I Don’t Understand Why the School Won’t…

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Can you tell me if I have any rights?  Here is my issue: potty training.

My daughter is 8, non verbal and developmentally delayed. She wants to be potty trained. At home she signs when she needs to go. At school they ignore her signs and tell me they can’t possibly take her once an hour. There are four aides and one teacher for 9 children. I just don’t understand why someone can’t take her to the potty as needed.

Your issue is about potty training at school for your daughter – a legitimate concern. Parents of children with disabilities have hundreds of different issues. There are always disagreements with the school.

This is the REAL issue –

 – resolving a problem while maintaining a healthy working relationship with school personnel.

Here are the first steps you should take to resolve a problem.  These steps apply to the issue of potty training …and many other disagreements you may need to resolve with your child’s teacher or school staff.

1. Write a letter to your child’s IEP team.

2. Describe the problem.

3. Ask the team to develop AND implement a strategy to …. (potty train your daughter).

4.  Explain the consequences to your child, the school staff, family and friends if your child…. (does not learn to use the potty now).

5. Include a little information about the background history of your concern. Describe how you deal with the issue at home.

6. Describe what you would like the school to do for your child and why.  Provide information to back up your suggestions.

7.  Request an IEP meeting to review your child’s goals and revise your child’s IEP to include a goal for …. (potty training).

8. Create a written record of your request and what each staff member is responsible for doing.

9.  Use a parent attachment form during the IEP meeting.  Here are several good forms – or develop a form of your own.  https://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/tips/bonnell.iep.attach.htm

PWN – A Powerful Tool When Skillfully Used  https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=2157

10.  After the meeting, write a short thank you note that summarizes what the team agreed to do. Be sure to offer to help.

Agreements always need to be in writing so a nice thank you note is a good way to create the initial record.

More on effective Advocacy strategies and advocating through Letter Writing.

  1. This is happening to my child as well. My son is 9 and is on the severe end of the spectrum and other delays. He is not potty trained but will signal when he needs to go. Teachers and Aids ignore his signals to go potty. He comes home and pull up is soaked. I have tried speaking with the teacher and AIDS about this. There response in front of the principle is he should have been potty trained before he started school. The principle just laughed and sided with the teacher. I am so furious because they should be helping my child. My son has gotten rashes from not being changed or sent to the potty. I filed a complaint with the state by school lawyers up and are trying to intimidate me. What should I do from here.

  2. I have taught children with severe disabilities for 15 years and have had much toilet training experience. I would advise sending your child with one pull up for the trip home and lots of clothing changes including underwear. Tell the school that you expect your child to wear underwear during the school day. Believe me,they will do all they can to avoid an accident and having to change wet clothing. Consistency in schedule toileting is the way to teach any child to use the toilet. One hour trips to the bathroom is given in manuals I have read on the subject.

  3. To present a different perspective, as a teacher of kids with severe disabilities, my aides and I do everything we can to teach our K-2 class in the circumstances provided. I do feel uncomfortable putting it in writing IEP goals for toileting (but will do so if the parent brings it up enough as I understand the need) because the parent can sue if the student does not meet the toileting goal. While I can ensure academic progress, we cannot make a child void in the toilet…Nor is it addressed in the Alternative CAPA SEACO Functional Skills Curriculum aside from the goal for a student to express wants/ needs which may include the want/ need to use the toilet, which we work on at least hourly. According to research, boys with developmental delays often do not gain bladder control ’til age 9.

  4. Hi
    I am a special education Nurse in Illinois. The laws are slightly different in every state but I am wondering what the rationale is for this. If there is concern that the meds need to be locked they can have a portable lockbox. If the meds can only be give by a nurse then you can request a one-to -one nurse for your child so she can receive the medication promptly –She has a right to these accommodations

  5. I am dealing with the administration that won’t let my daughter with status epilepticus have her emergency rescue meds carried by her teacher or aide. She has had the meds carried by them for 2.5 yrs and all of a sudden they inform me that the meds have to stay locked up with the nurse. She (the nurse) guarantees me she can get the meds to her in enough time to arrest the seizure. Not True and I don’t think that is something they should take on or guarantee.
    This seizure is a life threatening type and every second without the meds could mean the difference between a 5 min seizure and 1.5 hr seizure. She is in a self contained ID class. So frustrating as we hit one road block after another. I thought all these admins and other staff were here to help.

  6. I believe whole heartily that special education law is a JOKE!! Unless your child is SEVERLY abused/ neglected and there is ACTUAL documentation, in THEIR school records.. You get no help… ITS a hard fact to realize and I have had to swallow it.. I have a daughter who doesn’t even fit Autism diagnosis.. BUT has many similar needs.. I relate to your story and it makes me angry! I’m disgusted with schools personelle, special education attorneys and the O.A.H. and their law judges!!. Unless you have money and as I stated above.. you will get nowhere.. no one gives a crap.. one law trumps another or is less vague.. IF you have money you can fight for your child.. IF you have money you will.pull your child from public schools to not have to put up with it.. If your poor and believed it matters to others.. well.. your wrong..

    • My last comment was in reply to Teri-Lynn. To say we don’t care is unfair. We do care… There are just so many of you out there to take care of… I do find that the more assertive parents get more services for their kids because they know how to work the system and how to have their kid stand out from the rest… Basically keep bringing up your concerns until they are addressed. People who are quiet do not get as much attention and often those people are the por because they are often intimidated by the more educated, which shouldn’t be so… I wish Education were equitable too!

  7. Very important to get teachers and caregivers to read and sign, then at least you know they have read too.
    When class loads are so low, it makes no sense that they can’t help with the aspect of potty training, other than they probably just don’t want to deal with it, and that is a shame when you are working towards a goal and they are blocking it.
    And in my own opinion, if they are not willing to help and co-operate, they shouldn’t be working with that child.

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