Eligibility: IS THE SCHOOL REQUIRED TO INITIATE AN IEP?

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Rachel:  I must be the most ill informed parent ever, because I had never heard of an IEP until my 3yro started speech therapy.

This is about my 14 year old son. He was diagnosed ADD/ADHD ODD in the second grade after the school suggested I have him looked at for behavioral issues. He was 7 at the time we received his diagnosis and I shared with the school. Every year since at the beginning of each year I fill out the forms that give a medical history and each year it states traumatic brain injury, ADD/ADHD, and a bee allergy. I keep meds at the school incase we miss a dose and I speak to each teacher at the beginning of the year and tell him he has ADD/ADHD, and again we talk about it at parent teacher conferences.

Every year they tell me he needs a little extra help in reading and send him to a reading teacher. Every year when he does his MAP testing he is always on the low end of his grade level or the high end of the grade before. Despite barely making it through each school year, and last year our request to hold him back he always manages to move on.

This year 9th grade he was making threats of suicide, my husband was called to the school where he was told “this is becoming an issue. Every time he gets in trouble he says he is/wants to kill himself.” We ended up having to hospitalize my son. Now his therapist and psychiatrist want full neuropsychological evaluations including Autism testing.

His caseworker asked me about his IEP and was surprised he didn’t have one. The way I’m reading the child find law, the school should have initiated testing long ago. Is that right?  I feel terrible. I just thought we would have to work harder. I didn’t realize the school would/could help us. I’ve since requested an IEP last week.

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Rachel, Try not to beat yourself up. There are many, many parents across the country with similar situations. Now you need to gain more info to advocate for your son. Your state parent training & information center can provide you with specific help for your situation. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

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