Eligibility: 3 YEAR OLD SON CANNOT QUALIFY FOR IEP

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Robbie:  My son I adopted from fostercare. He qualified for early head start because he was a foster child, there was alcohol use during pregnancy, abuse to mom while pregnant, mom was involved in prostitution, and both parents have some major mental health issues. My son was only 3 weeks old when he came into my care and he was severely neglected and already showing signs of detachment . All reasons for him to get into EHS. He later was found to have sensory processing disorder which results in some troubling behaviors. He is about to turn 3 and now they say he will not qualify for an IEP and he is being kicked out of the program he is in. They said he has tested either normal and some areas advanced for his age, and the sensory issue alone does not get him an IEP. Everyone who works with him knows he needs the structure that Head Start will give him and the biting behaviors will keep him form other daycare settings. Is there anything I can do?

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6 Comments on "Eligibility: 3 YEAR OLD SON CANNOT QUALIFY FOR IEP"

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Your state should have clear regulations on transition from early intervention (birth-3) services to preschool (3-K) services. In MO ours can be found on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website, Special Education page. You might want to try looking your state’s regulations up. In MO, at least, the early intervention team are required to discuss early childhood special education services with the family and are required to either pass on the family information to the local district, which is a formal referral and begins an evaluation timeline, or the parent can sign an “opt out” letter. Anyone, parents included, can make a referral to early childhood special education (preschool) and it is my understanding that districts are required to serve any child who qualifies, and to evaluate any child that is referred UNLESS they can show through a Review of Existing Data, of which the parent is a part, that the child clearly is functioning on age level in all the various areas of consideration. They can’t say “we don’t have a program” or “they won’t qualify”. I would request an evaluation in writing and send it to the district special education director. That should start a clock ticking and they should be required to respond in writing.

Robbie –

Was your son given an initial evaluation for special ed eligibility, and found ineligible based on that? If yes, you can dispute this finding and request an independent evaluation at public expense. Your local parent center can help you understand these rights (http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/).

Even without an IEP, you do have a few options. Children with disabilities in private child care programs do have rights, under the ADA and/or Section 504. Generally speaking, the program would have to attempt to address his disability-related behaviors before expelling your son. Also, you mention his participation in Early Head Start and wonder if you have pursued “regular” Head Start. Finally, you may want to look into your son attending the school district’s preschool program as a “typical peer,” if that is an option.

For help with the biting, I would suggest looking to your state’s Medicaid system. Many states now offer significant child-centered behavioral support. If your son is not currently eligible, find out about whether your state offers “buy in” for people with disabilities. Your local F2F Health Info Center can help you understand public and private benefits (http://www.fv-ncfpp.org/f2fhic/find-a-f2f-hic/).

Jill thanks for the reply. My son was not evaluated yet, i have requested he be evaluated because I was recently told they should evaluate before exiting an IFSP in michigan. The school never told me anything about that and had I not been asking questions I would of never known about pre pirmary education evaluation.

My local district doesnt have a preschool program for 3 year olds so that option isnt there for me yet. The regular Head Start program just told me if i do not get an IEP he is out of the program because I make to much money. I have an option to sit on a waiting list for an over income slot but the executive director called me and told me i need to have a “realistic view” of my chances to get him in on an over income slot. So currently I am committing to go into this battle to find away to get my son the services the needs.

As i was reviewing the initial IFSP from last year I noticed his goal actually addressed his biting. The goal was that he would be able to socially engage in play with others without hurting them, this has not been accomplished yet. With this aspect of the goal not met I find it crazy that they are wanting to exit the IFSP.

Robbie –

Early Intervention is for children, birth to age 3, who are disabled, delayed, or at risk for delay. This is who provides the IFSP. Special education is for children with a disability, ages 3 to 22. This is who would provide an IEP.

In most states (and it looks like Michigan is one of them), these systems are completely separate. So your son’s eligibility for the IFSP would end at age 3 anyway. The obligation to evaluate at that time would fall to another entity, likely your local school district.

Let me ask, did one of your son’s Early Intervention providers refer him to be evaluated for special education eligibility? If yes, the school district (or whomever has the obligation to evaluate) is essentially required to evaluate. Not doing so would be considered a violation of child find (according to the commentary for the IDEA regs).

In any case, I strongly suggest that you connect with your local parent center. They’re funded by the federal government to help parents understand their early intervention and special education rights.

Did he qualify for an IFSP? If the answer is yes, he can roll the plan over from the IFSP (Individual Family Support Plan to an IEP. Troubling behaviors are definitely considered when planning and implementing an IEP. You should ask for a Functional Behavior Evaluation and then a Functional Behavior Plan.

He had an ISFP but it expires when he turns 3 in June. They said because he is so advanced he doesnt qualify for it to be an IEP. He has made mind blowing progress but the self regulation and impulsivity when he is overly stimulated or bothered is a major concern. There have been incidents where he caused bleeding and brusing from biting. As I contact other private preschool programs i am finding most would remove him from their programs, and I fear this will leave him unprepared for school. I have asked for a pre primary education evaluation be done, which i learned should of been done before closing out his ISFP.

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