Letters: HOW DO I WRITE A LETTER VOICING CONCERNS OVER THE IEP?

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Christine: How do I write a letter to voice my concerns about my child’s IEP? It appears that all information concerning reading and language have been removed from the IEP. How do I let the school know that I am not satisfied with their findings. Desperate. This letter is about a friend’s child and we are trying to rectify this mess. I have her permission to contact you. We are gathering information to help our case from different specialty doctors.

  1. Mr. Wright’
    I had purchased the books you and your wife had written in April. I live in a small rural area. My son was tested and qualified for gifted services (not special education at that time) kindergarten 2018. Moving forward, the first copy had another child’s name on it. My child later ended up in crisis and twice exceptional as well because of this error. He was inappropriately placed and has really struggled in a painful way. What are your thoughts

    • Chris, it is not clear what happened to move your child into crisis. “first copy”? “inappropriately placed”?

      • He was placed in a general education class and excluded from gifted because he struggled to complete his work. He had a GIEP in PA. He was identified recently by an independent evaluation ADD after we struggled with the school in meeting his needs. We know the teacher was not certified in special ed, and we feel she could not address both needs. It really seems that since there was not a program they pushed him off and then crisis. Coronavirus occurred following these events and we currently homeschool. Looking back at his GIEP, he had another child’s name in the goals (really sloppy), which this is proof of how generic the plan was to begin with. The crisis really came from untrained staff and just putting him in a inappropriate placement.

        • Sorry to hear all that you and the family are dealing with. If you plan to return him to the public school, I would suggest using the Wrightslaw books, & your state parent training & information project to develop a plan for approaching the school to obtain services that appropriate address his needs. To me that should include training & support for the teacher(s) working with him. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center  

          • You are very welcome. I commend you for working to advocate for your child. Many schools struggle to deal with twice exceptional students, & any child with ADD. Wrightslaw is a great source. If you can, keep us informed as you move forward.

          • Thank you, I have requested his records and it appears that he was deleted from the system. In PA, you have to file an affidavit, so I guess they assumed he was gone permanently. I still have all of my records from them and outside evaluations. I am now working to learn all I can in the information they provided. Again, thank you

          • Chuck, working really hard to move forward. I am really doing this most days, and I have seen my son’s real struggles at homelike so many families. We seek treatment for his ADD, but he is in speech therapy and no doubt he has dyslexia. We are waiting for an evaluation in the Spring. I know I can continue homeschooling, but I feel the real problem came from the school not wanting to teach him. We are not wealthy, but I feel we make sacrifices for our kids education. It is not sitting well with me to not to try and work with the public school.

          • Thanks for the update. Do you have a support group of other parents dealing with similar things? There are national groups (& usually state branches) on Dyslexia, ADHD, homeschooling. Some have FB pages, & other ways to interact, even now.

          • I am involved in some FB groups, but I see why it is recommended in taking the time with building the file (it is lengthy) I keep looking to ensure I have every document because the school offers minimal documents. With Coronavirus, it has been difficult to stay on top of it. After some persistence (3 times) I just received a report from Kindergarten that the results have never been offered before. It is a STAR report that recommended pre-k instruction, but my son was reading at a 97percentile for his grade during that evaluation. I am feeling a tiny bit hopeful.
            Thank you for being a support to those of us that really need it!

  2. I continue to address an IEP out of compliance with the SPED administrator, principal regarding my child’s support service in co-taught ELA & Math teacher. This teacher continues to show her inconsistency in delivering the services in Middle School. SHe lacks communication and interaction with student. She goes to class and doesn’t do anything. OHHHH it is so frustrating and upsetting. please help

  3. Nothing can be removed from an IEP without everyone on the team’s involvement. Did you sign an IEP that allowed the school to remove any items? If not they are already out of compliance. You can set up an IEP meeting right away & bring your speciality doctors or have them call in on your IPhone speaker or school speaker phone. You must be willing to pay them for their time. The letter should request an IEP meeting to the special ed director or principal & request a response within 5 business days. I send all my letter certified mail so that I am sure it gets to the appropriate people & create a paper trail. If the school refuses anything they must provide you with a document called ” prior written notice”. If I ask for one of these I usually get more cooperation.

  4. Since you and your friend think the IEP is incomplete and does not adequately address the child’s needs, you need to include information about the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.
    Recommend you read “Present Levels: Foundation of the IEP” by Indiana advocate Pat Howey. Link here: https://www.wrightslaw.com/howey/iep.present.levels.htm

    There is an art to writing letters that make your point without alienating your readers. We discuss this issue in more depth in our book, “From Emotions to Advocacy.” If you don’t have a copy, I recommend that you pool your pennies and order a copy. It will help you avoid making costly mistakes. Please keep us posted.

    Good luck,
    Pam Wright

  5. Christine –

    If you’re looking for support with the text of the letter, From Emotions to Advocacy is a great resource (https://www.wrightslaw.com/store/feta2.sm.store.html). It has sample letters, plus a game plan for advocacy.

    This article also has some good sample letters: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/letterwriting/.

    For help understanding the potential impact of the letter and what steps your friend can take to improve the IEP, I encourage you to contact your local parent center (http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/). They can help you understand the special education process in your state, parents right to disagree, and your dispute resolution options.

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