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Cat:  I have a 5th grade son with generalized anxiety disorder and auditory impairments. He has had an IEP for ADHD behavioral only (which he has never been diagnosed), since Kindergarten. The school will not change his IEP eligibility from “behavioral” to medical even though a private psychologist evaluated and diagnosed for General Anxiety Disorder and Auditory Impairments, stating the school psychologist must make the recommendations because his behavior is willful. Here is an example of a “measurable goal”:” the student will have one prompt to engage with the teacher’s instructions per classroom work or student will not have recess”. Ummm…really?! How can I request a change in school and/or making accommodations as per evaluation?

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Jill G
01/08/2016 6:21 pm

Next I encourage you to look at the evidence you have. You mentioned getting a private evaluation. Did it include an in-school observation, teacher input, and a review of records? Does it include clear recommendations regarding the content of the IEP? An evaluation that has these components is most likely to sway the school (and a hearing office, if it should come to that). If your evaluation doesn’t meet this criteria, consider arranging for another one. Once you have such an evaluation in hand, again evaluate your priorities. Pick the recommendations that are most important to you and be prepared to fight for them. Ask that they be included in the IEP (in writing). If the Team declines, be persistent. Ask the Team to meet again in a few months to review your child’s progress. Ask again for the recommendations to be included. Find out what options you have for available dispute resolution, and consider using them.

01/08/2016 6:21 pm

Thank you for your reply. To answer your questions: yes the school did include the observation, teacher input and reviewed records. They insist they can not write an IEP for “Other Health Impairments” and had to write a BIP with undocumented ADHD diagnosis. I have requested several IEP meetings, only to be the only one to show, with evaluation in hand and letter from private pay Psychologist recommendations. I have invited the district special education program managers to the meetings, too.

01/08/2016 6:21 pm

Two other comments: First, if your child will attend middle school next year, keep in mind that his educational world is about to be turned upside down. Some things will get more challenging and some will get better, for everybody — him, you (as advocate), and the school staff working with him. Second, if your schedule permits, you can sign him out at the beginning of recess every day, take him out to play, and then sign him in again at the end of recess.
Question: Is he building the academic foundations now that he will need for middle school and high school?

01/08/2016 6:20 pm

You are supposed to be a full participant in the committee meetings. If the school is refusing to schedule an official meeting, or if they schedule a meeting and the required committee members don’t show up, your ability to participate fully in the process is curtailed, and you should inform your state special ed oversight department.BIP must be based on FBA -> state oversight dept.
Try to get the psych to attend the meeting once you get one officially scheduled. Attendance in person is 10 times more effective than just a letter.
Also have the psych call the school psych or social worker for a more collaborative conversation before the meeting.

01/08/2016 6:20 pm

Let’s go through this point by point. An ADHD diagnosis would lead naturally to an Other Health Impaired (OHI) category, and accommodations such as “no withholding of recess.” You can ask that the district evaluate your son for ADHD; if you are not happy with their evaluation, once it’s done, you can ask for an independent evaluation at public expense. However, you can speed things up by seeking an independent evaluation now. Get it pre-approved by insurance before beginning the evaluation, though, because it can run into some real money.
It’s not clear to me what category your son’s current IEP states. Here are the choices:
Now, a quicker approach that MIGHT get good results would be to write a letter where you start from the premise that the child has ADHD (since that seems to have been documented somewhere in the IEP), and then explain that children with ADHD often find themselves less able to control their behavior when their recess is eliminated. Somehow, you need to get some changes made to the IEP, to protect your child from nonsense like deprivation of recess. It may be easier to get this if you have a supportive letter from your child’s primary care doctor, or a psychologist who knows the child well. If the author of the letter is able to attend the meeting, if only by phone for a portion of the meeting, even better.
About goals. A goal doesn’t have an “or else” in it. There seems to be some confusion between a goal and a behavioral intervention plan (BIP).
Before a BIP can be written or implemented, a functional behavioral analysis (FBA) needs to be done. Perhaps you could tell the school that you are concerned about your child’s behavior, and are glad they seem concerned too. Ask them for an FBA — hopefully you’ll be able to request this without it seeming like they would be in some sense giving in to you by agreeing to conduct it.
However, if they resist this nice-guy approach, then you may need to take the kid gloves off.

01/08/2016 6:19 pm

Following as advice for this would also be helpful to us.