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Is integration better? - Page 2

post #21 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the sentiments, Linda.

 

My experience working with schools is that nothing happens instantly. It all takes time to percolate, but that those letters from doctors DO make a difference -- schools loving having them for files.

 

I'm learning this as well! It took almost 2 years to get my DS a DX and I had a previous evaluation from the school that he was "not on the spectrum". It's like pulling teeth to get anything done! You have to be reeeeeeeaaalllly patient and strong and determined. I'm starting to become that person, although it's against my softspoken personality.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post

Or neither; the school district may be uninformed (it happens...a lot) and the doctor only has partial information (the school can accept a private evaluation in lieu of conducting their own evaluation--but generally don't.

 

Hmmmm. didn't think about that option. The Dev. Ped seemed convinced that they would do this - as if she's had it done before. I'm waiting for a return call from her and then maybe that will clear things up.

 

Your state DOE also has to offer parent training in special education services.

 

Good to hear about the parent training. The doctor also recommended this on the letter she wrote to the school. I will check out my state law regarding ESY and the 60 day evaluation period. At this point, no matter what I find out, I'm thinking it's going to be a fight to get my son the services he needs from the SD.

 

Though your school is entitled to conduct their own evaluation, you are entitled to an IEE (independent educational evaluation) if you do not agree with the school's conclusions. If you make your doctor's evaluation and recommendations part of your ds' educational record (by giving it to the school), it will be more difficult for the school to justify basing their conclusions on a "good day"; and even if they do you are still entitled to an IEE. Also, wrightslaw (in All About IEPs) says that having your (private) evaluator present at the IEP meeting can be more effective that just having their report; considering your ds' history of "performing" well in evaluations it may be a good idea to have your Dr. there. My ds' school accepted the conclusions of our private evaluation so having the Dr. there wasn't necessary for us.

 

If I feel they are not going to help us, I will go this route. Would you typically offer to pay the DR or Evaluator to attend this meeting?

 

Will read the books. My library does not have them, so I have to order them special from another library.

 

 

Fizgig- that dingy room would have made my mind up right then and there as well! I have a friend who is a SE teacher. I think from what she has told me, she does alot of scolding and "forcing" them to do things. She says "you have to make them do things they don't want to." I don't know much, but I would never force DS to wash his hair when he is screaming "It hurts". Or do anything that is an issue to him. She says "It doesn't really hurt, he just doesn't want to do it because it's uncomfortable." Whatever the reason, if they are forcing the students to comply with things,  I wouldn't want him to come into contact with a teacher like that.

 

Well, I made the first appointment with the school district for DS. It's tomorrow at 3. It's just an appointment to get the evaluations started. I have to meet with the Chairperson of the school and we have to explain our concerns and I think she is going to figure out from there what types of evaluations he needs.  Until recently I've never really came up with a list of "concerns". I never knew the difference between what was typical and what wasn't. But since preparing to see the Dev. Ped's - now I have a pretty good list to present to this chairperson. I'm making progress.

 

Oh - if anyone has any advice for this first meeting it would be so helpful!

post #22 of 38

Carry a notebook with you (or if you have a notepad feature on your phone, use that) and every time you think of a question... write it down.  That way you will have a list of all your questions.  Bring someone with you as a second set of ears.  If you can bring a friend vs. your SO, that may be better because they'll have less emotional involvement and can keep a clear head.  If you don't have someone to bring with you, let them know (in advance) that you would like to audio tape the meeting so that you don't miss anything.  They may push back but ultimately, you have the right to tape it and they will probably tape it as well.  Give them as much notice as possible so they can get through their red tape in order for you to do it.

 

#1 most important thing.  Go in with an open mind and an open heart.  Don't go in fighting or with an adversarial position as it won't be well received.  Go in expecting them to do the right thing for your child.  You can fight later if necessary but what I've been told by many child study team folks is that when people come in with an attitude, they rarely get what they want easily.  When people come in asking "what can I do, as a parent, to help you to help my child be successful"... they get what their child needs and more.  Not always and it does depend on the district but go in with a positive attitude is never a bad idea.

 

Good luck!

post #23 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpottedFoxx View Post

#1 most important thing.  Go in with an open mind and an open heart.  Don't go in fighting or with an adversarial position as it won't be well received.  Go in expecting them to do the right thing for your child.  You can fight later if necessary but what I've been told by many child study team folks is that when people come in with an attitude, they rarely get what they want easily.  When people come in asking "what can I do, as a parent, to help you to help my child be successful"... they get what their child needs and more.  Not always and it does depend on the district but go in with a positive attitude is never a bad idea.

 

Good luck!

thanks - I will have to change my mindset, but I will definitely take your advice!

post #24 of 38
Quote:

 

Quote:Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post

Or neither; the school district may be uninformed (it happens...a lot) and the doctor only has partial information (the school can accept a private evaluation in lieu of conducting their own evaluation--but generally don't.

 

Hmmmm. didn't think about that option. The Dev. Ped seemed convinced that they would do this - as if she's had it done before. I'm waiting for a return call from her and then maybe that will clear things up.

 

She may have done it before--it's an option for the school to accept a private evaluation in lieu of their own eval; the school isn't doing anything illegal or unethical in doing their own evaluation.

 

 

Your state DOE also has to offer parent training in special education services.

 

Quote:

 

If I feel they are not going to help us, I will go this route. Would you typically offer to pay the DR or Evaluator to attend this meeting?

 

It's likely there will be a fee.

 

post #25 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info, Emmeline.

 

Just an update. We went to the initial appointment with the chairperson who is a doctor as well.

 

Unfortunately for us, DS acted like a little gentleman.

 

We were very friendly - we also signed papers and picked out the evaluation provider. But we are disappointed that the Dr. kept commenting on how "good" he was.

 

We hope she is not going to be the one who makes the final decision.

 

Off to work I go!

post #26 of 38

A brief encounter will not be a deciding encounter.  A child who has special needs is NOT a bad/misbehaving/stupid, etc. child.  Just because he didn't levitate, spin his head around and shoot split pea soup doesn't mean he's not deserving of help :)  

 

If the chairperson is a professional, they will know that your child is able to behave like a gentleman when encountering new people.  That's it.  Nothing more.  

post #27 of 38
Thread Starter 

LOL! Ohhhh! You are too funny Spotted Foxx!! I do hope you're right. The last evaluation we had I felt they put too much attention on his advanced language, and not enough on other issues. 

 

I didn't get a chance to really list all of the comments she was making. Here are a few:

 

"You know how to ask for what you want, thats good".

"You know how to communicate very well, good"

"You know how to sit down and look through a book, that's good"

"You are playing with a toy bus, that's good."

"What a good boy you are being"

 

And ITA that a SN child is not misbehaving, and I didn't like that she kept calling him good - but mostly I didn't like the feeling I was getting. DH agrees - and he is not sensitive to these things at all.

 

It's hard to be trusting when we were let down with the first eval.

 

Ahhhh - maybe it's all in my head! dizzy.gif I'm going to go crawl into bed next to my precious little 4 year old wonder boy!

post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thing1Thing2 View Post
 Here are a few:

 

"You know how to ask for what you want, thats good".

"You know how to communicate very well, good"

"You know how to sit down and look through a book, that's good"

"You are playing with a toy bus, that's good."

"What a good boy you are being"

 

 

 

yeah, I can see why you are concerned. Do you think it would help to respond to those kinds of comments with something like, "yes, but we are concerned because ......"

 

For example, the communication comment, pointing out the ways in which his communication is worrisome.

 

offtopic.gif

My DD has been labeled as "good" when she was actually completely shut down. I personally loathe that a child being quiet and not moving is being "good." For my DD, it means that she is so completely out of her depth in the situation, that the part of her that makes her who she is has completely left. I bristle when I hear the word "good" applied to her.

 

Also, and this part is back to you and your thread, is the school year program an inclusion program? I was wondering if lack of an inclusion element to the program was due to it being conducted in the summer time.

post #29 of 38

I too can see why you are concerned.  Write up a list of your son's challenges.  Next time you see them and if they bring up his ability to sit and read and play with a truck, just remind them that it has nothing to do with your concerns and here's a list to remind them (and keep them on point) of why you are here.  Yes, he can speak, play and read.  However, he's struggling with......

 

You are doing a great job advocating for you son!  Keep up the good work!!

post #30 of 38

The other thing to keep in mind is that the school is looking at this from the perspective of "does this child need special education and/or accommodations in order to meet academic goals"? They aren't looking globally at "does this child have special needs?" because that's not their focus. Their legal obligation is to assess the child's needs relative to academic/educational expectations, and make adjustments to the teaching program based on that. 

 

... So, all that is to say: It could be the case that their evaluation process determines that your child does NOT meet their eligibility criteria for special education. That does not mean your child doesn't have special needs! Their tests just have really specific criteria and cut-off points (e.g., kiddo has to be a certain number of standard deviations away from the norm to qualify for special ed services in a particular category). So a kid could have expressive language issues, for example, and would benefit from speech therapy, but his expressive language challenges might not be severe enough to qualify for speech therapy through the school or get into a special ed program. Does that make sense? My DD (who has global delays and gets services in a lot of areas) was/is certainly delayed in fine motor skills, but didn't qualify for fine motor therapy when she was in preschool, because she wasn't as far off the norm at age 3 as she is now at age 5, and the academic expectations depend more heavily on fine motor skills at the kindergarten level (writing letters) than at the preschool level (holding a crayon). 

 

If your child is not determined to be eligible *at this time* (or, come Fall), they can still re-evaluate the question later, especially if your child's special needs in fact DO have an impact on his ability to learn and progress academically. 

 

It will certainly be frustrating if their process doesn't surface his real challenges and needs upfront... but that isn't necessarily the end of the line. If general education with no supports doesn't work for him, it will become obvious pretty quickly, and you (or his teacher) can request a re-evaluation. Just wanted to reassure you!

post #31 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the encouragement, SpottedFoxx.

 

Linda, DS is usually labeled as "good" when he is deeply involved in something. He has obsessions with trains and vehicles that have wheels. So when the Dr. handed him a toy bus, DH and I glanced nervously at eachother - knowing he wouldn't be displaying any noticeable Autistic like behaviors during the meeting. If that bus weren't there, I'm pretty sure the DR would have seen a different side of him.

 

Linda, I'm not sure if the school year program is an inclusion program or not, but I think your hunch is correct that lack of inclusion is due to it being a summer program. That would be a good question for me to ask the next time I speak to the Dr/chairperson.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

Also, and this part is back to you and your thread, is the school year program an inclusion program? I was wondering if lack of an inclusion element to the program was due to it being conducted in the summer time.

 

The Dr./chaiperson called me today, and apparently our last eval was in August of last year. It was in a different school district and I had thought it was at least a year and a half ago - boy does time go by slowly when you are trying to get help for your LO. We are only eligible for one Psych eval each year, so she recommended waiting until September for the entire eval, even though we are eligible for a new OT every 6 months.

 

I kind of felt that September would be too late in the school year, well past the start date of the beginning of classes. But I told her we are entitled for OT and Speech and that's what we are requesting - and we would like that done now. She said they could use the older Psych eval, but I think we will try to get a new one maybe through insurance or if it's not incredibly expensive, pay for it ourselves, since it seems he has become worse since the last eval.

 

She also wants copies of the eval, to provide to the committee. I don't think this is fair, since he was labeled "ineligible" for services. I'm just so uneducated about this that I feel like I could easily be taken advantage of especially when they see the old eval where the evaluators kept commenting on how advanced his language and math skills are. Not that I'm complaining. Very happy to have him doing well in those things, but it sure isn't helping us here.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by isisreturning View Post 

 

... So, all that is to say: It could be the case that their evaluation process determines that your child does NOT meet their eligibility criteria for special education. That does not mean your child doesn't have special needs! 

 

My DD (who has global delays and gets services in a lot of areas) was/is certainly delayed in fine motor skills, but didn't qualify for fine motor therapy when she was in preschool, because she wasn't as far off the norm at age 3 as she is now at age 5, and the academic expectations depend more heavily on fine motor skills at the kindergarten level (writing letters) than at the preschool level (holding a crayon). 

 

 

That is what kills me about this whole system. My DS is in the 5th percentile (or maybe even worse since he still grasps the pen and fork a year after he placed in the 5th percentile). He is 4 and can not pedal a tricycle. Wouldn't it make more sense to help now before things get worse? To me it seems like a waste of money to wait until things get really bad before helping out.

 

There's also an emotional component to my frustration at the system, because my child could be helped early and thus do better in life. At this point, I'm feeling like it's harder to get services in the state or area where I live, than in other places. I just can't believe on his last evaluation how many evaluators and teachers told me "it seems like Aspergers", but couldnt help me because he didn't fall within the "communication" guidelines for autism.

 

 

It will certainly be frustrating if their process doesn't surface his real challenges and needs upfront... but that isn't necessarily the end of the line. If general education with no supports doesn't work for him, it will become obvious pretty quickly, and you (or his teacher) can request a re-evaluation. Just wanted to reassure you!

 

Thanks for the reassurance. Somehow I just have a feeling that he falls within the range where they are not going to help him, especially after the conversations that I have had with this Chairperson. The evaluation agency that we chose mentioned it might be easier to get services if they could see how he does in a preschool setting. I am now considering enrolling him into a summer program and paying out of pocket.

 


Edited by Thing1Thing2 - 6/19/12 at 8:27pm
post #32 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thing1Thing2 View Post

 

 

 

 

The Dr./chaiperson called me today, and apparently our last eval was in August of last year. It was in a different school district and I had thought it was at least a year and a half ago - boy does time go by slowly when you are trying to get help for your LO. We are only eligible for one Psych eval each year, so she recommended waiting until September for the entire eval, even though we are eligible for a new OT every 6 months.

 

I kind of felt that September would be too late in the school year, well past the start date of the beginning of classes. But I told her we are entitled for OT and Speech and that's what we are requesting - and we would like that done now. She said they could use the older Psych eval, but I think we will try to get a new one maybe through insurance or if it's not incredibly expensive, pay for it ourselves, since it seems he has become worse since the last eval.

 

She also wants copies of the eval, to provide to the committee. I don't think this is fair, since he was labeled "ineligible" for services. I'm just so uneducated about this that I feel like I could easily be taken advantage of especially when they see the old eval where the evaluators kept commenting on how advanced his language and math skills are. Not that I'm complaining. Very happy to have him doing well in those things, but it sure isn't helping us here.

 

 

Why should you be responsible for providing it?   If they found him ineligible last time due to that evaluation they should have a copy.  If they lost it... too bad so sad.

 

You may want to invest in a private evaluation so you can get an unbiased opinion.   As wonderful as my district has been in providing services, I have always trusted a private physician/therapist, etc. to do his evaluations.  That way, I know that the primary focus is on my son and not covering the school's bottom line.  If you call your insurance company, they can give you a list of providers who specialize in diagnosing autism, speech delays, etc. so you can get a focused evaluation.  

post #33 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thing1Thing2 View Post
The Dr./chaiperson called me today, and apparently our last eval was in August of last year. It was in a different school district and I had thought it was at least a year and a half ago - boy does time go by slowly when you are trying to get help for your LO. We are only eligible for one Psych eval each year, so she recommended waiting until September for the entire eval, even though we are eligible for a new OT every 6 months.

 

I kind of felt that September would be too late in the school year, well past the start date of the beginning of classes. But I told her we are entitled for OT and Speech and that's what we are requesting - and we would like that done now. She said they could use the older Psych eval, but I think we will try to get a new one maybe through insurance or if it's not incredibly expensive, pay for it ourselves, since it seems he has become worse since the last eval.

 

She also wants copies of the eval, to provide to the committee. I don't think this is fair, since he was labeled "ineligible" for services. I'm just so uneducated about this that I feel like I could easily be taken advantage of especially when they see the old eval where the evaluators kept commenting on how advanced his language and math skills are. Not that I'm complaining. Very happy to have him doing well in those things, but it sure isn't helping us here.

 

 

I'd consider asking the Chairperson where she got the information that your ds' last eval was in August as your recollection is different (I would requesting -in writing- your son's complete educational records from his previous school (wrightslaw has a sample letter for this and other topics). The Chairperson is not an advocate for you--she is an advocate for the school. Her recommendations may be more convenient for her but are not necessarily in your son's best interest. IDEA states that "the new school shall take steps to promptly obtain the child's records, including the IEP and supporting documents and any other records relating to the provision of special education and related services to the child..."  

 

All requests you make to the school:

  1. Do it in writing. (If you are asking for an evaluation, also state consent).
  2. Reference the applicable law, and the time frame allowed by law (60 days, without unnecessary delay, 90 days, etc).
  3. Send the letters to the principle and the resource teacher (in this case, the Chairperson, I think).
  4. Follow-up verbal conversations with an e-mail summary/your understanding of what was discussed.

 

I'm a little confused as to how he is entitled to OT & ST if he was found ineligible for services, but if that is so request the OT & ST in writing.

 

I would consider requesting your son's complete educational records from his previous school (wrightslaw has a sample letter for this and other topics).

 

Also, if you disagree with the school's evaluation, you are entitled to an IEE at public expense by a qualified provider of your choice. But, when a child's issues are on the boarderline or they tend to "perform well" in evaluations, having the example of him in school can be to your benefit (particularly as his "issue"'s impact on his ability to receive FAPE is what determines the need for services). When the school does convene the IEP meeting to prepare for his comprehensive evaluation I'd consider submitting a document for record that includes things that tend to result in him  "evaluating well" and cause the results not to be representative of his general behavior (such as his obsession with trains and wheeled vehicles) causing him to be "focused" and quiet.

 

Independent Education Evaluations: What? How? Why? Who Pays?

Independent Evaluations: Must Parents Select an Evaluator from the School's Approved List?

How Can We Get an Independent Evaluation (IEE) by ...


The Art of Writing Letters by Pam and Pete Wright - Advocacy ...
 

Quote:
What does a good evaluation look like? Look at this evaluation to see what a comprehensive evaluation includes and how the test information is presented.

 

Your state department of education (website) will be able to direct you to parent education classes for special education, and will have a document explaining the law and procedural protections to parents. The website should also have a list of free/low cost advocates.

 

These books will also help (as well as the wrightslaw website):

  • Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy
  • Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, Second Edition (the website and previous book reference this book often)
  • Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
post #34 of 38
Thread Starter 

Hi Emmeline - found out that the Chairperson was correct, the eval was in August.  I can't believe it was less than a year ago, but we have had a pretty rough year. Unfortunately, it falls right on the cusp of the start of the new school year. So I am going to have to get creative here.

 

You said that the Chairperson is not an advocate for me or my DS, and I am *totally* feeling it through her attitude. My son sat quietly for the 15 minutes that she saw him, but the way she made me feel was as if he was calm and pleasant all the time, and I was making things up! I brought my video along with me and she didn't want to see it. She also had my DS's Pre-K registration sitting there on the desk, and I could see the "request for religious exemption to immunization" form. She may have thought badly of that, but who knows.

 

Thank you for the legal info about communicating with the school district. I will be able to use that.

 

In NYS, the child is entitled to an OT and ST eval every 6 months, but only a Psych eval every school year. I don't know why they do it like that, but it seems like the school district can twist that to their advantage, as the Chairperson tried to sway me to wait until Sept. for the entire eval.

 

I also spoke to the agency that we are doing the eval with (through the school district). It seems they are on the same page as the Chairperson, and after having spoken to the Chaiperson, the eval agency called me and wanted to do the entire eval in Sept. I had an appointment with them early next week, but it got pushed back to mid July. So I scheduled an OT eval at our local hospital through our insurance company, because I don't want to wait anymore for my DS to get help, and at this point, I feel like there is a push against us for whatever reasons, for him to score ineligible for services next year.

 

Right now I'm also looking at pre schools to get him involved in. Wow - are they expensive!! I'm starting to think we may have to wait until he is enrolled in school. This September, he may get accepted into Universal Pre K (a pre k program thats free in the State of NY, if your child gets drawn in the lottery). If he is found ineligible for this year, at least they will see his behavior in pre-k and I know through that, he will definitely be found eligible during the next eval. It's just the longer we wait, the worse he gets. So I have a big decision to make.

post #35 of 38
Thread Starter 

Found this thread and I just wanted to update.  Its been a year since I first posted this question. Since then:

 

DS was accepted into the upk program in a typical classroom setting. And his teacher is amazing. She has 2 sons with sensory issues and has structured the classroom to minimize sensory overload. She has also paid special attention to DS, helping him with his fine motor skills and social skills. He did very well for a while with the support he was getting from this wonderful teacher. He did so well that the school district wanted to keep him in a typical classroom for next year. But he has been trying so hard at school, and then coming home and breaking down. It's been rough, especially lately.

 

His teacher, developmental ped and psychologist all agreed that an inclusion type classroom would be best for him for next year.

 

I just had the CSE meeting today and he will be continuing OT and he will be in the inclusion kindergarten classroom next year. His classification in the school district is "autism". I wasn't sure if I should go for the "other health impaired", but I heard that the autism classification will get him more help.

 

So finally, a year later he is going to be in the best setting for him. So happy right now. broc1.gif

post #36 of 38

Great news!  It sounds like he has had a positive experience this year and that things are well set up for next year.

 

We don't use the term 'inclusion' classroom where I live. We have gen ed (the regular class, which can include lots of pullouts for therapies and help as well as teaching assistants to work with special needs kids) and cross category classrooms (which have only children with special need and are taught by a teacher with certification in special education).

 

Can you tell me more about the classroom that your son will be in next year?
 

post #37 of 38
Thread Starter 

Sure, Linda. From what DS psychologist says, its very similar to an integrated setting. The classroom will have 2 teachers and possibly up to 2 assistants. One teachers area of expertise will be special needs.

 

The classroom will include typical as well as non td children.

 

I wish I knew more about it, but I was so happy and surprised that the board agreed that I walked out of there speechless and didn't think to ask about it. I think I will call the special ed chairperson or the secretary tomorrow and get more info as I have been a little curious about it.

post #38 of 38

That sounds like a great setup. One of the things that isn't great about the gen ed track where I live/work is that often special needs kids end up in situations where NONE of the adults presents knows anything about their needs or how to address them. Multiple teachers/aids in a room usually means lunches/breaks at different times, so the child always has someone with them who *gets* them.

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