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Old 11-28-2007, 08:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GEORGIAINMT View Post
FarNorthDallas: I'm sorry, but I beg to differ with your opinions based on the experiences I've had in schools I've taught in. The IEP process (as I've seen it) is definitely NOT a beating....for the parents nor for the child. It is a pretty simple process. First, before an IEP can be written, the child has to be determined to have a disability (as said before by either an outside psych. or a school psych's testing along with academic testing) by the Child Study Team ("CST") which includes the psych, teachers, parents, administrators & anyone else who may be involved with the child (such as speech therapist, phys. ther., OT, etc. if there's the possibility of those problems). Once the CST has determined eligibility THEN the IEP is written, sometimes at the same meeting. I live & teach in Montana, so things may be different here, but I do have to stand up for what the truth is as I see it. The schools here are not fighting the process. All involved want what is best for the child. If that means that they receive special ed. services if qualified then that's how it will be. Compliance by teachers with the IEP's has never been a problem anywhere where I've taught. The special ed. teacher/reg. ed teacher/admins/anyone else involved all work very closely together along with parents in the best interest of the child. Your exerience may be different wherever you are and I am sorry you feel the way you do....but I resent the generalization made that schools & teachers are so anti- special education. I'm asking those who read this thread to please look at your situation as well as the situation of your school district into account before making any rash judgments. Thanks for reading!
Child Study Team? Evaluations? In my case the speech teacher called me for a meeting and said the school psychologist had been in my son's kindergarten classroom to observe another child and she saw my child sucking his thumb and if I would just...sign here... they can put my child on an IEP under Emotionally Disturbed.

I walked out and called the state's education agency and filed a complaint. And that was just the beginning. Luckily the end came soon as I put my kiddo in private school.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiffin4java View Post
Georgiainm, you're lucky to be teaching in a place that's fairly accommodating. I'd say that's probably the exception rather than the rule.

It's very difficult to find a school district that is willing to GIVE what a child needs and not force you to FIGHT for it. I've lived in five states and in several different school districts and so far none of them have been easy. I also transcribe Special Education Hearings and it's disheartening hearing what many of these parents are put through to get what they believe is best for their child. In my case, being told my son was required to fail academically before they'd consider even assessing him was completely unacceptable. They're fortunate that I'm moving out of state very soon or they'd have quite the FAPE battle on their hands. I can only hope the new state/school district will be better.

The problems parents of special needs kids are real. Maybe it's easier for a kid who has severe disabilities to get help because it's obvious they need it. But for kids like mine whose problems are social and behavioral, not academic, it's harder because some people don't see how that can impact their education and by the time they realize it, it's too late and the problems are permanent or the child has given up.

A lot of public schools are failing to provide and it is very frustrating for parents. I believe this is why people choose to homeschool. It's exactly what I was forced to do. I realize services cost money and it's not always there. I'm not saying ALL school districts have this problem, but certainly a large number of them do. Nobody's personally attacking you as a teacher or your district...just expressing our frustrations with the public school system in our own experiences. I believe telling another parent to read up on their FAPE laws and be prepared to fight for what their special needs child needs academically IS appropriate. If they end up not having to fight and the district works with them, that's wonderful! That's ideal! But to go into it unprepared and then just accept a "no" just because you don't know better.....how does that help? All that does is fuel the district to continue to refuse services.

Anyway, I'm sorry to go on and on. Just something I'm passionate about. Please don't take this as a personal attack on anyone in particular, just voicing my opinion/experience.

God Bless

I do have to agree with you that it is much easier for students who have severe disabilities to more readily qualify for services. With all of the social/behavioral problems that kids have nowdays, it is a lot more difficult to pinpoint where the real problems lie, which does in fact make it tough on parents/children who do have a real disability that is causing these problems and in turn affecting their academic performance. I definitely feel for those parents who have to deal with the issue, as well as for the children who do. It's a shame that the world is so full of problems that it makes it difficult to distinguish the root. I know it does impact education.

No worries about me feeling any personal attacks. I tried to word my post so that readers realize that I didn't take it that way....only asking that generalizations aren't made about all districts, teachers, etc. I understand the frustrations & problems so many parents are experiencing and know that things really are happening out there. I just caution folks to not summize that their personal experiences represent how things are everywhere in the country. Thanks again for reading!
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:56 PM
 
1,872 posts, read 3,566,171 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggluvbug View Post
My son is a gifted student who has bipolar disorder. He has an IEP. He was an honor roll student when he got the ruling. It is hard to get people to understand this part of the law. So many people assume that IEP=failing students. Teachers and administrators aren't equipped to handle these kinds of situations. My son's ruling is EMD--emotionally disturbed. He isn't in a special class because he doesn't need one at this time. But he has accomodations his teachers have to follow.
I was so happy to read your post. You hit the nail on the head in pointing out that not all students who need help are failing, but need some accommodations in the regular classroom. These are the kids who a lot of times fall through the cracks and we all, whether educators or parents, need to advocate for these kids. Thanks for your post!
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:04 AM
 
1,872 posts, read 3,566,171 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarNorthDallas View Post
Child Study Team? Evaluations? In my case the speech teacher called me for a meeting and said the school psychologist had been in my son's kindergarten classroom to observe another child and she saw my child sucking his thumb and if I would just...sign here... they can put my child on an IEP under Emotionally Disturbed.

I walked out and called the state's education agency and filed a complaint. And that was just the beginning. Luckily the end came soon as I put my kiddo in private school.
Wow, that's a shame. I can see why you were unhappy with the situation. I'm surely not an expert on state/federal monitoring of how the laws are carried out, but I would think that the way things were handled with your son could not be backed up by any credible documentation. I know that I've been taught to DOCUMENT< DOCUMENT< DOCUMENT!!!!!! Sounds like the whole thing in your case was grossly mishandled, and I am empathetic for you and your son. I'm happy that you have found a private school that is suitable. And I'm even more thankful to be teaching where things are much better for all involved, by the sounds of what I've heard here. Best Wishes to you and especially to your son in the future.
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:59 AM
 
Location: Coming soon to a town near YOU!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gardener34 View Post
Thanks for all this tips!
In our IL school it is frustrating. I can't get any follow through on teachers/administration to get my son tested. And he has a severe writing disability. Finally in 5th grade, I have a teacher that sees his problem as being REALLY bad.
And all we want is for him to be able to have a keyboard in the classroom!! Nothing more, he has no reading, spelling, dyslexic, or behavior issues, etc.
Whereas my daughter, who could not pronounce her th and s blend sounds, got an iep for speech immediately... go figure.
Annoying.
Well, I'm just basing this on your post... I know that there may be more to it (and that extra info might change my opinion).

Based on what you said about simply having the addition of a keyboard solving the problem, an IEP is not needed, and if you got one it was as a result of the school district caving-in to parent pressure not the needs of a child (it would be like getting an IEP to allow a kid to wear glasses). HOWEVER, he should have gotten a 504 accommodation, which would allow the addition of a keyboard on tests, etc since a keyboard should be considered a "reasonable accommodation". A 504 is legal and teachers must follow it, otherwise they are in violation of the law. One of the most common examples of a 504 accommodation is "test anxiety" (my wife still gets this and she is a senior in college) and you can get extra time for the test, and you get to take the test in a separate room alone.

An IEP has to have a specific set of additional instruction needed (SDI). Putting a keyboard in a classroom is something that a trained monkey could do and doesn't need a set of custom-made curriculum. Speech, however, is very different, requires one-on-one, etc and the only to get that extra help is the IEP... you cannot have the school janitor walk into the room and hand a kid with a speech problem something that resolves the situation.


Both a 504 and an IEP require a documented disability though (and under the legal definition).


It does seem pretty dumb that the school is unwilling to undertake a reasonable accommodation though Was there a meeting during which it was determined (by the school) that a disability doesn't exist? If so, as a parent you do have the right to appeal such decisions.

I think that I'd probably need more info on the case with your son, though. Usually when a child gets a "writing IEP" it is for the content of the writing (sentence structure, paragraph formation, etc), not the handwriting itself. I think it would be pretty difficult to get accommodations for penmanship unless it was for a physical disability like tendon problems, missing fingers, "webbed hands", etc.
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Old 11-29-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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I am so surprised and upset by the many negative experiences. I was a special ed teacher in PA for 32 years so I have some experience with this issue. Since the problem seems to be a social one as opposed to an academic one you may want to start by sitting down with the counselor and explaining your child's problem and the results of the evaluation your son had. In my experience, educators will be more reasonable if you work with them as a team instead of becoming aggressive. Since your child has a diagnosis, you should be entitled to receive additional help - as will be defined in the IEP. During my last ten years of teaching, I worked in a resource room providing support to students with emotional problems. The students were all mainstreamed into regular classes but received some academic support in my classroom and lots of emotional support. We had therapy groups every week with a social worker and psychologist and daily groups with me. Every IEP included the right for the child to leave his/her regular class in they found themselves in a high stress situation. The right to leave was followed by the responsibility to return directly to the resource room. This statement provided the child an escape from difficult situations that sometimes arise with other students or teachers. It prevented many potential blow ups followed by punishments. It was a wonderful program but the key to its success was parent involvement in both the writing of the IEP and the implementation of the IEP. We had regular meetings to update the progress and needs to be addressed in the IEP. Parents have legal rights when it comes to IEP's and parents should be continuously active in the whole process. Educators love success stories as much as parents do. Good Luck.
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:59 AM
 
5,640 posts, read 17,282,341 times
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Evlevo:

Thanks for the tips on the 504 thing. I am talking to the school psychologist tomorrow. As they sent some paperwork over that we are supposed to sign. Looks like they had an eval. and on it she writes "social issues" as a concern. Am I wrong in wanting her to clarify that for records? Exactly what social issues? I know she talked to me about his not participating in class... then she needs to say that... I don't want it inferred by his records that he is a problem in the classroom or something.

In fact, that has been our problem all along, he is NOT a problem, and thus he gets ignored he is such a good kid.

Thanks!
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:26 AM
 
Location: Coming soon to a town near YOU!
985 posts, read 2,547,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gardener34 View Post
Evlevo:

Thanks for the tips on the 504 thing. I am talking to the school psychologist tomorrow. As they sent some paperwork over that we are supposed to sign. Looks like they had an eval. and on it she writes "social issues" as a concern. Am I wrong in wanting her to clarify that for records? Exactly what social issues? I know she talked to me about his not participating in class... then she needs to say that... I don't want it inferred by his records that he is a problem in the classroom or something.

In fact, that has been our problem all along, he is NOT a problem, and thus he gets ignored he is such a good kid.

Thanks!
First of all, they should not have had an Evaluation which is to determine if a child has a disability (and it has a very specific legal definition) without your written consent... it is illegal to do so. They more likely had a "pre-evaluation" and want your permission to have an evaluation (which you are entitled to attend) ... a pre-evaluation is essentially the teachers and principal saying "lets decide if we should look to see if there is an issue here".



Every district and state tends to do things a little bit different so it is hard to say specifically in regards to the categories.

My guess is that they break things down into a few broad categories such as Physical Disability, Learning Disability, Social Issues, etc. Some of that can be based on state rules for funding (and sometimes the label used tends to match the "funding available" much more closely than the child's behavior)

Also, special accommodations (like a 504) as well as special education (an IEP) kind of require a different way of thinking... things that sound bad at first may not necessarily be.

As a more extreme example: If a child with a bonafide mental condition (such as schizophrenia or bipolar) gets labeled with an IEP as having "problem behaviors" (for their condition) they will receive specialized instruction, counseling, additional supervision, and other beneficial services. If they do something "against school rules" like hitting someone, the punishment is minimal since they are far less able to control their behaviors. IF HOWEVER they are not "labeled", they are not only more likely to have an outburst (since a general education classroom would be much more stressful than a specifically designed one for children like them), but when they do have an outburst they will get suspended/expelled.

50 years ago, before we really had special ed many kids with "behavior problems" would simply get expelled from school and would then usually turn to a life of crime. Now they actually have a chance (HINT, HINT, one of the BIG reasons the national crime rate has been steadily dropping for the past several decades!!!)
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Old 12-04-2007, 11:29 PM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
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I too experienced horrendous IEP meetings. It was suggested by a teacher that I have my child medicated, that her screaming was annoying, and the list goes on. The special ed teacher was treating my autistic child ruled with an iron fist. Do it my way or sit to the side. She was not flexible and my child who needed prompting, and visual schedules would just fall apart. Everything changed once we moved her to another school. I was at the end of my rope with the 1st school. The principal came into my daughters annual IEP and acted like an a&$. He was whispering to me that he couldn't afford an aide for the next school year as the therapists were trying to give me their evaluations of my child's progress. He pulled people into the supply closet to talk to them, then would come sit back down and wait for them to encourage me not to ask for an aide. Those therapists looked extremely uncomfortable as the principal stared at them until they said what he wanted. I called an end to the meeting, telling them I needed to seek out advice. I called the district office. Luckily 3 teachers had already complained about the principals behavior. The superintendent knew he had to take care of it ASAP. I also contacted the state board of education who helped us.

To make a long story short, I sought advice from a special ed lawyer. I followed the advice and everything has worked out wonderfully. We changed schools and discussed our expectations with the staff there beforehand. My child was attending the school with the special ed pre-school, and it wasn't technically our 'home' school. So we transferred to the school in which we lived in the boundaries for. My child has progressed so well from that point 2 years ago that we are now slowly phasing out her aide services. Her speech has dramatically improved and her outbursts are now just small episodes here and there instead of huge fits that occured almost daily. Academically she is at the top of her class in everything but language. She does have adapted PE and needs to improve in handwriting and will start getting OT again for hand use issues. But compared to 4 years ago, she is a very different child. Moving to her current school made the difference. Her teachers work well with us. They send home activities so we can continue speech and other activities at home, etc. They keep in contact with us so we can work out issues that might arise. That never happened at the other school.

I cried at her IEP meeting last week. She met all her goals except one, is adored by the staff, and participating in every activity any other 2nd grader would. This is the child that the specialists said would never mainstream, never fully develop her speech, never have meaningful interactions with the outside world, would never live on her own or have a real job (I know we have alot of time for that one!), never have real friends, need us to take care of her every need, etc etc. So far my 8 year old has proved them wrong on just about everything. She has a long way to go and still has daily struggles. I can see the differences when she is around her classmates. BUT, with hardwork on her part, our part, and the schools part, she WILL attend college and live on her own someday. So don't give up, it can happen.
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Old 12-08-2007, 09:58 AM
 
268 posts, read 914,510 times
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Originally Posted by jiffin4java View Post
I don't think it's so much "other people" understanding this as it is getting administration/teachers to understand it. But then, maybe that's what you were referring to. I was told flat out that my son wasn't entitled anything unless he was failing. I came back with telling them exactly what the FAPE law was. Be prepared to fight for what you know your child needs because some districts, like the one we're in, won't offer any help unless you force them to give it to you. The only reason I didn't fight and pulled my son out to homeschool instead was beacuse we're moving soon and I didn't see the point in starting a fight and then leaving before it's finished. Be prepared for it to take some time and know your rights/laws. Hopefully some of you are in a better district and won't have to fight them tooth and nail. I'm praying whatever district we go to will more caring and willing to help.
I do know that it can be a fight. I am a teacher at my son's school. I knew the person on the SAT team so she trusted my opinion on this matter.
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