they could not attach the complaint to any regulation about falsifying the IEP and I should be happy they are removing it HA, it should have never happened as no CSE took place… Appreciate any advice. THANKS!!!
Sharon: If you attend an IEP meeting and disagree with the findings/new IEP, or the teacher of the child has not participated, you must request a new meeting to resolve these issues. Before you leave the room, however, if you know you are going to request a new meeting, state that you want PENDENCY. Do not leave the room until you have this in writing. It is a good idea to go to your IEP meeting with a copy of the letter requesting pendency in hand. If you don’t need it let it stay in your file, but if you do, whip it out, and have the person who led the meeting sign it, make a copy, and return the copy to you. It must be dated and signed by you as well. With this on record, the school will not be able to implement any changes until a new IEP meeting is held. It will probably speed things up as well.
Jerri: Thanks so much for the advice, unfortunately I did claim pendency in writing etc. They refused to sign. I find it sad that in most professions people are held accountable but not spec. ed. or ed unless the offense is obscene and completely blatant…I don’t know where most bloggers are but I’m in NY downstate. Just very frustated here. I should be use to it by now but it is always an uphill battle I have found( I have 2 neurotypical, mainstream kids as well) without issues of any sort with schools. Very sad as I said. Being an nurse I expect more, sorry just my foolishness, LOL.
Sharon: Jerri, I am also in NY, NYC in fact. There is an almost foolproof way to get things accomplished. When the team is difficult and refuses to sign, ask them to call in the district chairperson. You are entitled to that. There is a paralegal in the office. The paralegal has to walk a thin line between loyalty to her position in CSE and the law. Usually, she will not jeopardize her credentials as a paralegal.
Put your letter requesting pendency in a sealed envelope. Give the envelope to the receptionist and ask that she sign a receipt (that you prepared and brought with you). The receptionist may be leery about doing this.
Keep a copy of your letter and the signed receipt. If you need to go to mediation or to impartial review, you have documented evidence that you requested pendency and it was denied. Remember – the law is on your side – use it.
Harry: We told our school district in writing that we did not agree to the new IEP for our six year old daughter, they instituted all the provisions anyway. A month later we were told they had “lost our letter”. What can we do?
David1: Harry, it may help to email each member of your child’s IEP team, and include the Director of Special Services at the school District level, with your disapproval letter attached. The email should reference the date that the original was sent and that your email is in response to their report that they lost the previous copy. Ask them to place a copy of the email in your child’s file. This will advise all members of the IEP team that you do not agree with their decision.
IEPs: SCHOOL WON’T SCHEDULE IEP SO I CAN ATTEND
Sarah: I am a teacher and my son is a kindergarten student with autism in a different school district. At his recent team meeting, I asked about the date and time of his annual IEP. The teacher told me but I told her that I am not available. She told me that she has absolutely no other time to hold the meeting. The school schedules a substitute teacher monthly and they hold all IEP’s for the month on that date. She told me that they would hold the meeting without me and I would have to sign an excusal form and then meet with her later to discuss what had happened.
This doesn’t seem fair or right to me. If i am not available, shouldn’t the school work with me on the date and time (as long as it is before the annual due date)? Does this seem like a dispute that I could take to due process if I can’t get an appropriate resolution with the school?
frustrated mom: Sarah, parents have to provide consent to the IEP. If parents aren’t involved in developing the IEP as members of the team, how would they give consent?
The law about IEPs is in Section 1414(d). If you have a copy of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, turn to page 101. You’ll see (B) Individualized Education Team midway down the page in bold type. Parents are listed first. The federal regulations about IEPs are on pages 245-251. Required members of the IEP team are listed on pages 246-247. Again, parents are listed first.
frustrated mom: also for Sarah – What is the parent’s role in the IEP process?
“The parents of a child with a disability are expected to be equal participants along with school personnel, in developing, reviewing, and revising the IEP of their child. This role is an active role in which the parents
(1) provide critical information regarding the strengths of their child and express their concerns for enhancing the education of their child;
(2) participate in discussions about the child’s needs for special education and related services and supplementary aids and services; and
(3) join with the other participants in deciding how the child will be involved and progress in the general curriculum and participate in State and district-wide assessments, and what services the agency will provide to the child and in what setting.
IEPs: HAVEN’T RECEIVED IEP 3 MONTHS AFTER MEETING
Laurel: I have 2 sons with autism, my younger son has multiple profound disabilities. My older son has Aspergers syndrome & has been placed in affective needs spec ed classrooms for 6 grades.His schools have always insisted that he’s choosing to misbehave, & they wouldn’t acknowledge his autism. At his IEP in Feb., his label was finally changed to autism and he was to be placed in reg ed with accommodations. Three months later, I still don’t have a copy of his IEP, he is still in the affective needs self contained class but joining the regular ed students for specials. Is there a time limit for the school to give parents a copy of a new, revised IEP? I’ve asked for it multiple times.
SharonL: Laurel Did you ever have an IEP meeting and then get a signed IEP that you and the school signed? If so they should get you a copy the next day or a few days later. I don’t understand what the situation is. It almost sounds like the IEP has not been signed,etc. Can you go to the school and get the copy yourself? This may be the thing to do.
Laurel: Hi Sharon L, thanks so much for your response. It’s a strange situation. The school has a draft of the proposed IEP at the meeting and I sign an attendance form and a form that I know my rights. In the past I’ve always received the finished final copy of the IEP a week or two after the actual IEP meeting. I’ve emailed my son’s teacher and asked her in person when I can get a copy of the new IEP from February. They always say the IEP is still in an approval process with the administrative dept maybe, or another department. I’m not sure. It doesn’t make sense to me and I’ve never had to wait more than a couple weeks for the finished/finalized IEP to be sent home. I have no idea what they’re doing that’s taking so long : (
Cher: Hi Laurel. I am so sorry to hear that you are having so much trouble getting a copy of your child’s IEP. Sharon L. is correct. Either go to the school or go to your Board of Education office to get the copy of the IEP. Over the last ten years we have learned a lot of lessons the hard way in dealing with our local school district. I would NEVER leave an IEP meeting without getting a copy of the IEP that I just signed. I tell the school up front that I need a copy right now. If they need a few minutes to get all the necessary signatures and make the appropriate changes that is alright with me. I have signed IEP’s, left the meeting and a week or two later received a copy of the IEP with changes made to it, changes I did not agree to. When you get your copy, read it carefully. Good Luck!
SharonL: Laurel, it sounds like the school does not have an official IEP for your child. If you have never signed the IEP and have only looked at DRAFT IEP’s they may be following the last agreed upon IEP. YOu need to write a letter and send it cerfified mail requesting a final copy of the IEP and see if your signature is on it. If not then there is no IEP without your signature. I would not wait another minute. It sounds like something is not right.
Sandy: A properly constituted IEP Team includes a district member with authority to commit resources. There is no outside approval needed usually (though I’ve heard of something like that in NYC IEPs, I believe). 3 months is absurd – as the others have said, you need to get your copy ASAP!
IEPs: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT IEP
Aileen: My child qualified under a physical disability not under SLD. Even though my child has LD (as proven by test results and doctors ) and is failing in her academic classes. The IEP team handed me a drafted IEP with four functional area goals and very limited services for these four areas: social, organization, career/transition and speech. No services, no goals for academic or performance or progress goals in this IEP and the school said your child didn’t qualify under LD so we don’t have to provide these services. I said what about she’s failing in her academic classes and this should be part of her IEP goals? The school said no, this is what we are offering you, take it or leave it. What is your advice and how do I incorporate the academic goals into this IEP?
SharonL: Aileen, first of all if you start taking a digital tape recorder to your meetings they will never say “take it or leave it”. AS this definitely sounds like a “no” they must provide you a prior written notice document documenting why your child does not qualify for LD. They cannot just verbally tell you that. If you want to start the physical services for your child but do not agree with all of the IEP you may sign the IEP on the line that states you agree with the IEP except for the following____ and you list what you do not agree with. AGain they must write you a Prior Written Notice when you do this. AFter they explain why your child does not qualify for LD services you can take action after you get the notice. You can request an outside evaluation at public expense(the school must pay for it).
IEPs: IEP REVIEW – BEFORE OR AFTER DUE PROCESS?
RainbowMom: After trying every other avenue, we have had to file for Due Process for placement in a more appropriate educational program for our daughter. Our daughter’s annual review of her IEP is due May9th, but our DP hearing is not until first week of July. The DOE “team” held a conference that we were not able to attend and had given then an alternate date that we could to discuss which evals/assessments etc would need to be performed, so we were not able to give any input. They are pressuring us to hold the IEP meeting April 30th, but we feel strongly that we should not meet until after our DP hearing is heard and a decision made. What would be the repercussions of postponing the meeting until after our DP hearing?
SharonL: Rainbow Mom, I was always under the impression that when a due process law suit is filed with the school the IEP goes into what is called “stay put”. This means that nothing happens to the IEP until the results of the due process is over. I am unsure as to why they are trying to have an IEP meeting. Discuss with you lawyer to be sure is my best advice and don’t sign anything until you are sure you have everything you want. Very often when a parent wins due process one of the things you sign is that you never sue over that issue again so if you don’t get everything it will be difficult if not impossible to get it later.
SharonL: Rainbow mom, I am not sure why the school wants another IEP meeting? It is my understanding that when a parent requests a due process law suit that the IEP goes into what is called “stay put” and it stays in effect until the results of the due process law suit is complete. You should consult with your attorney about this to be sure you don’t do something you may regret. Be sure to get everything you want when you prevail on the law suit as the school will normally insist that you cannot sue over this situation again. If you don’t get everything you want it will be difficult if not impossible to get it later.
RainbowMom: Thank you, Sharon, for your response in regards to doing an annual IEP renewal while in DP litigation! It is confusing to us also why they are pushing the IEP renewal. Our thought is that they want to do several assessments/evaluations in order to gather some “evidence ” for the case as their case is very weak. They also want to go back and repair all of the things that they have refused our daughter and fix in their IEP. We think that the “Stay Put ” will not apply to us as we have our daughter currently enrolled in a private school at our expense and are not even implementing the IEP as we did not accept it. this makes it al lthe more interesting as our child is not even enrolled in the program that they have offered…..
IEPs: SCHOOL SAYS 13 YR OLD HAS TO ATTEND AND SIGN IEP
Tina: Can my 13 year old son who is severely autistic be made to sign his IEP in the state of KY? I was told he had to attend the IEP meeting due to his age now, plus sign the conference summary report along with a transition checklist. My son does not comprehend anything that is going on in the meeting and I am not comfortable having my son sign any type of legal document that he does not comprehend. Makes me wonder if they will be having him sign legal documents without our consent when we are now around.
Miranda: Tina, your 13 yr. old does NOT HAVE to attend the meeting nor does she HAVE to sign the IEP. ” A child with a disability may attend “if appropriate.’’ (Sec. 300.344(a)(7)). A child with a disability should attend the IEP meeting if the parent decides that it is appropriate for the child to do so.” Read that law. But, according to IDEA 300.347(b), at the age of 16 students must be INVITED to the IEP meeting. However, parents and guardians still have the right to determine the child’s ability to participate and make decisions for themselves. The parents are still the IEP team decision-makers. At the age of 18 in KY, if you do not have guardianship of your child, then he becomes his own decision-maker on the IEP team. YOU “are an equal participant along with school personnel, in developing, reviewing, and revising the IEP for their child.”
IEPs: OT TEST RESULTS / REPORT NOT READY FOR IEP TOMORROW
Kathy: My son’s triennial meeting is tomorrow at 1:00 pm and the occupational therapist emailed me saying she has completed the testing however does not have the report ready or may not attend the meeting. She is a stakeholder just like the other teachers that service my 7 year old son. What are my options at the meeting if she is not prepared with a report? I also teach Kindergarten at the school.
SharonL: Kathy, go to the meeting and discuss what is available and reschedule another meeting when the rest of the testing is complete. SEe if you can get a DRAFT copy of the test results ahead of time and then the 2nd meeting may go quicker. You don’t have to sign anything and you can opt to reschedule the IEP altogether until everything is ready.
IEPs: REMOVING IEP TEAM MEMBERS
Marie: Do we have a right to request that certain IEP Team members be removed from the team because they are uncollaborative, condescending, disrespectful and bullies to the parent and to the process? Can we, as parents, refuse to work with such people?
ASDmom: We tried requesting this – it only made school/district more adamant about having that person at our meetings because they knew the person got to us. This was someone that had absolutely nothing to do with our child, did not provide services or work with her but worked at the school and was a bully so they allowed attendance. Be very careful about asking for someone to be removed – perhaps a better approach would be to ask what their role is at the meeting while you are taping. If no good reason other than to badger you then you can mention that you hate to waste their time if it’s not necessary for them to be there. Of course have the tape recorder going. Remember if you ever go to DP you want to make sure that they NOT YOU are the one who was inappropriate.
ASDmom: Forgot to mention – we pushed hard to have person removed from team that had nothing to do with our child/just made meetings hostile. District told us at one point that the only way not to work with this person in meetings was to revoke consent for Special Ed services all together. We weren’t going to to this – our child needed the help. Again another bullying tactic. Be careful about pushing.
Morning: Keep the focus on the needs of fhe child not the behavior of a PPT member. ASDmom is right and her experience rings true for some parents. If they know a person gets under your skin, use different strategies to respond or not respond to that person. Learn conflict strategies. They are not being professional but focus on the reason you are in the meeting. I am sorry to hear that a school district would engage in such behavior. I wonder how that person treats teachers who don’t agree with him/her. Sadly, such dynamics are political and out of control. There are many teachers and administrators who love working with students to ensure FAPE.
SharonL: Marie, yes you have the right to remove team members from the IEP that are not assets to the team. I have done this on occasion and the meetings go much better. I believe it is an intimidation tactic on the school’s part.
SharonL: ASDmom, if someone gave me a blatent threat regarding not accepting services in order to get someone off off the IEP team I would ask them to put that comment in writing. I never thought I would hear that a district would have the nerve to say that to any parent. I believe you stated you taped the meetings. Usually people act better when that is done. If the person that you are referring to is hostile & causing the meetings to be non-productive you may bring in a witness to see it as well. You can always hire an attorney, advocate if it is bad enough but they should not continue to get away with that.
Wrightslaw: You can demand, but be careful you don’t set yourself up for a big fall. Read this post from Pam Wright: IEP FAQs: Can Parents Demand a Member of the IEP Team be Excluded? http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=147
ASDmom: The offer to revoke consent for Special Ed services if we didn’t like working with a certain IEP team member was sent in a letter on District letterhead from the Special Ed Director.
Yes we tape all meetings.
We have 2 children with disabilities. We filed Due Process 3x against this District. The final filing actually went to a hearing last summer. Yes we hired an Attorney to represent us. The Hearing Officer acted in the hearing like he was going to rule in our favor and pushed several times for the District to settle shortly after we rested our case. However, he ruled in their favor 2 months later in the official decision. He said that the child only had to have some benefit at school and that even if regression occurred (we proved this) that FAPE was provided if there was some benefit somewhere. We now drive our children to a specialized charter school in another district – 20 miles away from our home. The commute can be tough especially with storms but it is so worth it.
IEPs: HELP! DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS IN IEP
Lisa: One of the objectives marked in my daughters IEP, all communication from the parent (me) is to be directed and communicated with the Principal-only. I am not allowed to call or talk to the special education teacher, other teachers, teacher’s aid, and etc… face to face. I am only allowed to talk to the Principal and address any information, issues, and concerns towards her-only directly. Since, I heard legal counsel, my lawyer said this is normal for teachers and other school administers to feel paranoid, fearful and threatened . I disagree with this communication objective/goal. What do you think? If these teachers are educating and teaching my child, don’t I have to call them and talk to them face to face? My attorney agrees with me and this is creating a lot of dis-trust and hostility. Help
Morning: I am not sure why it has evolved to a point that all contact should be via principal. I am sure that the staff may be uncomfortable with the arrangement. But, the focus is on your child. This is a good time to develop a good collaborative relationship with the principal who can get to know you as a “parent” and “team member” and not an objective. I think if you fight against the principal it will not be a good idea. Go with the flow and focus on your child. How do the other objectives look? Is your child happy and making progress? I hope this helps. I would not sweat the principal only contact just use it to empower and strengthen the relationship between the school and you.
Sandy: First, that isn’t an “objective” – goals/objectives are for what the STUDENT will achieve, not what the parent will or will not do! Second, this sounds like “retaliation” to me. Ask your lawyer about following up on the retaliation claim. Hope this helps!
IEPs: “GRADUATING” FROM IEP TO 504?
Diane: My 10 yr old is in 4th grade and has had an IEP for 3 years. His reevaluation is taking place now and I requested testing. They did abbreviated testing and said there were no indications that he needed the complete testing. Do they have to provide complete testing if I request it. They now want to “graduate him” from special ed and give him a 504. They say his standard test scores put him in the average range of his 4th grade peers but he is a yr. older than them. Do they have to evaluate him against his age group. Because of his scores they say his ADHD no longer impacts his educational process. I argued that he is successful because of his IEP and accommodations. They want to still change him to a 504 plan. Thank you for any input on this matter.
SharonL: Diane, I never heard of this. The IEP accommodations and modifications/goals, etc are usually better written & governed by IDEA law that I believe holds more weight than 504. THey need to put in writing why they believe your son does not need an IEP anymore. You can always request another evaluation from the school to review with the team. If you do not agree you can request an outside evaluation at public expense & review it again with the school. Remember that they cannot just take your son out of the IEP program without your permission & you do not have to sign anything. You can always consult with an attorney if you really feel the school is not going to cooperate wtih you at all.
IEPs: SCHOOL FAILS TO IMPLEMENT IEP
Patty: My son has a current IEP. They failed to provide his annual review in January, 2012. They finally scheduled a meeting in April 2012 but had to be rescheduled because did not do auditory processing. I also filed a state complaint and won for them not providing the services per his iep. they will provide those hours in march, 2013. My son kept getting further behind and no services were given. I pulled him out and placed him in a private special education school for dyslexia and auditory processing. My question is can I still finish the IEP with school district that was left half way done? School tells me since i pulled him out they do not need to finish the iep. is that correct?
SharonL: Patty, I believe they are right. You made change of placement without consulting the team. If the team came up with this placement the school would provide it.
IEPs: SCHOOL SAYS I MUST ACCEPT THEIR DRAFT IEP
Miranda: The district sent me a FINAL IEP draft – completely drafted unilaterally and eliminated our opportunity to participate in the IEP drafting process, stating that the IEP is completed. They tell me that I must consent within 10 days or my moderately delayed son will be placed in regular ed. In addition, the consent form states that district personnel feel that the IEP provides my son “some educational benefit.”
I need advice. Help!
Sandy: Miranda, this is called “predetermination” and it is a violation of your IDEA rights to be a full IEP team participant. Let the school know you are going to file a state complaint if they do not allow you to participate. Hopefully that will change their minds. Hope this helps!
Miranda: Thanks Sandy! Big help!
IEPs: IEP QUESTION
Michelle: My son’s school said he no longer qualified for special ed services for his dyslexia. I would like to keep his updated IEP and realize he will not receive services or accommodations. We are military and are here in Texas for a year before we move again, I do not want to start the IEP process over again at our next duty station. Is it within my rights to have his IEP active without having services?
Chuck: If the district is removing him from special ed services totally, then there is no way to keep his IEP “active” without getting the school to reverse their decision. They should have provided you with a prior written notice explaining their reasons for saying that he no longer qualifies for services. You can work through the dispute resolution process to try to get them to keep providing him with services.
I work with the TX Parent Training & Information Projects. If you contact them through http://www.PartnersTx.org they can connect you with the staff person in your area to assist you.
Michelle: Thank you Chuck for replying and I will check out the website you provided. I have a friend in KS who’s son is in the same situation as my son. They were able to keep his IEP, he does not receive services and if he starts having problems they can revisit the IEP to see if he needs accommodations or modifications. They are calling this an IEP Consult. So no services or modifications but they are willing to take a look at the IEP if problems arise. I don’t see why the schools would disagree with this situation.
Chuck: Michelle, states are allowed to add rules that do not cancel IDEA rules. There are also different interpretations of the rules between school districts. The situation in KS is similar to what TX rules call the “mainstream” arrangement, but the child is still considered being served by special ed & the school earns some special ed funds for these students.
TX law also requires schools to have a Dyslexia Program that is separate from special ed. This program falls under Section 504, but students served by special ed can be served by this program.
TX has a chapter of the Decoding Dyslexia organization that is discussed in the Oct 10th Wrightslaw blog item. You can check out their FB page, Decoding Dyslexia- TX to get info on the TX dyslexia program. I can also provide info.
Sandy: Sometimes the school will keep “consult” services (also called “indirect” services or “monitoring”) for a year after the child no longer needs direct services. Argue your child is at high risk for further issues, so you would like the teachers/therapists to keep an eye out and consult with regular ed teachers (usually once a month for 15 minutes). This is a way to keep the IEP “open” for a year without getting direct services. Hope this helps!
IEPs: NOT GETTING INTERVENTION TIME WRITTEN IN IEP
Karen: My Aspie son is in 9th grade. At this high school (in Ohio), they currently divide the intervention specialist’s time for each class period between 2 classrooms. Each class is 40 minutes long, so the specialist is only working on his behalf in each of the core classes for only 20 minutes. Some of the intervention specialists will spend only 2 or 3 days a week in each class to try and divide their time effectively. Any way you look at it, I feel that my son and other kids like him are not getting the full benefit of the help outlined in their IEPs. Does the school district have full discretion on deciding this kind of schedule or are they required to provide a certain amount of time in each class? When I asked, i was told that this was done because they don’t have the amount of special needs kids to warrant full classroom period of help.
Wrightslaw: Karen, what does the IEP say – how are the services outlined? Services are not based on “what the school has” but on your child’s individual needs. IDEA requires specific information about the frequency, duration, location, and projected dates for services be included in the IEP. The frequency and duration of related services should be specific, not state as a range. Turn to Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs for answers to questions like yours about IDEA requirements for statement of specific services in the IEP.
From Chapter 5 – Refer to Appendix A from IDEA 1997, Question #35. “The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP, so that the level of the agency’s commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members.” “A range may not be used because of personnel shortages or uncertainty regarding the availability of staff.”
IEPs: FAILING A STUDENT WITH AN IEP
Anderson: Can students with IEPs be failed – quarter after quarter – when they have not been receiving the appropriate accommodations as documented in their IEP?
ASDmom: Accomodations should help child be successful. Either accomodations have not been honored and/or they are not appropriate and regardless this could be considered a denial of FAPE. I’d call an IEP meeting right away to discuss.
FYI – Be careful – sometimes they clean up the mess on paper but problem not resolved. In our case our child hasn’t been required to complete work, extra credit is pushed instead (easier work) and full credit is given for incomplete work. This was admitted by teacher and seemed to be easier solution than providing accomodations/help. You don’t want this – trust me
SharonL: Anderson, It does not sound logical to me. Either the goals are too high or incorrect. The child should be able to meet the goals and feel success.
IEPs: “CONSENSUS” AT IEP MTG
Irene: As a service provider, I attended an annual review and there was disagreement between the school district and the student’s parents regarding the student’s placement level of services. The term, reaching a “consensus,” was brought up. I asked for a definition of “consensus” but no one responded. What is the definition of “consensus” in relation to an IEP and program placement. The student lives in NY. Thanks
ASDmom: In my opinion it means that there are more votes on the school side to support the change. While parents have a vote, there are usually more school votes because they have more people present. Consensus means bulk of people (ie: normally school people) are in agreement. I’ve never seen a vote from a parent outweigh the school system
Renee: Procedural safeguards exist so that the school will not always just “win” by having more “votes”. If a parent does not agree with the school, they do not have to sign the IEP. If they disagree in writing to some or all of the IEP within 10 days, the safeguards apply (at least in my state). Parents can write polite letters to explain their disagreement, request an additional IEP meeting, request a facilitated IEP meeting, request mediation, or file due process. Hopefully, an agreement can be reached without having to go through all those steps, though! In a practical sense, there are two “sides” and the first step in negotiating an agreement is to determine what both do agree on.
Then go from there.
IEPs: SCHOOL WANTS SERVICE PLAN INSTEAD OF IEP
Sue: My son was in early steps from age 18 months and then at age 3 transitioned to public schools with an iep. Yesterday I went to attend his iep meeting (he is 6 and will attend 1st grade next year) and they wanted me to sign a service plan not an iep. I didn’t sign because I was concerned lack if an iep would affect his right to things such as the McKay scholarship should he need that in the future (Florida). I don’t one to the goals or service level just was very concerned about the non-iep form. He attends private school but has always received his services at the public school and will continue to do so.
Sandy: Sue, I’m in IL, so maybe it’s different in FL. But my understanding is that if a child attends private school (at the parent’s option, NOT placed by the school in order to receive FAPE), then the child is only entitled to an ISP (individual services plan), NOT an IEP. An ISP is not individually enforceable through due process the way an IEP is. Private students have no individual right to services other than what’s in the plan. So I think that might be what’s happening. Hope this helps!
Chuck: Sue, Sandy is correct. IDEA regulations at 300.132(b) discusses “services plans”. Your state should also have rules on these plans and students at private schools. You can find a Question & Answer document on private schools from the federal department of education at http://idea.ed.gov/explore/home Click on Q & A documents listed on the lower left side of the page.
SharonL: Sue, I would not sign a service plan either. They would then be off the hook to service your son without an IEP. I never heard of a service plan. You can always discuss this with an advocate or attorney.
Sandy: For children placed by their parents in private school unilaterally (i.e., NOT by the IEP Team for FAPE reasons), the child is not entitled to an IEP. Instead, the child can receive an Individual Services Plan (ISP). ISPs are not enforceable the way IEPs are, and there’s no guarantee at all that the services will be comparable. That’s the law when parents choose to send their kids to private school for personal (vs. FAPE) reasons.
IEPs: EFFECTIVE DATES (& OTHER PROBLEMS) AT IEP
HELPME: I attended an IEP meeting today and the Special Education Director very abruptly started taking out goals and services for my child. Goals and services that were recommended by the Intervention Specialist, teachers and therapists and was part of the draft IEP they presented to us. We objected repeatedly, tried to present our arguments and they just kept cutting us off and refused to listen. They also changed the IEP effective dates, making the IEP effective for only 6 months. They did not listen to us and said they could do whatever they wanted. Has this ever happened to anyone else? I have not been able to find anything in my Wrightslaw Special Education Law book stating that the effective dates can be anything other than one year. Any advice?
Miranda: Help Me, this has happened to many of us. Write a polite letter stating what occurred during the meeting. Try to state just the facts in chronological order. Do not let emotion dominate the letter tone. In a week or two (or maybe at the start of the new yr) ask them to schedule an IEP meeting. Once the meeting is scheduled & you know who will attend, inform them that you will be audio recording all IEP meetings. 10 days before the mtg. provide the district with your agenda to be added to theirs. Before the start of the meeting, inform everyone that you will be audio recording & that you are happy to provide them a copy of the audio recording or they can record the meeting as well. If you can find an advocate to accompany you, do so. This person serves as someone who can speak calmly to your child’s needs as well as a witness..
SharonL: HELPME, I agree with you. I believe the effective dates for an IEP are one year. One time we had an IEP meeting in December after a requested evaluation and the effective dates ended up being from December to December which they are usually September to June. Remember you do not have to sign the IEP or you can put on the IEP that you disagree with items on it. Once you do this the school must provide you with Prior Written Notice letter. You can take a copy of the IEP home, mark it up & reschedule a new IEP meeting & bring a professional with you (ie speech, OT, physician, psychologist, etc) or an attorney if this gets that bad although I always wait until there is no other options before I hire an attorney. Stick to your guns. YOu have a say so & and they cannot bully you.
ASDmom: Unilateral decisions violated IDEA. You are to be part of team/decision. Hope you tape recorded and didn’t sign IEP otherwise he said/she said situation.
IEPs: SCHOOL REFUSES TO INCLUDE AUTISM DIAGNOSIS ON IEP
Renee: My teenage son who has Down Syndrome has been newly diagnosed with autism by a pediatric neurologist.
But the school still refuses to include autism on his IEP. The school psychologist is now conducting his own investigation, reviewing papers and questionnaires we had to fill out. If he doesn’t come to the conclusion that my son has autism (and I have no confidence that he will – this is someone who has never even introduced himself to us), they will not address his needs no matter what our neurologist says.
How is this possible? I just finished reading on this site how private evaluations can serve as a solution dealing with a school psychologist beholden to the school instead of having the interest of the child at heart. But apparently, having our own expert makes no difference after all. We are still powerless.
Parent1: Renee, Sometimes when adovocating for your exceptional child, you have very specific in what you ask for. The process can feel as if you are working with a special needs child who doesn’t seem to understand what you are requesting.
Some parents are able to get an Autism classification for their child by simply sending a letter to the Director of Special Services, copying the IEP team members. The letter is made up a polite greeting, an expressed interest in having the ADOS administered for you child, and a phrase that indicates that as of Date: this letter serves as my consent or permission to evaluate Child’s name.
Some schools buy/waste time getting you the permission to evaluate form. Check with your State Department of Education to learn how many calendar days the school has once they recieve permission to evaluate.
IEPs: SCHOOL ENDED IEP
Hala: I have an 8 year old in second grade in Public Schools in Michigan. On Tuesday May 14, 2013 my son was removed his IEP the district stated that his physical disability no longer affects him in his educational performance therefore he was removed. I requested an IEE and I am currently waiting for a response on that if it will be approved or not. I am unsure what to do after the IEE.
His physical impairment is that after 80 different corrective surgeries he now can walk around. He has popliteal pterygium syndrome so his knees are in a contracted position looks like legs are bent. His left leg is much shorter than the right, causing him to be extremely tired when he walks for a long period of time. He also has a cleft plate and cleft lip so his speech can be difficult to understand.
SharonL: Hala, first of all the school cannot make a change of placement without the entire team agreeing to it. Did you sign the IEP? You don’t have to. You can disagree & they need to provide you with a prior written notice letter as to why they want to do this. Did you request the evaluation in writing & sign the consent form so they have to perform the evaluation in 60 days? You can also get documentation from your physicians that help your cause. That can go far.
ASDmom: Fatigue and speech seem to impact education. Write a letter to Special Ed Director and/or school board. If no results file State Complaint or Due Process. Regarding IEE – I don’t think they have to honor if request came after IEP removed. If you asked before removal then they had obligation and should have waited for results before removing. However we asked for IEE before removal and they granted IEE but it took several months and they removed IEP before it was done. Child now attends a special charter school and has an IEP.
IEPs: IEP SERVICES
Adam: My daughter is in pre-school and has an IEP for Speech, PT and now OT. Is the public school required to offer her pre-school in addition to services or are they allow to just treat the 3 items mentioned in the IEP. If she is offered pre-school is there a certain amount of time that the school is allowed to pull her from the class room environment to work on the services such as PT or should they work on these areas after school hours. My concern is that the school is saying they will offer my daughter pre-school but they have the right to pull her for services which will equal to about 2.5 hours out of a 5 hour week. It feels like she is being punished and will miss out on classroom activities because of her disabilities.
ASDmom: Pull outs are part of school day. You can try to extended school year where pullouts can be done before/after school but this is hard to obtain. You have to be able to show missing academics is causing a problem – I don’t think missing activities would be considered impacting education.