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Teacher Says, "I Don't Care If He Has an IEP"
I am feeling in desperate need of help. I just learned about Wrightslaw.
My son is 7 years old, his ADHD has been characterized as "very severe" - by one evaluator, "most severe I've seen in 25 years of practice." I've taken him to three private evaluations and he is now under the care of one of the most respected child neurologists in the county.
He is also gifted. He was in a private school that really couldn't meet his needs, so I placed him in public school. He has an IEP.
1. Can I ask for a paraprofessional? I’ve heard there are other ADHD kids in the class too. And even though two teachers for 30 plus kids should be fine, I think there are other children who could use the help.
2. Can they ask my child to leave the school?
I’ll answer your questions first - but I think there is more.
Q: Can I ask for a paraprofessional?
A: Read this before you ask for a paraprofessional.
Then even if you want a paraprofessional, don’t ask for one.
Instead, focus on the IEP goals and accommodations.
If more staff is needed, do you want to request someone other than a teacher teach your son? Let the non-certified staff supervise recess, collect data, move chairs around for reading groups, help with the buses, etc.
Let teachers do the teaching. They have the training, we hope.
Q: Can they ask my child to leave the school?
A: No, they cannot ask your son to leave. They are required to teach him. They are even required to teach him with out making him feel like he doesn’t belong there.
About the IEP meeting
Go ahead and attend the meeting, but as soon as you get there tell them that you were unable to prepare because you do not know why they have asked for the meeting.
If the meeting gets out of hand, repeat that you were unable to prepare for the meeting because you did not know what would be discussed, and ask them to “reconvene at a later date when you will be able to participate as an informed member of the team.”
If the meeting is going fairly well, still respond to whatever is presented with, “Well, I didn’t know we were going to discuss this. Let me get back to you in a few days.”
That will give you time to figure out your plan and respond in writing once you have had time to think about what happened in the meeting.
Don’t agree or to anything at the meeting. If the school members of the team wanted you to be prepared and be a full participant, they would have told you what the meeting was about ahead of time.
About the Teachers
The teachers who are having trouble with your son are basically saying that they would be happy to teach him if he would just stop having his disability. Tough.
They get the whole kid. If you can live through it, so can they. They are a public school. He is the public.
When they say, “He . . .
You say, “That is part of his disability. Let’s take a look at...
About his Chart
What needs to end is this chart full of sad face stickers.
How do they think that makes him feel? Do they think the sad face stickers are going to change his disability? Does the kid in the wheelchair get sad faces on her chart for not walking well? If they gave the kid in the wheelchair sad face stickers do they think it would change the way she walks?
You son has a hefty dose of a neurological deficit that affects his global behavior. He is also a child who attends a public school.
He is a child who they will educate and will not damage by inappropriate behavior on their part. That is a sentence you may want to state at the meeting depending on how the meeting goes. My bet is you will find an opportunity to make that statement - politely, no yelling, even if it kills you.
Read this before the meeting Behavior Problems and Discipline and read it in detail later after the meeting when you have time.
About his IEP
Most IEPs are not great.
Resources that will help.
Writing Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives by Barbara D. Bateman and Cynthia M. Herr.
Older, but classic, publications by Roger Mager.
Preparing Instructional Objectives by Roger Mager.
Measuring Instructional Results, by Roger Mager.
Then make sure you participate in writing future IEPs.
If you really look at what the IEP says about your son’s present level of performance, what it expects him to accomplish and provides for accommodations, you may see that it could use some additional information and tweaking.
If the IEP team and all your son’s teachers were abducted by aliens tonight, would the people who stepped in to take their place be able to do it seamlessly based on what is in the IEP?
If you close up the holes it may be easier for everyone to follow it and to understand your son’s disability and degree of disability.
Order the books and organize and calm yourself in preparation for the meeting. All you need to do there is take notes and respond with common sense as appropriate.
If you get over your head, remind them that you did not know about the subject of the meeting until you arrived and you would like to "reconvene the meeting at a later date when you can participate as a fully informed member of the IEP team”.
How to Find an Advocate
In my area, who would be a good advocate, or how do I research and find one on my own?
Use the Yellow Pages for Kids state directory to find advocates, resources, and disability information for your state.
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