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ARCHIVED Q & As
1. SPECIFIC MISREPRESENTATION AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS
Mary: What is “specific misrepresentation” as it applies to the due process timeline?
A DP hearing request was withdrawn pursuant to a settlement agreement, then a breach of the agreement occured, the federal court dismissed the claim due to failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Now the district claims the statute of limitations has been exceeded. during the pendency of the federal case. Is the settlement agreement a “specific misrepresentation” which should result in an exception to the timeline?
Wrightslaw: Terri, your questions require opinions by an attorney who is familiar with special ed law AND the facts in your case. Are you represented by an attorney? If so, you need to put these questions to him/her.
I would be reluctant to give up your rights and your child’s rights in exchange for a private school placement that may or may not be appropriate. Public schools are responsible for ensuring that children with disabilities receive FAPE. This responsibility continues when the school district places a child in a private placement. If you give up your rights to bring action against the district, what can you do if the private school cannot or does not provide your child with FAPE?
You have several important decisions to make. Please consult with an attorney who has expertise in special education law in your state and the issues in your child’s case.
2. 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 optometric 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.
3. SPORTS – GRADE REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS WITH IEPs?
Mary: My son was deemed ineligible to play for his highschool team due to an F on his report card. Has anyone had success including a provision in their child’s IEP that their grades should not affect their eligiblity for playing on a school team?
Vicki: Most grade requirements (at least at the high school level) are set by the state. I don’t know if there’s an option to get a waiver, but every state I’ve lived/worked in (about 8 of them) requires a minimum of a C
Mindy: Hi Mary, this is my situation with the sports–..my child is a competitive athlete. He has made some teams and has not made others. If his grades are failing or does not meet standards–he does not play. I do not press for any accommodations on his IEP pertaining to sports as he has LD. Still, some of his sports clubs have autistic students and everyone, regardless of IEPS, are held accountable for their grades, etc. Grades should affect eligibility. I can only speak from my experience with my son and his LD as the. Coaches and the sports teams motivate him to maintain high grades but it come from within him. Also, the issues at FSU with athletes with 1st grade reading levels–instilled a passion in me that my child will not be giving preference to play sports. My child has to earn that right with had work and good grades.
4. 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.
5. 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?
6. 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/
7. 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.
8. WILL WE LOSE SERVICES WHEN NCLB IS WAIVED?
KarenRZ: In NJ, my 12 yr old son is in 6th grade w/ an IEP (1:1 aide), 1st yr of middle school. He has hi-functioning autism & ADHD. Mid. Sch. has been challenging w/ having to remember numerous things & changing classes. We had a couple of bumps in the road this yr, but may have straightened them out.
What concerns us is that NCLB has been waived for NJ & although ADA will protect to some degree, we are wondering if this will affect our son & his IEP where he may lose services?
Sandy: The waivers do not apply to services provided to individual students under IDEA. Nor do they apply to antidiscrimination protections offered under 504/ADA. NCLB waivers apply to allow schools to avoid school-wide sanctions if students do not meet stated NCLB targets on state tests. So there is no direct threat to services under IDEA in this situation. However, it is possible that if NCLB is watered down (through waivers and/or legislative changes or repeal), then the focus on the achievement gap of subgroups (including students with disabilities) might be lessened and thus an indirect negative effect on services may emerge.
10. MISS SCHOOL FOR READING TIME
Josefina: My daughter has been diagnosed with PDD-Nos, ADHD, apraxia and dyslexia. I have requested permission from our school district for her to miss a couple of hours a day (in the morning) to attend reading classes. The SD has indicated that this is not possible. We live in TX. Children with autism are allowed to be excused for ABA, OT, and speech services. What can I do in this case?
Catherine: Josefina in TX, check your state DOE Regs. You can enroll your child for half day or partial day of school. Most states require that your child be engaged in academics for a certain number of hours… even home schooled kids. SO, reregister your child as attending partial day public school and take her to the reading tutoring. Best to write it all up and Petition your school BOARD, not the Principal at your local school. Also, before doing all that make sure the current school has given you a PWN( prior written notice) declining your request to have your daughter go to special reading tutoring. Make it clear whom you expect to be paying for the reading instruction. This may be why the current school is hesitant. They may think you are going to ask for reimbursement. are you?
Chuck: Josefina, unfortunately as you note, the TX law only allows for excused absences for certain activities for students w/ autism. If the reading does not fall under any of the allowed categories, your basic option is to try to negotiate with the principal and the spec ed director. Schools take attendance for state funding purposes around 10-10:30 am. If you can avoid this time, then taking him out would not lose the school any funding which may be a concern to them.
I work for the TX Parent Training & Information Center & we can try to assist you, if you want to contact me.
Chuck: Catherine & Josefina, unfortunately TX rules only require dual enrollment for 3 and 4 year olds. However, the school could allow this, since they are allowed to develop their rules for excused and unexcused absences. Students come and go from medical visits frequently.
11. POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR EDUCATIONAL DECISIONS
Linda: I have a duly executed Limited Power of Attorney of Educational Decisions, which specifically list IEP evaluations, testing and reviews. I am an attorney (not education law) and thought that the initial evaluation would be conducted on 1/26/12. However, the school refused to do an initial evaluation w/o the parent present. The school stated that they could only go forward if the parent were present.
The parent works on AMTRAK is often away. This is my God daughter who often lives with me (goes between both homes).
Are there legal grounds to force the school to proceed with IEP evaluations/test w/o the mother being present?
Joe: Linda, I am an attorney as well and know of no legal requirement under the IDEA for a parent to be present. But there is definitely a legal requirement that the evaluation be conducted. I would provide a ‘consent’ of some sort stating that the evaluation can be conducted without parents present and it might be good to even include some ‘present levels of performance’ (what the child can do now in certain areas). The school cannot delay evaluation – as it appears they are trying to do – because a parent is not in attendance.
Sorry, I see that you already have authority via LPOA. Under the ‘child find’ provision of the IDEA, it includes “locating, identifying, AND evaluating” the child. All three are required to comply with ‘child find’ requirements.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. CHANGING PLACEMENT – WHAT TO DO?
Jodi: Our daughter has a classification of EBD. She has bipolar disorder and is 13. She has been in a point/level system for 5 years which basically has meant that she has to “earn” her way into regular ed classes and priveleges such as eating lunch with reg ed peers. She is placed in an alternative high school and spends half of her day with other EBD kids, all boys. We want to unilaterally remove her from this placement and place her in a nearby charter school. We will want our home district to pay for transportation. Besides giving 10 day notice, is there anything else we need to do? Thank you.
Morning: Jodi, is the school district willing to work with you? It seems your daughter is making some progress and hopefully will not have to earn her way so much. Before you make that move–consult an advocate so you will understand her rights and what that may mean legally. Transition for a student in EBD must be carefully planned so then child does not fall apart. Some of my peers who work in EBD or similar programs question mixing boys and girls in such programs especially when they are young. Theynget more concerned about mixing them sexes when they get older. How has that worked out for your daughter over the years? I hope it all works out for you.
Nancy: Jodi, if the charter school is part of the school district, it should provide the transportation. However the more important question is should you remove your child from a structured program to move into one with less structure? Students with EBD need structure and if it is going to be removed, it should be removed gradually.
Make sure the receiving school has the appropriate set up for you child and can implement her behavior intervention plan or there could be problems. Traditionally, charter schools do not deal well with behavior. One reason is that the teachers may not have the training to do this adequately.
Also, look at your school’s program and make sure she is getting FAPE, LRE and that her BIP is being implemented. In some states, special ed money is being used to keep class size down in regular ed.
15. VIDEOTAPING CHILDREN – GUIDELINES
Barbara: Does federal law prohibit photographing or videotaping students with special needs for a teacher’s professional portfolio? I’m a graduate student in education, and one of my spring courses focuses on portfolio development. Our text says we should be “sensitive” about children with SNs and not include them by name or photo; it also says federal law prohibits videotaping children with SNs. Is this true? If so, why? I understand we should obtain parents’ permission and should not identify kids by full names. But if teachers are supposed to demonstrate their ability to work with diverse populations, how can we show that without including these children in our portfolio?
Wrightslaw: Barbara, Pete and I discussed your question. We are not aware of any law that prohibits videotaping children with special needs.
The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that public school students have very limited privacy rights. Public school students with disabilities do not have greater privacy rights. Perhaps you can ask your professor about this law – we’re interested in what you learn.
Rob: We want our district to grant us permission to videotape our daughter in class, on the playground and during therapy sessions. We know she is not making the progress they claim. We know this from her actions outside of school and from observing her in the classroom.
The administration, district teacher and paraprofessionals attempt to discourage us from visiting our daughter at school. They claim we are a disruption and distraction when we do so (they do this to other special needs parents we know in the district).
Is it possible to get permission to only videotape our child? What laws allow us to videotape her so we can work with her at home?
16. NOT RECEIVING SERVICES, BULLYING, & HIDDEN RECORDING
Daisy: My niece has an IEP. She gets all her tests read aloud,extended time and small-group setting. She took a test last week and had no accommodations. A student teacher administered the test. My niece overheard the regular teacher tell the student teacher to note in her log that my niece received the accommodations. The school district has not been providing services, but continue to tell parents that they are providing them. My niece has told the parents she is not receiving services. This comes down to he said, she said. My niece is also being verbally abused by teachers. The teachers talk openly to each other in front of students about my niece. I want to send my niece to school with a digital voice recorder or hidden camera to start recording these incidents. Is this legal?
GiGi: I would like to know what the law says about a student taking a digital recorder with them to school to record exchanges between the student and a bully. The bully is a teacher. No one from the district believes this is happening. I have spoken to the principal, guidance counselor and special education director. They all say my child is lying. The teacher yells at my child, calls her lazy, says she is a liar after we complain. During a recent parent-teacher conference, the teacher was sarcastic and obviously angry. When my daughter tried to speak, the teacher cut her off in mid-sentence. I had to intervene three times so she could finish her thoughts. The situation is unacceptable. Does anyone know about recording devices and recording someone without consent?
Wrightslaw: Gigi, please don’t send your child to school with a device to secretly record an abusive teacher. You wrote: “I have spoken to the principal, guidance counselor and special education director. They all say my child is lying.”
Have you put your concerns in writing? After you talk with people, you need to follow up with a letter that describes what happened, who said what, etc. If you write letters when incidents happen, they are evidence that the school knew about the teacher’s behavior, took no steps to protect your child. If you don’t write letters, it’s your word against another person’s word. You lose. Write a letter about the parent-tchr meeting. You’ll find sample letters here: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/ltrs.index.htm
Mom from Texas: Daisy, I think you need to rethink your role as advocate. How will this help your niece in the end? It won’t get her an education and it won’t make the teachers like you or want to help. I have had some very difficult times with school officials and let me tell you once I changed my approach and stepped up things got much better. First, have you/parents put all your concerns in writing to the principal and teachers? If not then you should look up letter to a stranger on this site. Your job is to not make enemies but to make these people want to help your niece. Sometimes we have to change how we react in order to get what we want for our children and letting the teachers and schools save face. Remember to keep copies of all emails and letters in the child’s school folder in case you need them later.
SharonL: Daisy, having your niece take a hidden tape recorder would put a lot of stress on her. I think it would be better to schedule an IEP & ask your niece to come to the meeting with you and discuss the issues. It is difficult for people to lie when they are all facing each other. At that time you may inform the team that you will be bringing a digital recorder so you can have a record of the meeting. It allows you to focus and not have to worry about taking notes. You can also discuss the verbal abuse at that time. Please note that we have had a situation like this and have discovered that my son caused some of the issues as well. This allows everyone to come clean and come up with a resolution.
Morning: You may want to consider getting training as well as the parents in IEPs, accomodations, etc. Call your state department of education. You are very concerned as you should be. The parents can call a team meeting or a PPT To discuss the concerns and discuss some changes, etc.. The parents must be fully aware and understand how to truly advocate for your niece and that takes knowledge, reading and researching. Hidden recorders are not the answer and can cause legal issues. You don’t want to put her in a situation like that with a hidden recording as she can get in a lot of legal trouble. Focus on learning the law, educating the parents and understanding how advocacy works. Kudos to you–your niece has someone who listens to her.
15. FAILING MATH – HELP!
Christy: At the suggestion of the IEP team, my child was moved from special ed math to regular ed math this year, and now I am being informed she can’t keep up. She is about to finish 4th grade, and up until now her grades were good & everyone said she was doing fine. I already help my child daily, and I feel like it is totally my responsibility at this point to educate her in math! Any advice?
SharonL: Christy , my son was put into regular math like yours but with a transition plan which included reduced items of the assignment, more time to complete assignments if needed & did not have to participate in word problems right away so as to “ease” him back into the math & allow him to have success. An example of reduced assignment is if the assignment is 50 math problems but the same practice/knowledge can be obtained by doing 25 that is what my son did. When he showed success & could do assignments faster we discussed adding more problems a few at a time. MY son was also able to rework errors on problems with 1/2 credit. We also spent many long nights with him helping with homework. The school is responsible to teach your child & you should not have to feel the way you do. Call an IEP meeting & come up with some items.
16. 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
17. GETTING ACCOMMODATIONS ON STANDARDIZED TESTS
Jo: My child has in her IEP that she will get pulled out and have extended time on State and other Standardized testing, but the school and school district has refused to provide this. Based on the information that it’s not documented that she needs to have extended time on each and every assignment and test that she has taken and that it must be documeneted by th teacher in each case, since this is not the case,I did not know about this policy beforehand, and she has some tests and assignments that she needed extra time and others not, the school and the state refuses to provide the accomadations as written in her IEP. Any suggestions on how to fight this? Thanks in advance.
Sharon: Jo, we had this problem and we requested an IEP meeting to put this accommodation on the IEP for all items our son needed. At the time we did IEP’s there was a specific place to put modifications & accommodations for standardized testing on the IEP. I agree with the school. If the accommodations are not specifically not spelled out in the IEP than the school does not legally have to provide it. I feel bad for parents who get talked into signing IEP’s that are very general & not specific because it gives the school greater leeway to not follow the law. If you need help with the IEP contact a local group of the learning disability association or some other advocate group. They may have someone to help you with how to get these items on the IEP.
18. MAKING PROGRESS – NOT ELIGIBLE?
Anne: My child’s school says she’s not eligible for an IEP because she’s “making effective progress” making good grades. I’ve had an Independent evaluation done that recommends an IEP, direct specific instruction in several areas, yet the school will only work with a 504 and accommodations that are currently in place.
We live in Massachusetts and this is her second school. Her previous school that she attended K-4 took the same position. Now, in 5th grade, at a new school, here we are again. What can I do now?
I feel strongly that she may be not retaining information long-term and therefore not really learning.
Sharon: Anne, it is so discouraging when the school does this. The school should take the outside evaluation into consideration. As children age the discrepency between intelligence and performance usually gets further apart and you are right to help her get services now so she does not continually fall behind. Even though the law no longer requires the use of the discrepency score ask the person who did the evaluation to go over the discrepency scores with you. If there is a descrepency between intelligence and performance you can use that to determine eligibility for services. The school will tell you they don’t have to use this anymore and they are right but they can use it. If they just don’t cooperate get a prior written notice from them as to why and you may have to consider legal action.
19. TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS-NYS
Carrie: I am a graduate student working with a parent concerning using the I-Pad on the NYS Regents Exams. Currently the district the child attends states that use of the I-Pad on NYS exams is prohibited. I am writing to see if there are any known instances/documentations in NYS where students have been allowed to use a tablet or I-Pad device as a word processor on these exams.
Sharon: Carrie, my son attends college right now & was on an IEP in high school. He gets testing accommodations with the use of a computer & Kurzweil to read the test to him. They will not allow any student to use their own computer/Ipad, etc because they could have a file with the answers & cheat. If this child qualifies for accommodations/modifications then the school will need to provide accommodations like this college is doing. When my son was in high school he received a person who read the test to him & scribed the answers if they were long word answers. My son has dyslexia and disgraphia & it takes him time to read & write & even though he is allowed more time to complete the test these accommodations help him be on a level playing field like the regular ed students.
20. 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.
21. 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
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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).
29. IEP FOR SPEECH
Kaye: The following wording is being written in my daughter’s IEP about her speech sessions:
“Student will receive speech/language therapy by a SLP (etc etc)…on these days with the exception of school cancellations, student/SLP absences, special classroom activities/field trips, state/district testing and/or screenings/registrations, SLP testing/meetings, and any other duty required by the district.” This past year, my daughter did not accomplish her speech goals and had 46% of the scheduled therapy sessions. Most sessions missed were not my daughter’s fault. I was told that the above statement was written and approved by our State Dept.
If the state dept has approved this, how do I dispute this? It’s a violation of FAPE for my daughter and (in my opinion) every child in our district.
SharonL: Kaye, this happened to us. The only recourse we had was to see if these items were different from what the regular ed students were receiving. In other words, when there are field trips, etc, are regular ed students making up work? If so, you can make a statement about discrimination. The other thing you can do is wait to see if your daughter is consistently NOT meeting the goals, and you can request testing to see if she is making progress to determine if she is receiving FAPE. You can ask for outside testing at the school’s expense if you feel that their testing is inaccurate or incomplete. You can indicate on the IEP that you disagree with a service or how it is provided. This way the school can continue services, give you a prior written notice that states why they want to continue as is, or they can meet with you to negotiate a different solution.
Kaye: Sharon, thanks. My daughter accomplished all of her goals this year, except for speech. She receives speech 4x a week, but has only been seen 6 times this month, and 3 times in March. The SLP is being pulled to help with testing (non-SLP required) because the school is short-staffed. The new wording allows these sessions to be missed and there is no obligation for the school to make them up.
The school is claiming the Rowley decision as the basis for this being allowed (along with the state dept approval – although the state hasn’t told me yet that they did approve it). I’m still disputing this as a denial of FAPE and “good faith” effort – I guess we’ll see what happens. Thanks again.
Follow Up -
Kaye: I spoke with the state dept and they emphatically denied writing and approving the wording. So, it’s being pulled out of all the IEP’s in the district (which is good). I guess the lesson here is if a district says that the state has told them to do something, it never hurts to double-check.
30. 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…..
31. 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.
32. NOT GETTING OT SERVICES
Dan: Say a student has OT on thier IEP and they didn’t get services for that year. Would the teacher be to blame? And should that person get fired?
SharonL: Dan, the teacher will probably not get fired however the school is completely out of compliance. YOu need to get an IEP meeting together to ask what is going on and how they will make up all of that lost time that your son will never get back. I don’t understand how your son was able to go an entire year without anyone knowing about this. There are supposed to be quarterly reports regarding progress that the parents get. Once you did not receive one of those a meeting needed to be put together. The school will need to make up that time either by offering extended school services in the summer with transportation provided.
33. REIMBURSEMENT FOR TESTING
Sylvia: My daughter’s has an IEP for SLD and ADD is mentioned in her IEP.I looked into ESY and was told that this was not for her it was for kids who needed help with dressing, grooming, social skills. No mention of that in the application of ESY.I called the director of the ESY who confirmed it would be tailored to my child’s individual needs.Then I was hit with the need to show regression for her to qualify and she would not get any math help because it was not in the IEP. I insisted something else was going on with her disability, then I was told if they’re to test her she would likely no longer qualify for any services,adamant about that, but if I wanted them to they would test her it was my choice.I chose to get my own testing.$949.The meeting was postponed til my results come back.She still qualifies, shouldn’t they pay me back?
SharonL: Sylvia, yes the school must pay for the outside testing. Call the director and ask who the bill should be sent to. I have done this with 2 of my children through the years when I did not agree with the test results of the school. They will pay you. It is a law.
34. PROBLEMS WITH SPEC. ED SERVICES
So Tired: I have a significant problem. We have multiple children with IEPs in three different schools in the same district. The Dir. of Spec. Ed and the school staff for each school have all formed into a tight cohesive group and they all work together to ensure my kids do not get their services. They claim they get services, but I have proof they do not. We have multiple ongoing disagreements. I have tried everything. I am polite, bring cookies to meetings, send Thank You notes, but because I am not afraid to file complaints (and we win) now they are doing nothing and dragging everything out. IEPs are written, but services are not provided. I document everything. Nothing is working. My kids are the ones suffering. I am losing the will to keep fighting. Any advice?
SharonL: So Tired, don’t give up. Instead find a way to get what you need even if you have to hire an attorney. If you have filed complaints and won this should help you win again if the school is out of compliance. I had 3 children on IEP’s throughout their school years and it was very difficult at times. Unfortunately we did have to hire attorneys on several occasions, we hired professionals (speech therapists, tutors, advocates) to come to meetings with us. We used standardized testing that the school provided to prove the things we needed. There were days when I wanted to give up but if you give up no one will help your children. Some day it will be over and you will be happy you did what you are doing.
35. 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
36. PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE
GGIrl: Does anyone know if there is a specific timeline (30 days, etc.) in providing parents with Prior Written Notice. We did not sign my child’s IEP due to a disagreement over ESY Services and it has been 30 days since the meeting. We have not received a final copy of the IEP the district has signed and implemented, and we have not received Prior Written Notice. All I have is an e-mail from Spec. Ed. Director stating they are compiling educational data and will meet with us again prior to the end of the school year. Based on report card just sent home and the IEP Progress Reports, they are stacking the deck against us and my daughter loses AGAIN! Does anyone know if there is a specific timeline. I have looked everywhere and cannot find the answer. Thank you!
Veronica: GGirl, I don’t know if there is a timeline, I looked in my Wrightslaw sped law book and didn’t see one. Your state may have some requirements, so check your state spec ed regulations. But this article by Pete Wright says not to wait on the school to provide you with PWN. He explains how to write a sample letter documenting what you requested and the school refused to do. http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/pwn.throw.flag.htm
Also check this article. We’ve learned never to go to an IEP meeting without this form, it has worked really well for us. http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=2157
SharonL: GGirl, we usually received prior written notice within the week of the meeting. Your case sounds critical. YOu can always try one more meeting to get what your children need. If you still believe you are being stonewalled you may have to hire an attorney or advocate to help. Remember each day that goes by is a day lost. I fully understand how you feel. We prevailed in a due process case once and the school never treated us the same. It became impossible to fully get services for our children. We ended up moving to a new school district altogether. Sad but true.
37. 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.
38. SCHOOL SAYS NO “EDUCATIONAL NEED” TO KEEP DAUGHTER IN SCHOOL
Lori: My daughter is 19 and a “senior”. She has an IEP and I would like to keep her in school until 21/22, but school district is telling me that there is no longer an “educational need” for her to there, that she has earned her credits to graduate, and since there will be a 5 yr age difference in the kids in the MH class next year it is time for her to graduate with her diploma. Can they do this? What can I do to keep her in the school system? I do believe she still has an educational need as she still has trouble with basic math (subtracting) and is only reading on a 6th grade level. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
Chuck: Lori, the IDEA regulations say that special ed is help prepare students “for further education, employment, and independent living”. So you can reply that she still has needs in the area of preparation for employment and independent living skills. Study your state’s rules and requirements for schools in regards to transition. You should be able to use these to build a case that she still has needs that need to be addressed.
39. BUS TRANSPORTATION ISSUES
Sue: My daughter was denied her regular transportation today after having a seizure right before entering onto the bus. I called the superintendent and she wants me to put in writing that it is ok for her to still ride the bus is she has had a seizure. I find this offensive and unnecessary. I am unsure how to address the school administration about this though. My daughter should not be penalized for one of the many disabilities she has which happens to be a seizure disorder and will not harm anyone. Any suggestions?
Wrightslaw: Sue, if my understanding is correct, your daughter had a seizure as she was about to board the school bus. The school wants your assurance that it’s safe for her to ride the bus. You are offended. Change facts. Assume that I’m a school administrator. I am not a neurologist so my knowledge of seizures is limited. As a school administrator, I want a letter from her doctor about whether riding the bus is safe for her, what the bus driver should do/not do if she has a seizure on the bus, and the possible emotional impact on other students.
40. 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.
41. IEP SAYS ACCOMMODATIONS ON TESTS – BUT NONE GIVEN
Jen: My 2nd grader is supposed to have testing accommodations. His IEP says he can respond in the test booklet or have a scribe. He has had a scribe in the instructional setting as needed. I was stunned when he mentioned that he had no scribe for last week’s standardized testing (over multiple days) and completed a bubble answer sheet. Last week he was a disaster emotionally and behaviorally as a result of the stress of test taking. I had no idea that the stress was worsened by the lack of accommodations. They are in complete violation of his IEP and I feel his test scores are invalid. I’m trying to stay on positive terms with the school so I’d like to be non-confrontational when I bring it to their attention and give them a chance to fix the situation. However, how can they really fix it? Retesting would be stressful.
SharonL: Jen, having accommodations for tests in the classroom on the IEP will not normally automatically mean the same for standardized tests. There is usually a separate sheet on the IEP for this. Check that first to see if you accidentally did allow for what they are doing. If so convene an IEP meeting to discuss to get this added. I don’t think you can go backward & have the test retaken but you can be sure it is done in the future. If the accommodation is on the IEP for standardized tests than it is your call on how they should correct the problem. You will have to bring it to their attention.
42. MY SONS TEST SCORES ARE LOWER THAN LAST YEAR
Linda: He made NO progress, actually dropped. Now he’s going into middle school with 4th grade math & reading. He is diagnosed with ADHD and Aspbergers. He is behind in most subjects but last year his school seemed to want him to succeed. Test scores all went up 10 points that year. This year he was moved to another school where they DONT follow the IEP. I’ve requested several IEP meetings and they claim they will do things like send him to resource daily, but don’t. At one point they took him off an individualized math program saying he’s “keeping up with his class”, yet his report card says he doesn’t understand the basics. I’ve tried to see they follow the IEP but its evident they don’t. I’m sick and angry, but what can I do now?
SharonL: Linda , if you can prove that your son did not improve & in fact dropped you may have a case where the school is not providing FAPE( Free& appropriate education). You need to get standardized test scores for this year as soon as possible to compare with the test scores from his last evaluation. By law you can request an evaluation once a year. Do it. ONce you get the results you can compare & then meet with the school to discuss. Take a professional with you if you can to help.
43. CAN’T GET SPEECH UNLESS IT AFFECTS ACADEMICS
Michelle: My son just mainstreamed this past school year. He is hearing impaired. He has been successful, but has worked really hard to be where he is at. In Dec. his IEP was changed to take away weekly group speech and move speech to consult only. Now we are at the end of the year and doing his IEP for the following school year. They want to take out speech completely and I absolutely DO NOT want to take away the consult speech away from his IEP. I feel he is doing well and doesn’t need speech weekly, but more for maintenance. Maybe speech once a month. I have noticed he is starting to be inconsistent with certain sounds, etc. Well, now they are telling me that even with consult only that they don’t have to give him speech unless it is affecting him academically. That is NOT what they impressed upon me during his last IEP meeting in Dec.
SharonL: Michelle, don’t sign the IEP & if the school implements it anyway they must provide you with a document that is called “prior written notice” to explain why they are going against what you think is best. Remember you can request evidence from them to prove he no longer needs speech. The school cannot discontinue services for academic reasons only. You can always request a speech evaluation from the school and sign their consent form. They then have 60 days to perform the evaluation. You can then get the scores & discuss with a professional what they mean. If you don’t agree with the results you can get an outside evaluation & the school has to pay for it. YOu do NOT have to sign the IEP & it will stay in effect until the new IEP is signed no matter what they may try to tell you.
Kaye: Two years ago, we initiated mediation with the school and did quite well. Admin wanted to work with us. The case manager and teacher were upset by it. (They were also criticized by admin for their mis-management of my daughters education). Since then, my daughter’s teachers and those who teach my other kids are wonderful. After mediation, the case manager contacted the teachers/paras/therapists to warn them that I am difficult and my daughter uneducable. (They tell me this). Our kids no longer attend the same school, but she calls other schools to warn them about us. My daughter is bright and is doing great. I am really not difficult. Her bad-mouthing makes it difficult for me to advocate for my child. It also affects my daughter’s education. It takes about two months for everyone to relax each year.
Morning: This could work to your advantage as it opens the door for you to have meaningful conversations with your child’s new team every school year. I am upfront and tell them to get to know my child and me beyond any rumors or the IEP? Truth wins out in these types of situations. I always ask teachers “what may I do to support their efforts with my child”. I do listen to them as their feedback is valuable, but I put my best foot forward each year any of the past rumors from disgruntled teachers are easily dismissed once the new staff gets to know my child and me. I have made mistakes in years past and did apologize to teachers, but I learned to collaborate and not bulldoze. The case manager will discredit herself in time, if not already.
45. 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
46. 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.
47. IDEAS FOR QUALIFYING FOR DEVELOPMENTAL PRESCHOOL?
Stacy T: The public developmental preschools in our area require that our son show deficiencies in at least two areas before he can attend. Our son has verbal apraxia and cannot speak, will require years of intensive therapy to learn. He also receives OT for sensory processing and regulatory issues, but the school district does not recognize these issues as disabilities. He does not have gross or fine motor skill issues or social issues, and he is extremely gifted cognitively, at 2 years old tests at a 5 year old level. The school district has programs for kids with apraxia but he can’t access them unless he has something else wrong with him that they “recognize.” Is this legal, and if it is, is there anything I can do or any diagnosis I can receive to circumvent it? Thank you!
Sandy: In IL (and perhaps other states), speech therapy is considered “specialized education.” Here, a child with verbal apraxia and OT needs does qualify for Early Childhood preschool (my child was exactly like this and attended EC through the district). Sounds like your child should qualify under IDEA’s SLI (speech/language impaired) category – or whatever your state calls it – and then OT and all other needs would be included. Depends on specific state issues – which I can’t address – but this sounds bogus to me. Ask to see the laws/regs/policies IN WRITING that preclude your child from eligibility.
48. 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!
49. 7th GRADER AT 3rd GRADE READING AFTER 2 YRS
Lorie: My son is in the seventh grade. He was diagnosed with Dyslexia last year. Before his diagnosis he had two years in a reading intervention class. He made very little progress. Last week I used an informal test that showed his reading to be at late third grade., while his teacher found that he is at the sixth grade level. Is there anything else I can do? We are in a rural area with few options.
Morning: What assessments were used to diagnose him with dyslexia? What recommendations were made with that diagnoses? What assessments are the school using? This is where you do some research on Wrightslaw about reading assessments. Also, I know people who use the web based Lexia home program as they are in school districts with few resources. It is hard to believe that some districts cannot or will not fully service students. I would, after doing research, sit down with the teacher and have a long talk. If she is looking at lexile levels, be careful as other assessments should explored. Many well intentioned teachers mislead parents by only looking at lexile levels. Have they explored assistive technology? What are your son’s goals after high school? I hope this helps.
SharonL: Lorie, request a copy of the testing that was used on your child so you can see what they are talking about. Have a meeting and get a copy and then take it to a professional who can help you decipher it. I usually do not understand the tests unless someone explains them to me. You can always request a formal reading evaluation in writing from the school. Be sure to sign their request form otherwise they are not required to get done in any amount of time. Once you sign their form they have 60 days. The school should go over the results. If you do not agree with the results you may request an outside evaluation at the school’s expense. The school must consider the outside evaluation. Once you request all of this they will probably become more cooperative.
Lorie: Sharon L, thank you for your input. I watched the teacher give the test to my son. She reminded him to use his strategies and gave him lots of time to try to figure out the words he struggled with. I asked for and received a copy of the tests she administered. Am I allowed to request another test when it was just a test to check his improvement in a 6-week intervention class, that my husband and I insisted on? It wasn’t a full evaluation and I’m afraid they are going to use the results at his next IEP meeting to determine what he needs next. Thanks, Lorie
SharonL: Lorie, you stated that the test was “informal”. Requesting a test now would be a “formal” standardized test. This will be the kind of test that could hold up in a court of law if you needed to do this later on. There is a certain protocol for a formal test, etc and yes you are well within your rights to request a test like this. If they ask why you can state that you want a standardized testing process. You also have the right to an outside evaluation by a professional at the school’s expense if you do not agree with their formal test when they do it. IF they refuse anything you need to request that it be put in writing. This is called “prior written notice”. Once you learn some of these terms and how to request tests, deal with the school, etc it will become easier.
Morning: How can progress be demonstrated after only six weeks? What is the intervention program? I have contacted the publshers of the reading programs that were used with my child to better understand progress monitoring and fidelity checks. In one case, I was able to demonstrate at a PPT meeting that the district’s implementation of a SBRI was wrong for my child and they changed the way they implemented the program. I had called the publisher to inquire and get guidance. The publisher guided me to the consultants and the district had to make changes to insure that my child would make progress. They also use several assessments to monitor reading and fluency.
50. CHANGING DISTRICTS
Linda: My house was sold, technically my district has changed. Does the first district I have been in continue to provide services? Move date May 30.
SharonL: Linda, the new district will implement the IEP from the old district. When we moved I got a copy of the latest IEP and set up a meeting with the new director to introduce myself and go over the IEP.
51. 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.
52. 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.
53. CAN’T GET READING INTERVENTION
Deanna: I asked for reading intervention through special ed in 4th grade, 6th, and 8th. I was denied and have had to struggle with 504 implementation for years. I filed a complaint with district last year and they did nothing. My son is now a sophomore and they have identified him as reading at a sixth grade level. Do I have an recourse whatsoever? My communications are in writing and i have kept detailed records.
Morning: Deanna, I would not wait for the school. I would pay to have an independent evaluation as well as an AT evaluation. Is this the best approach? My concern is focused on the child. If that was my son–my goal is to ensure that no more time is wasted on a school system that has failed him. You can call a local university to get more information on the latest technology for struggling readers. My child attended a transition fair and the local colleges have amazing support for students with disabilities. Hire an advocate and research your rights. The school district has failed but you need guidance through an advocate or an attorney. If your son wants to attend college or have skills after high school, you need to develop a strategy with transition planning. I would hire an advocate.
54. EXIT EXAMS AND REMEDIATION
Becky: Daughter is struggling with some of her high school exit exams in Writing, Math, and Social Studies. The school’s remediation plan is to put her in a Study Skills class with a Computer Teacher and have her sit and answer questions on a website. She is a Sp Ed student with an IEP. I think she needs to receive individualized instruction from a teacher instead of trying to remediate herself through a website that has already been shown to be ineffective for her. After countless hours on the website her scores actually declined. What does the law say about remediation?
Wendy: Becky, I would request an IEP Meeting to discuss your concerns with remediation. I would suggest making sure that when they ask for parent concerns that you address your issues and make sure they are added to the IEP document. I would have specifics and documentation of why the current remediation does not work for your child. I would also go in with a proposed plan that you think will work for your child. Make sure you schedule a follow up IEP meeting to re-evaluate the changes that are made and make sure the new plan is working. Remember a parent can request an IEP meeting at any time to discuss concerns. Yearly is just a minimum. Hope this helps.
55. 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
56. 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.
57. 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.
58. 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.
59. PULLED OUT OF 1/2 DAY KINDERGARTEN FOR SPED
Mary: My daughter attends half day kindergarten. I want them to use the “other half” of the day to provide her IEP specified services – speech, sped, etc. They are claiming “they do not have the time in their schedules” and therefore pull her out of her gen ed K class for an hour a day causing her to miss story time and math. Shes already behind in math concepts – how can I approach this and get them to readdress their schedules??
Sandy: In my school, they always offer the parents the choice of bringing their child in for sped services during the other 1/2 of the day. So this is odd to me. In any event, I would argue that this arrangement is inappropriate for your child because she is being pulled out and missing too much of the gen ed curriculum. I think if you push them, they will back down on this. Just my experience.
59. CAN A PARENT CHOOSE A PT? NO PT SERVICES FOR 5 WEEKS
Anne: My 18 year old son is quadriplegic with severe TBI, so school services are home based. Following a 4 year history of inconsistent PT services, I located my own within a contracted agency this summer. The district wants to place someone else who doesn’t meet my son’s needs. They will not communicate with me directly about this but to tell me who was already assigned. Meanwhile, this is now the 5th week without PT services, including vacation and I fear extreme regression. Has anyone encountered this issue? Do I have a choice? TIA!
Wrightslaw: Anne, Are your son’s PT services well defined in an IEP? If so, the school needs to make up any missed time on items required in your son’s IEP and/or provide a qualified substitute. Does the PT therapist the school chose have the qualifications to meet your son’s needs? Can you document why not?
Interrupting or failing to make-up missed services could constitute a denial of FAPE. The school needs to follow the IEP. The school should follow the designated time stated in the IEP or make it up.
Parent Advocate Sharon Lutz offers advice about Making Up Missed Therapy Sessions here: http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=5147
Read this article for information, tips, options about how to handle this issue.
60. 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!
61. 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.
62. 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.
63. FUNDING SPECIAL EDUCATION
Erica: Is Special Education money earmarked? In other words, are school systems allowed to take money from special education and put it in the general fund therefore CUTTING special education services?
Chuck: Federal & state funds typically come marked as special ed. However, state rules may allow the district to use some of the money for “over-head costs”, e.g., business office, custodial costs & utilities. Recently TX raised the % of funds that schools can use for these purposes. Federal rules allow schools, in some cases, to use federal funds for response to intervention type activities.
64. WHY NOT USE CERTIFIED MAIL?
Joan: Why should a parent not use certified mail when sending a letter disagreeing with the IEP?
65. 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.
66. 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
67. DON’T WANT MY SON IQ TESTED
Nadia: Can someone please help. The school is forcing us to give our child an IQ test and they told us that he needs to take one in order to be on Portfolio, which is the year end testing for special needs students. If we don’t do it, he will have to have TCAP testing, we live in Tennessee. Can someone please help me. I don’t know the law. I’m not going to IQ test him. I don’t want him labeled intellectually disabled. He is not that. He has a seizure disorder. Please help me. Thank you very much.
Jennifer: Nadia, for most disability categories in special education, an IQ test is part of the required battery to identify students and place them in the program. Check out the Tennessee Special Education website to verify this. If your son is having seizures and this truly is his handicapping condition, there is the possibility that the committee will decide he fits in the Other Health Impaired category. You say you ‘don’t know the law.’ The sooner you get to know the law, the better equipped you will be to make decisions about your son.
68. 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/
69. CAMERAS IN CLASSROOM – LEGAL?
Kathy: Is it legal to have cameras in the classrooms in Tennessee
Wrightslaw: Kathy, the issue of cameras in the classroom is governed by state law. The federal special ed law does not address this issue.
70. DOES NCLB LIMIT MODIFICATIONS FOR STUDENT WITH DISABILITIES?
Alyssa: a special ed student in a gen ed classroom needs modifications in order to gain access to the curriculum. This child is three years at least behind his peers. Ive been told that the team is only allowed to modify the curriculum to a certain level due to NCLB. But no one can tell me what are the curriculum limits. Is this written anywhere?
Wrightslaw: Alyssa, NCLB does not limit classroom modifications. NCLB required states to develop “alternate achievement standards” for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Schools could use “modified achievement standards” to assess students with significant cognitive disabilities.
Your child’s IEP team is responsible for making decisions about the classroom modifications and accommodations your child needs to access the curriculum. These decisions should be based on his unique needs.
71. 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.
72. TESTING OUT OF PLACEMENT
Stan: Can a placement be changed without rewriting the IEP yet? The school is moving my child to a less restrictive environment but an IEP has not been written. How long can he go without an IEP that reflects his placement?
SharonL: Stan – Typically 30 days. Schedule a meeting if you don’t get one by then.
73. PLACEMENT and RE-EVALUATION
Jean: When school agrees an outside placement is needed, don’t they have to provide at least 3 choices of where the student can go. Can the school only choose one site. (The cheapest school of course).
Can a parent request testing before the 3 year evaluation time?
SharonL: Jean, it is my understanding that you can request an evaluation once per year. If you want more the team has to approve.
74. 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!
75. PARENTS OBSERVING IN CLASSROOMS
Chuck: When someone has time, I would like to see a blog item or article on this topic. I believe that the article on this topic on the website needs to be updated.
In TX I am seeing & hearing of more schools putting policies & procedures in place to limit parent observations. These procedures include things like limiting the length & number of visits. Some require a request to the principal before a visit & then they confer with the teacher to determine a day & time. In some cases the school will not allow observations during instructional time & in one case it had to be after the students left.
The rationale behind the policies is stated as the need to limit disruption to instructional time. Attorneys tell schools that this is easier to defend, since state regs address disruptions.
Wrightslaw: Hi Chuck. You wrote, “I would like to see a blog item or article on this topic. I believe that the article on this topic on the website needs to be updated.” I agree but where would you start?
I think these “policies” are developed by administrators who want to limit parent contact and parental involvement. I’m not aware of any law that supports them.
Parents report that they are not allowed to observe or visit their child’s classroom, or they must agree to stringent limits (e.g. 30 minutes once a month after notice xx weeks in advance). Parents are told that “the law” requires schools to deny parent requests to observe their child’s class because this would violate the rights of other students. The only law that deals with confidentiality is FERPA. FERPA regulates education records, nothing more.
Parents report that paper is taped over glass windows in doors of special ed classes to “protect student privacy.” Parents report that they are not allowed to attend school events (e.g. holiday parties, field trips) because this would violate the privacy rights of other students. Are the parents of non-disabled kids having the same problems? I don’t think so, but don’t know so.
Bottom line: Courts have held that school children have very few “privacy rights.” Children with disabilities do not have greater privacy rights than nondisabled kids.
From my perspective, these policies are at odds with IDEA’s requirements re: parental participation – or the spirit of the law. NCLB also includes requirements about increasing parental participation, not discouraging or forbidding it. Since there is no legal justification for these policies, where to start?
Chuck: Thank you for your response here & in the e-newsletter.
TX has a state law that says _ “Sec. 25.083. SCHOOL DAY Interruptions. The board of trustees of each school district shall adopt and strictly enforce a policy limiting interruptions of classes during the school day for nonacademic activities such as announcements and sales promotions. At a minimum, the policy must limit announcements other than emergency announcements to once during the school day.” Schools use this to justify procedures that limit parent visits & observations.
76. TAKING AWAY SERVICES
ms hope: Can a school take away your child services off your child’s iep?
SharonL: ms hope, they should have an IEP meeting to discuss progress and get input from the whole team before removing any services. If they do it without telling you they need to provide prior written notice. Changing services without proper notice or team approval is not allowed. If the school has done this you have every right to request an IEP meeting to discuss.
Stan: Is it acceptable to place a student from a different state in a special education program based on their previous records and IEP? Why are schools so dependent on IQ scores? Can they be the only assessment used in placement/eligibility?
SharonL: Stan, if a child moves from one state to another the IEP that is being used will still hold until another one is written. The new school may want to do a re-evaluation but until then they must follow the existing IEP.
Chuck: Stan, the IDEA regulations require that an evaluation be based on more than one test. Also the evaluators & tests used should vary based on the suspected disabilities (ED, vs, LD, vs OHI). Check the information on this website on evaluations. (On the home page see topics on the bottom left.)
78. I JUST WANT TO BE A PARENT OBSERVER
Katherine: I live in MN. & work at a church where I work wth the youth. My 7th grade child has an IEP at school. Recently she was allowed to go to an overnight lock-in. Because I work 20 hrs for the church & had completed my hours due a law that says I cannot volunteer where I work my church would not let me attend this event with my child even as a parent observer. I am about to be fired over this & wonder if I have recourse over this & what I do about it? I made arrangements for my friends to keep an eye on her but at the end of the lock in when all others were on the bus they did not see her & had to go look for her. She had fallen asleep waiting for everyone on a bench. while nothing terrible happened. She is a vulnerable child & I am very upset & angry by this. What am I able to do about this?
Morning: First, I do emphasize with you as I have been in similar positions with my kids and with parents. But, if the adults sponsoring the event feels she can attend without observing her, trust them. If you don’t feel comfortable, keep her home with you. There is no need for you to attend if it is going to cause this much drama. This is not worth you losing your job over or forcing them into a position. Why should there be a recourse?
Morning: This also may help. My child, through different agencies and schools, was lost for an hour at a vacation bible school at 3 years old, put on the wrong school bus at 5 years old at school and recently at 16 suffered an injury due to his horseplay. In each case, I was angry BUT I knew that the agencies were credible. I collaborated with them to review their risk management assessments, etc. In the end, there were many benefits in the collaboration. My child thrives when I am not around at each event and learns much more and is more relaxed and independent without “mommy” around as he sees me enough at home. If I am ever doubtful of an event or agency, I trust my intuition and my child stays home. There are no easy answers. Each child is unique.
79. REVERSE INCLUSION
Jill: I have two wonderful differently abled girls, 5y, 7y old. We moved from NH to Mass in Nov. my oldest has always been in an regular class setting. However after only reading her iep the director of special Ed has decided she would fit best in a reverse inclusion. She is now in a resource room with seven boys, she only has a regular class time during gym art and music. My daughter has a hard time expressing herself and I read into her behavior. Since the change she has regressed, before this she was using words and behaving normally. She comes home from school and is destructive , pushing, hitting, hanging on me, whiny etc. I know she is not happy, this is the opposite of how she was . Can I force the school to follow her NH IEP, we haven’t met to do a new one for Mass yet? What are my options and what laws do I need to research?
Morning: I can only surmise from your post that several things are occurring. First, please document to the classroom teacher your concerns. Keep data at home about her behavior when she gets off the school bus. Outline what types of positive behaviors that you noted when she was with typical peers at her former school. The fact that she is in a room with all boys is problematic on many levels. Are the boys behavioral? She may be copying behavior. I have seen this over and over again where just 1-2 girls with needs like your daughter are dumped into classrooms with behavioral kids, mostly boys with severe behaviors. This may not be the case with your daughter but you should ask more questions, keep data and do more research. Have her draw a picture of the kids in her class. It will reveal a lot to you.
80. 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.
81. OT IN IEP – CONTRACT EXPIRED – SCHOOL HAS NOT RENEWED
Cher: I don’t know if anyone will have an answer for me, but I thought I would try. My child receives clinic based OT once a week as part of his IEP. My child has not yet met all of his goals for the OT. He started getting the therapy in Feb. School started last week and when I called to verify my child’s appt, the clinic told me that their contract with the district was up, and that they had been trying to find out if the district would continue to pay for my child’s therapy. He missed his session last week because of this. The clinic asked if we have ins. or if we will be paying for this out of pocket. As of this morning, the clinic still has no response from the district. They will not return my calls or answer e-mails. They also did the same thing during the summer as he had therapy for ESY. This is very frustrating. Can they do this?
SharonL: Cher, the school must by law provide the services in the IEP. They don’t have to use the same people they are using now as long as they meet your child’s goals. They cannot just tell you that the OT expired. You need to schedule an IEP team meeting to find out what they will plan to do for you child. Remember they must make up any lost sessions including the sessions lost in the summer. If they refuse they must give you prior written notice so that you will have the official document you will need to take corrective action if necessary
82. SPCECIFIC READING PROGRAM IN IEP
Kim: Is there a NJ law that states that a specific reading program does not have to written into an IEP? School is offering Wilson but wants me to sign an amendment that only says Supplemental Reading Program. I was told by law they do not have to list program.
SharonL: Kim, we had problems getting a specific reading program for our son. The school agreed to put the criteria of the specific program in the IEP. It was written so that the only program that would meet this criteria was the Wilson reading program so that worked. After the law changed, the school put the Wilson reading program or Alphabethic Phonics program in the IEP. The only thing they would not do is put a specific teacher’s name in the IEP.
Veronica: Sharon, how did you get the school to agree to do this? I’m confused about whether or not they are required by law to name the program – but even so, they won’t always agree. We have had no success getting what we want written in the IEP – I think because the school doesn’t have the program we want. They want to use the program they already have.
SharonL: Veronica, the law now allows for a specific reading program to be included in the IEP and you are right, they don’t have to agree. We used the testing to prove that my son did not receive FAPE. We requested a multifactored evaluation from the school. They performed the test in 60 days. AFter we got the results it was obvious that the reading program they were using was not working and he progressed in reading less than 6 months in the last two years. We had a multifactored evaluation done two years in a row which is allowable by law and it is a document that can be used in court and they know it because it is a standardized test. We found an outside tutor that did an evaluation on my son and after her test we requested that they put her program on the list and they agreed.
Melissa: Kim and Sharon, I would think that if it is an Orton-Gillingham approach to reading then a specific program name such as Wilson is not necessary. Wilson is a great Orton based program so is Project Read and several others. Are you looking to have Wilson named because it has proven to work with your child? or should the IEP state that a multi-sensory approach based on Orton-Gillingham be listed on the IEP?
83. ADA REQUIREMENTS FOR CLASSROOM SIZE
Dennis: My wife and I disagree with our son’s placement for the new school year. Our biggest issue is the room size (very small) and location. Our son is classified as SID and wheel chair bound. Can any one give us the ADA requirements for class room size in sq ft per student? Also it is a self contained class so would the restroom need to be handicapped accessible? Also in a special needs class does there have to be more than one emergency exit? This is a newly created class and the school used the old teachers lounge for the new special needs classroom. It is approximately 100′ to the nearest exit, with 4 wheel bound kids and one autistic child and 1 teacher and 3 aids this distance seems excessive?
Kaye: Dennis, I do not have all the answers to your questions, but I did want to mention something that may help. We created a safety plan for our daughter (with autism) and as part of that safety plan, there is a paragraph that specifically assigns who will take care of her during emergency situations. She has a 1:1 para so that was fairly simple. However, in your case, I would ask what their plans are for moving several children outside and ask whether there is a time where aides are out of the classroom and unable to assist. I would ask that they put a fire/tornado/emergency safety plan IN WRITING and for you to receive a copy of it.
Denis: Thank you Kaye, we had not thought of that, but at our next IEP that will certainly be on the agenda! And, we have found out that in the state of Ga, the minimum classroom size is 38sq. ft. per child with other requirements…if this helps anyone!
83. 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.
84. “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.
85. DAUGHTER FAILING – SCHOOLS SAYS DOESN’T QUALIFY FOR SERVICES ANYMORE
Donna: Need help!! My 14 year old ADHD daughter classified as OHI. Her MD ? L D but the school said her acheivement & IQ are too high. “She does not qualify for anymore services” She has resource room 4 days a week co teacher in 2 classes ( math and english) My concern is that she has a very hard time with completing homework or making up low grades ( she does not see the need to ) She is in 9th grade but reading at 5th grade level. I feel this is a big portion of her problem if she cant understand how can she be expected to do it and get good grades.
She is failing many classes, isnt there a reason she has this IEP?
Shouldnt they be doing more?
I am not looking for a easy way out for her but I dont want her to QUIT.
Am I being unreasonable ??? I would appreciate any input/ideas from anyone
SharonL: Donna, My ADHD son was on an OHI IEP & he had accommodations and modifications for educational goals as well as behavioral goals. I asked the dept of special ed in state of ohio where I live & was informed that an OHI IEP is an IEP & any goal that the IEP team believes the child needs can be put on the IEP. When was the last time your daughter was evaluated? Now may be a good time to have her re-evaluated. Be sure to sign the school’s consent form so that they do the eval in 60 days. If you do not agree with the results of the eval you may have one done by an outside professional at the school’s expense. You do not have to sign anything. If the school refuses anything for your daughter they must give prior written notice.
86. 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.
87. WHO CAN PARENT BRING TO MEETINGS?
Sharon: What are a parents rights to bring a friend or second set of ears to help them at a meeting with the child teacher, and team members. I was told no advocates, no friends, and was denied an educator who could be very helpful and knows my child. I was told the school has a right to make there own rules and would only allow parents to attend. Is this true? Where is it in the law? I found who you can take to a IEP, CSE but not any thing on informal meetings, team meeting progress reports, or parent conferences. Please help.
Jennifer: I know of no such regulation that restricts a parent from bringing anyone they want to a meeting. Just make sure that the person you bring improves the process and helps bring about concensus between you and the school.
SharonL: Sharon, there should be no issue to bringing a friend or advocate to the IEP meeting as long as you let them know in advance so they have that person’s name on the list. I have brought advocates, attornies, speech therapists, math tutors, language specialists & reading specialists at different times to the meetings depending on what the discussion was about. I even had some of them on a speaker phone which is allowed by the law. If they do not allow you to bring anyone again make them show you where it is written that you cannot & request that in writing. You can bring a digital recorder to the meeting,also again as long as you let them know. This way you do not have to take notes. Usually people act better when they know they are being taped.
Chuck: The school can develop their own rules about who can attend non-IEP meetings, unless their rules do not follow state rules. It is always good to ask for the school’s policy & procedures on any issue that you are concerned about. You can always ask for an IEP meeting & invite whoever you want.
88. 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!
89. 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.
90. 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.
91. ENVIRONMENT TOO RESTRICTIVE
Kristin: My 10 year old daughter has Down syndrome. She is in an inclusive 5th grade classroom but pulled out for 2.75 hours with 8 other kids into the classroom next-door for reading and math daily. (1 hour with 2 additional kids) She is making good progress, is very social, does not need assistance outside of academics. She will be moving to middle school next year, where there is a community based program, of 6 kids, all of whom are significant delayed and lower functioning than my daughter. This is the program the district will place my daughter. Location of services on IEP at current school says sp.ed, but at new school, I do not want her in that sp. ed setting. They have said they will not change IEP end date to reflect only current year/building. If I sign IEP then she will be in a more restrictive environment next school year. Help.
Jennifer: Kristin, if there were an argument for the least restrictive placement, you have it. This is clearly stated in the law—-the child must be placed in the least restrictive setting. When they plan your daughter’s school year at the end of the current year, take all of her grades and everything else to show her level of function. Let the school know your concerns up front, beforehand. I would suggest an official conference, requested by yourself, to discuss this up front.
92. 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.
93. 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.
94. SERVICES NO LONGER NEEDED
Jen: My daughter (9 years now) has been getting special services since she was three and is currently receiving services for Speech and Math. Her academics and progress have been excellent and she had another re-evaluation before Christmas. Just got back from a meeting to discuss the results of the re-evaluation and the ARD committee is recommending and stating that she no longer needs special services. If services are discontinued, does this mean she no longer has or needs an IEP and does she no longer fall under IDEA?? I have an annual ARD scheduled for tomorrow morning.
Wrightslaw: Jen – I think the answer to your question is “yes.” It sounds like the school wants to discontinue your daughter’s services, her IEP, and her eligibility under IDEA. You should ask some questions before that happens. This article is about a child with a reading disability – but it advises what to consider before you agree to terminate services. http://www.wrightslaw.com/heath/elig.eval.read.htm
Do you know what was tested? Did you understand the evaluation data/results? Did the evaluator provide clear recommendations for your daughter?
Discontinuing services doesn’t necessarily mean your daughter “no longer needs an IEP.” Has she met all her IEP goals? Does her disability no longer impact her ability to learn and make progress in the general curriculum? Before you allow the school to terminate eligibility, you want to make sure that you are convinced she is functioning well, will continue to do so, and will be prepared for further education, employment, and independent living.
95. 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.
96. 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.
97. 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.
98. HOW TO GET TRAINING FOR TEACHERS & PARENTS
Bonnie: I am an EC teacher of non-verbal autistic students. This year my students have been able to get their own dynamic devices, and we , my students, parents, paraprofessionals and myself are learning together, However, there are many glitches in this process because I am not fluent with the devices. My need for myself and my students is to get on going training so as to maximize their success. How do I write it in an IEP? A parent did request more training–but it will be 2 hours total, not on an as need basis?
Wrightslaw: Bonnie, use your Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd edition. Turn to p. 100, 201, 246. Read the sections in the statute and regulations about program modifications or supports for school personnel and parent counseling and training. http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/selaw2.html
These subsections envision “services that are provided to the parents or teachers of a child with a disability to help them to more effectively work with the child.”
I see nothing in these sections that requires this support and training to be restricted or limited to two hours or a one-time training rather than on-going training as needed.
Rather than using “maximize” your students’ success, you might want to use the words from the Commentary about training: “it would normally be targeted directly on assisting the teacher to meet a unique and specific need of the child.”
This article will help: Support for School Personnel and Parent Training: Often Overlooked Keys to Success by Susan Bardet. http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/support.bardet.htm
Bonnie: My parent was requesting that the training is on going for next year, and for the new teacher, as I am retiring this June.
99. 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.
100. CAN PARENT WAIVE RIGHT TO IEP MTG?
Joe: Can a parent waive her rights to attend a triennial meeting for her child? Can the meeting therefore continue without the presence of the parent?
SharonL: Joe, Yes – on both accounts.
101. PARENTS ARE/ARE NOT IEP/EDUCATIONAL TEAM MEMBERS?
Monica: Why do school districts tell parents at back to school night that we are a critical part of our children’s educational team and strongly encourage us to participate in our children’s education but at the IEP meeting treat parents as outsiders and discourage our participation in our children’s education, especially when the parent tries to actively participate, by making goals, or doing research on the current academic methodologies etc.?
Miranda: Monica, school districts tend to define terms like active parent participation unconventionally. When you 1st hear personnel speak of parent participation on back to school night, they are defining it unconventionally, but not telling you their definition. It is not until you get into the IEP drafting process that you begin to see that definitions differ. This has to do with money: the cost of service provision > minutes of service provision & that all affects goal drafting. Unfortunately, a district’s tendency to define terms unconventionally (& not to let the parents in on the unconventional defining) indicates that they do not want parents to be equal IEP members so that the district can determine services, hours, and goals unilaterally. They hope parents will believe they are equal IEP decision-makers cause they are according to IDEA.
102. 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.”
103. 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!
104. 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.
105. WHAT CONSTITUTES “REGULAR” CLASSROOM?
Ebony: Does a classroom which contains all LD kids in a given grade (i.e. all third graders with LD in same class) constitute the “regular classroom”?
Morning: Hi Ebony. My LD kid was put in such a classroom with other LD kids in the 6th grade. I only figured if out after she came home told me about the behavioral issues, reading problems, worksheets, etc. After a month of collecting data such as my child’s report, low level worksheets, etc,, I told the administration that the instructional mode was not allowing her to meet her IEP goals. She was pulled out and had a successful year. On the other hand, she has been in a classroom where it was mostly LD kids who needed intensive writing support and it worked because the teacher was trained, had an aide and had great behavioral management skills. She learned a lot that year. Her writing improved significantly.
106. 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!
107. DATA NEEDED TO SHOW NEED FOR INCLUSION
June: I am a teacher trying to advocate for students in my classroom. I am trying to advocate for more inclusion time and I am being told by my school that I need to present data that shows they can be in gen ed. Is this true?
Chuck: Others can give you more information and resources on this, but since the beginning, the federal special ed law has been based on the concept that the general ed classroom is the “default” placement for students with disabilities. So, the school should be presenting data that general ed classes are not appropriate. In many cases it has been ruled that the child should be tried in general ed to show whether or not it can work with the required supports and services required.
108. LOSING OT SERVICES
Veronica: My son has Down syndrome and is nearly 11, in fifth grade. At our last IEP, the OT announced he had “no goals” for my son as he would be losing direct OT services (30 minutes/week) and moving to consultation (on the IEP it says 15 minutes per month of indirect services). My son can barely write his name and scored below the 1% in every category of the Test of Handwriting Skills, Revised (THS-R). The school won’t budge on restoring his direct services. What recourse do I have? How can they deny direct services to someone who is so delayed?
Any help or advice would be much appreciated?
Sandy: Veronica, it sounds like your child SHOULD have OT goals and services. Does the school disagree with your opinion of how poorly he is doing in these skills? If they agree, then they need to draft goals and continue services. If they disagree, I’d suggest you get an outside evaluation and go from there. Hope this helps!
109. PARENT TRAINING IN WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL ED LAW
Bonnie: where in Wright’s law 2nd edition will I find information about continuing training for parents, teachers and students, using their dynamic communication devices. My students are non-verbal autistic emerging communicators who will have a new teacher next year–she/he will need training, as well as the parents to address their child’s goals.
Wrightslaw: Bonnie – In Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd edition, use the index for “parent training” or “parent counseling.”
If you have the PDF format for your computer, you can search for any term in the text. http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/selaw2/selaw2.htm#formats
Another place to find answers: just enter a term in the search box on any Wrightslaw page. If you enter “parent training,” this article is the first result.
Support for School Personnel and Parent Training. http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/support.bardet.htm
Don’t hesitate to use the Search box or category check on the Wrightslaw Way Blog when you are searching for information.
In fact, I think the answer to this question is archived on the Community Helpline. http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?page_id=6763
110. APPROPRIATE USE OF RTI
Audrey: I am an attorney representing a student who was receiving RTI for behavioral problems in the form of counseling. The student has since been expelled, notwithstanding my pointing out to the District that they needed to do a manifestation determination. Their attorney explained that the District give lots of kid RTI and many of them don’t go on to receive special education. Given the type of RTI in this case, I cry bullpucky. But I am left wondering- I know RTI used (a) to determine whether a student should be evaluated under IDEIA; and (b) to design specially designed instruction in the even that the student is evaluated and found eligible. Is it used for anything else!
Chuck: Audrey, the primary purpose of RTI is to prevent the need for referrals to special ed by providing a child with appropriate instructional strategies & programs to address their needs. However, the federal Dept. of Education has clearly said that parents have the right to request a special ed evaluation, even if the school is trying or wants to try RTI. However, the school can give the parent prior written notice of refusal to do RTI, if they feel that RTI is working or might work.
111. PART C SERVICES
Jessica: My 2 year old son has Down Syndrome. He recieves SLP, OT, & PT all for 3x month for 30 minutes and EI 2x month for 30 minutes. At the IFSP meeting yesterday I was told that the therapists are seeing him together for thier services–for example, the SLP and PT are going together each week for 30 minutes. Is this legal? To my way of thinking, if therapists go together, they should spend 60 minutes with my son. What are the guidelines for services in the Part C Program?
Estelle: Jessica, tell them no. They are abusing the system and double paying. Once In a while is ok but tell them no. They have separate goals that is not fair to the child. If they want to know what everyone is working on that is what the review is for.
112. NEED OT & PT
Heather: When doctors recommend OT and pt how do you get the school to add these?
Sandy: Heather, you need to request that the school evaluate your child for OT and PT since you suspect these areas of need per your doctor. Your consent to evaluation (put it in writing!!) triggers the timeline the school must follow to evaluate and determine if your child is eligible. So get the ball rolling ASAP!
113. 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.
114. NO STAFF AVAILABLE – NO ST
Tina: My non-communicative autistic son will be going into high school next year and at his iep they are telling me that his speech therapy could be reduced because they do not have an onsite speech therapist at the school. He has been in te school system for 11 years and they have not yet taught him to communicate his needs. I have tried to push using an ipad with speech apps but have met much resistance. Now they tell me there is not enough staff and the therapist they have is only there 2 days a week with a lot of students to see during that time. I thought they had to provide related services based on the child’s unique needs rather than the services available. Please advise. Thanks!
Sandy: Tina, you are correct about the school having to provide for your child’s unique needs, not what their staffing permits. They can hire additional therapists, can contract out, or can pay for your own private therapist. Ask them about those options. Otherwise, I’d provide them with a 10 business day written notice that you are planning to obtain private speech services to meet your child’s needs due to their failure to provide FAPE, and then present them with the bill. If they don’t pay, you could then pursue legal recourse (state complaint, mediation, due process). Good luck!
115. PARENT OBSERVATION IN CLASS
Angela: Does a parent have the right if they have a special needs student, mainstreamed in public school, to go to the office and ask to go to their classroom, and they are denied. can they enter anyway? there are situations going on and concern that child isnt getting needs met.
SharonL: Angela, we have gone in and observed our son’s different times through the school years however we could not just walk in to d that. WE always had to make an appointment so they would know about it. We always got to see what we wanted to see whether we go in announced or un-announced. Find out what your school’s policy for observing your children are and then you can observe them.
116. PULLED OUT OF CLASS – NOT WORKING
Kristie: What kind of law protects my son from getting pulled out of class when he doesn’t want to go? The school psychologist really wants to pull him out in small groups to teach him social skills, but when she has done this these past few months, he misbehaves. He tells me he doesn’t want to leave his class. He doesn’t require curriculum modification; he gets terrific grades. He’s fully included in his classroom, but he gets so mad sometimes that he has to leave the classroom and calm down. I can’t quite talk the school psychologist into trying to deliver the information to him creatively. Can you help me figure it out?
SharonL: Kristie, is there another alternative during the day for the social skills training like first thing in the morning, after school, 1/2 on the lunch hour or study hall so that your son does not have to get pulled out of class? This could be a start to compromise with the psychologist. You can also opt to request an IEP meeting to discuss this with the team to find a resolution.
Lori: My son is 20 years old and has Autism. He recently lost his license to drive. I asked the school for transportation, which will help him in his transition to adulthood. They offer the “yellow school bus”. I am asking for transportation that meets his individual needs, including his age. Normal 20 year olds do not use school buses, but other modes of transportation. This is the only thing they are offering. Does transportation have to meet his needs, and also meet the requirement for transition to adulthood services?
Renee: Lori, is your 20 yo son going to school (as opposed to work site)? What other options are available in your community? Is there a city bus that has a route from your home to/near school or worksite? Would a paid city bus pass be appropriate for him in that case? Our area has small buses (not yellow) that can be used by anyone for door to door service, but are mostly used by the elderly or individuals with disabilities. They are expensive for repeated use, though. School buses in general are an efficient way to get a large group of students to school. (Sure they have problems, too!) Do other older students ride the bus? I can see how you might describe how your son is not with his peers on a school bus. In these type of cases, I make sure to present many ideas to the district, rather than wait for their one offer.
SharonL: Lori, I think it is appalling that the school wants your 20 year old to take a yellow school bus however they legally can offer you that and nothing else if they want to. You offering alternatives is a good idea. One thing you can try is since your son was driving I am assuming that you were getting mileage reimbursement from the school in lieu of transporation services. When my son was seeing an outside tutor for specialized reading for his dyslexia the school paid for his mileage to and from the tutor since they were paying her to teach him. If they have not been doing this for your son they should have and technically owe you the money. Perhaps you can bargain with this for public transportation in your community rather than paying you back all of the money they owe you. It is worth a try.
118. 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.
119. 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.
120. 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.
121. PARENT OBSERVATION
Miranda: School says we must give 48 hours notice to observe. We can only observe for 60 minutes and it can only occur 1x per month. An administrator must accompany us on the observation. In addition, they say we must sign an observer agreement before we are taken to our child’s classroom.
I’ve read http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/priv.confid.observe.htm
Anyone have more advice?
Chuck: Miranda, if you have not already done so, ask the school for a copy of the district & campus policy/procedures. It is not uncommon for staff to not know what their procedures actually say. If the policy/procedures does list what they have told you, it could be hard to fight this, unless it contradicts state law/regs. Schools argue that these policies are needed to reduce interruptions to instruction.
Miranda: Thanks, Chuck. The district procedures do say what they told us, but many of the 10 limitations are not supported by state or federal law. Yes, they have argued that the observation limits are in place to reduce disruption and to protect student privacy. And it is not our desire to disrupt. Unfortunately, we have uncovered many violations recently and have significant reason to believe that our child is not being provided an education of any kind for 2/3 of the school day. That is why we need to get in there and observe and that is why they are blocking us.
122. QUESTIONABLE PROGRESS MONITORING
Tiffany: I recently had a parent-teacher meeting with the gen. ed and co-teacher about my daughter’s IEP progress reports, accommodations, and modifications in the classroom. After being in class for a month and a half she was reported on a P3 which is a good progress and a step away from mastering the objective. I asked the gen. ed teacher how do you start at a P3 within the first six weeks of school and he replied he didn’t know what a P3 was because he doesn’t report for the IEP that is the SPED teacher job. My daughter hasn’t been receiving her services or modifications in this class. The teacher told me they just started doing small group administration a month and a half ago. They told me I can’t go back to the first 6wks because they weren’t modifying her work but reported a P3. I asked for data but didn’t receive it yet. What should I do?
SharonL: Tiffany, put the request for data in writing. It sounds like they messed up & they need to get back on track. If you get no results request an IEP meeting to discuss. Bring a professional that may help clarify the situation.
123. 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.
124. 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
125. 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.
126. “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.
127. PARENTS DISAGREE WITH PLACEMENT
Rosa: I need to know if the parents disagree with placement the school decides can the child be moved without parents consent. We have voiced our disagreement but attorney has not put stay orders in because just about the end of school confused
ASDmom: Unfortunately the school system has the upper hand and can do what they want. Your only recourse is to exercise your rights under the Procedural Safeguards via Due Process to enforce stay put.
Word of warning – not all Districts honor and/or DP Hearing Officers make them honor Stay Put. We had 2 seperate DP’s involving removal of an aide – DP filed to force Stay Put. With first DP school system honored stay put, with 2nd they did not (different district) and Hearing Officer didn’t make them. HO said that what constituted as Stay Put and if appropriate were all for him to decide at a hearing. Not right but….
128. FINDING THE LAW
Anne: I’ve been told that if a school is incapable of properly educating one of it’s students, then the district is responsible for placing that student in the nearest school with the proper capabilities at their cost, including transportation. Is this true and if so, where do I find the law?
Patricia: Anne, you are right if a school district can not provide for the childs needs then you can send them to another school on the present schools dime. I would look at the IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It might be where you can find this information.
129. 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/
130. 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!
131. WHAT ARE SOME GOOD READING PROGRAMS?
Becky: My daughter is in the 9th grade, she is dyslexic, and on a 5th grade reading level. What are some good specific reading programs that I could request for her at her next iep meeting. I’ve heard of the Wilson Reading Program but I wasn’t sure if there was a more age appropreiate program available.
Morning: Becky, you bring up a great point that centers on age approopriate readng programs. I have found that some older kids are very resistant to Wilosn as it seems laborious to them even by the most well trained teachers. In my opinion, monitoring progress is key with a program that is implemented with fidelity. For my child who is dyslexic, Read 180 works well. She is making progress. Wilson would be better, but she is older (high school) and only wanted Read 180 as she did not want to continue Wilson. She is happy and thrilled. She has gained confidence. She wanted something that was age appopriate and not 1-1. Each child is different and many factors must considered for the older child.
132. 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.
133. 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.
134. 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!
135. 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.”
136. SCHOOL PLACEMENT
Debbie: My son is 51/2 and evaluated by the school as having autism. He is in the special ed class 40% of his time and mainstreamed the rest of the time which we think is working well for him. He is very smart academically (reading 3rd grade) but now school says he is not answering in class . we dont have autism program in our school so we need to move him to another school where he will be with other kids on spectrum . We as parents want him to continue this and getting pressured by school as they change what they say to suit their needs. Can the school force us to do this ? they say they dont have resources to help him so can we request for aide for him in mainstream class?? please help me i am really desperate as he is on mild end of spectrum and I want him to be mainstreamed as much as possible ..
Sandy: Debbie, remind them of the law’s LRE (least restrictive environment) provisions. Your child has the right to go to his home school WITH appropriate supports unless that cannot be achieved. So if an aide would help, that is less restrictive than moving him to a different school. You can learn more about LRE at Wrightslaw, and you can also contact your state’s parent training information center (PTI) or protection & advocacy agency (P&A) for more info – good luck!
137. 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!
138. 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.