Changing Tracks: My Son is Failing – Despite his IEP

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I read your article “Can a Child With an IEP Fail?”  My son has LD and is in high school. He has an IEP, but the school has not evaluated him since 4th grade. He failed algebra and English, even though he had an instructional aide. I’ve questioned the school about the appropriateness and effectiveness of an IEP that allows a child to fail. I asked for an aide for summer school, but the school refused.

Your son had an aide this year. Despite having an aide, he failed English and algebra.

  • How will an aide help your son pass English and algebra in summer school?
  • What education and training are aides required to have?
  • What is the difference between an aide an a highly qualified teacher?

Kids with learning disabilities have complex needs. They kids need teachers who are trained in effective, research based methods to teach skills like English and algebra. 

How Will an Aide Meet Your Child’s Needs?

Providing an aide again is not the answer to your child’s  problems. Your child needs to be taught by a skilled teacher, not an aide.

What evidence do you have that the aide is/was qualified to teach Algebra, higher math, and English?  Why would a highly qualified person work as an aide when most schools can’t find enough highly qualified math teachers?

Get a Comprehensive Psycho-Educational Evaluation

You say the school has not evaluated your child since 4th grade. If the IEP team does not have current data, they don’t know where he is functioning, what his needs are, and what services he needs.

Your  first step is to get a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation by an evaluator in the private sector who has expertise in learning disabilities.

Learn About Your Child’s Skills

It sounds like you and the school members of your child’ team don’t know what his skills are or what he needs in an educational program. You need to get a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation on your son ASAP. Get an evaluator in the private sector who is knowledgeable about specific learning disabilities. I advise you to contact the International Dyslexia Association at http://www.interdys.org.

That organization can provide you with contact information for evaluators in your area. After testing is complete, the evaluator needs to meet with the IEP team, and describe your son’s unique needs the educational program he needs, and what will happen if the school does not provide that program.

Revise the IEP

Your son needs a SMART IEP with goals that are specific, measurable, realistic and relevant, and time-specific.

Since the program and services provided in your child’s IEP is not meeting your son’s needs, you and the other members of his team need to revise the IEP. The team cannot develop an appropriate IEP until they have accurate information from a comprehensive evaluation.

Because my son has was doing so poorly, he changed to an occupational diploma and is now working toward an alternate curriculum.

IDEA requires schools to provide a free appropriate public education “designed to meet the child’s unique needs and prepare him for further education, employment and independent living.” Is the school providing him with a FAPE as described in the law? How will changing the curriculum and type of diploma meet his needs for the future?

It’s surprising that your son is hasn’t given up. He changed his diploma track because the school didn’t teach him the skills he needs to pursue a regular diploma.

Your son needs your help. Your first step is to get a comprehensive evaluation by an expert in the private sector who has expertise in reading and language problems. After that, you and the other members of the team need to develop an IEP that meets his unique needs.

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22 Comments on "Changing Tracks: My Son is Failing – Despite his IEP"

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my son graduated high school with an IEP in place. He was offered a full scholarship for baseball, and lost it due to his grades. went to a community college for a year failed out. went to check out post grad schools, and They said my son never graduated based on his IEP. nO school would look at him based on his grades. even though he was amazing athlete. he is in a prepschool, they also said he never should’ve graduated. They took him because they loved him and they wanted him to succeed. I have invested a lot of money, Do I have any legal rights?

Hello, my son has a IEP and he has also been diagnosed with a disability in math. He is unable to retain it. I just got his grades and in two of his classes he is measuring at 4th grade in math and literature. And no one seems to be concerned. It’s the middle of January and he is no better off. They did testing and evaluated him at the beginning of this year. What do I do.

Hi. My son has Aspergers syndrome and add and dysgraphia. He is in the 9th grade and I am really struggling to help him in his photo class. The teacher will just not back off him having to write out critiques on command in class everyday. He is failing that class. Do I have the right to remove him from a class I feel is not productive for him? There are no other classes available for him. What are my options?

Kim, Did you ever get an answer to your questions? I know this was posted year ago, but your dilemma is not specific to you only. Others have similar cases. Moving a child out of an Elective class is sometimes seen as a non-special education issue.

My son has an IEP. School couldn’t teach him, sent him to another school and now they can’t school him in High School next year. His life has been hell through school. He gets picked on and bullied for being in special Ed and when he does get a couple of friends he has to leave again to another school, It sucks and breaks his heart. Now they are talking another place at some troubled kid place. We want our son in a normal school, not with bad kids. He isn’t a bad kid and we don’t want him to be!! We want him to go to prom and school functions!! How is this fair to any child??

Special Ed unfortunately will never have an “End” to the bullying. He may just have to cope with it throughout school. Its just the way social life works in school. Its really not his fault but he will experience bullying in every part of his life; We all experience this. He can still partake in prom and social gatherings at the school. Its just that you cannot expect someone who may have trouble finding friends to go to prom and enjoy things like that. Again, this isnt fair to your child. I send my condolences.

POSSIBLE ACCOMMODATION – VERBAL ANSWERS ON TESTS?

I live in VA and have a 10 yr old son that has been diagnosed with Asperger’s , ADHD , OCD , depression & anxiety . He currently has an IEP In place at school , he is a very intelligent child , however he is failing due to has lack of being able to focus. His accommodations are excellent , however I was wondering … Can he give verbal answers on tests , since he is having a great deal of trouble comprehending what he is reading? What does VA law say as far as being able to make that accommodation for him? Any help you could offer would be appreciated. He already gets pulled out of the class for testing , but he is failing ALL of his benchmark tests due to focus and comprehension. Thank you.

My son is a sophomore and I come to find out that his school was not following his IEP. He has failed history because he has could not pass a test which was an all or nothing test worth 100 points. He had a 71% up until 2 weeks before the grading period was over. At the beginning of the year, they changed his scheduled without my knowledge that only gave him 5 credits for the quarter. Since he had failed history, this has left him ineligible for sports until next semester. They did not leave him any room for any problems knowing he had an IEP and may have a problem. My son has ADD & was diagnosed with severe test anxiety. He can perform his other work with pretty well, does not have an attendance problem but cannot comprehend well at all. Should my son be punished from sports because the school failed to follow his IEP? What do I do?

Sue the district, the teacher, and the principal.

I am overwhelmed. My 4th grade daughter is failing. She has PTSD, and Tricktelimania from a rape in 2008. She underwent a year and a half of rape counseling, before we moved to a new area. She is on an IPMP and an SAI, and has straight f’s. The biggest challenge is that she doesn’t care. Truth be told she should have failed last year, but we didn’t want it linked to the trauma. Now she is so far behind I don’t know where to start. What are the best steps to take. The school is taking a view point that I myself do not care, which is very much not so. My baby feels defeated and doesn’t want to even try. Homework is a struggle, when she brings it home at all. Where do we start? What we are doing is certainly not enough. A desperate mother, Lisa

My son is now in 11th grade with an IEP since the 4th grade. He was wrongly diagnosed with ADHD\OCD\MOOD DISORDER\PTSD…sadly I had him re-diagnosed on my own this past year with Bi-Polar. Over the years I did express this diagnosis since it’s in my family, of course nobody listens to the parents!! Unfornuately the Special Education Director retired over the summer, now replaced with somebody who is not so helpful. We had an IEP meeting yesterday 9-28-10 come to find out my son is failing and wants ME to take home the IEP from last year and revise it by myself. I am fine with that but I also know the IEP team is suppose to be involved with these decisions as well , they are working with my child. I am curious to know what the credits are to graduate and does it apply to special eduction children.
FROM A VERY UPSET MOTHER

My problem is similar. Although, when my child failed I found out her IEP was not being implemented. I started the due process procedure. I asked to reconvene the IEP, and finally after three months they agreed on the last day of school. I usually supply the evaluations privately because the school does not make a diagnosis, and they won’t pay for a private eval because it is summer. They want to wait until school starts. I told them I will be disagreeing with it because it will provide no “diagnosis” needed for “health impairment” and they still refuse. They are doing everything at a snails pace, meanwhile my daughter does not have things in place to start school ready to learn like other kids. There was ample opportunity to get ducks in a row at the end of last year, but they were unwilling due to the due process.

I have a 9 year old, special needs, son with Severe Hyperlexia. I just refused to sign his IEP because the “team” has put him on an alternative diploma, even at this young age. It is their contention, that the curriculum is watered down, thus negating most children, in ESE, from passing the FCAT. Unfortunately, most accomadations were denied i.e. separate room, questions read to him etc. Does anyone know what my next step in this. Diane

A child on an IEP can continue through school up to age 22. MY son went one year extra after the year he was supposed to graduate and they let him do a “social” graduation where he walks with his class and gets the booklet the diploma goes in but no diploma. If you allow your son to get a diploma it is a “change of placement” and the school will consider his services discontinued. Please follow your schools process for getting an outside Multifactored evaluation. In our district the outside evaluation is paid for by the school and the school must consider the results of the evaluation. An attorney may be helpful to you at this time as well or at least a physician that can help you interpret the multifactored evaluation. I always put everything, every request in writing and sent one of the letters certified mail.

I guess the question still remains, can a student with an iep fail? My son is a senior and he will not graduate with his class, he also has an iep and is 2 credits behind. I was told by another parent that if he has an iep he cant fail? I am lost here, I am not even sure the teachers were following his iep plan, all I get from the teachers is “he is a smart boy” that still didnt answer my question. Does anyone have the answer? I have even gone as far as requesting a new counselor two weeks ago, I feel he is being swept under the rug, does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? thanks

Marilyn,

Placement and related/direct service changes are an IEP team decision. Did you get Prior Written Notice from the school?

This should outline the scientific research they used in determining that these services are no longer needed as well as a statement that offers the expected Educational improvements that will likely come as a result of their unilateral decision to make this change.

The projected expectation could be documented and turned into a measurable goal. In the event that the expected progress is not made by date, name will have a para within XXdays.

Pamela, additionally, if you request another meeting in writing, they have to complete it within the NYS timeline. And during July and August, in NY, regular business days count as school days in that timeline.

Pamela, If they want to keep this meeting as an annual review, they can, but there is nothing in NY regulations that prevents them from changing things for this year. You should be reviewing your child’s goals with the special ed teacher and determining if they are being met. Were they originally written in measurable terms? Can you tell if they are being met? If not, then you need to ask why not. Do they have up to date evaluations? Have you asked for and independent educational evaluation in writing (IEE is when you disagree with the results of the school’s eval. Too old? Disagree. Not thorough? Disagree. ) Have you checked her progress against the progress of other children her age? (Check the Wrightslaw main site for Understanding Tests and Evaluations) Then you will have DATA to take into a meeting with you.

We got a notice of action on the 5th. that our school was not going to provide a personal para anymore-we argued at our IEP meeting that it was a safety issue plus to keep her on task with school work-we have letters from Doctors stating she needs a para–Is there anything we can do to keep her untill we figure out what to do!!

We live in NY and I have a 3rd grade girl in a co-teach class with a general ed teacher and a spec ed teacher. We have a subcomittee CSE meeting coming up for the annual review. I asked the school psychologist who is to be the CSE chair this year if we could change services for this year at this meeting.

My daughter is being pulled out of class a lot and I feel that she no longer needs OT, which she receives once a week.

Can’t changes be made at this meeting that affect current and present services? The CSE chair told me we need ‘another’ meeting to change services for the current year.

Is she correct? Does this depend on each district or is there a statewide protocol? This is a great site with much needed information. Thank you for your help.
Best,
Pamela

My son has never been evaluated for ADHD, or ADD. My concern is that he is an IEP student and has struggled throughout the last several years with emotional difficulty: Being bullied, and reacting with emotional and verbal inappropriateness. However, I believe he has been unjustly subjected to fail. Last year he met with his guidance counselor to prepare his schedule for the coming year. He brought the copies home for me to look over and sign so that he could return them to school. He was over-joyed and excited, looking forward to the coming year. Right before school started, we were told by the IEP director that his schedule had been changed. I protested, to no avail. She said that they’d see how things went, and if need be, they’d change it back. My son has totally regressed, even failing gym, and has lost all interest.

My son is now a Junior in HS. We have had IEP’s since his 3rd grade yr. I have fought with our school system yr. after yr. to try & get my son into a program that will allow him to thrive instead of fail. I am at the end of my rope with the school. My son falls asleep in a regular classroom sitting. He is severe ADD & if there is not something keeping his attention, then he nods off. I have to tell his teachers that he has ADD because his Resource teachers do not even check in on him now. I never hear about him failing until it is to late to do anything about it. Where I live, in WVa, we have no help whatsoever. I have a friend that works with the IDEA laws & the Wright Laws, but she is in Pa. & can not get down here to help us. What am I suppose to do to help him get ready for the real world?

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