Just got back from Ped. consult :( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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trying not to cry...

We had to take DS out of school a month ago because of severe behavioral issues. His teachers agreed that the school environment was just too much for him, and it was suggested that he should have an evaluation to see if he's on the autism spectrum. We've always struggled with his sensory sensitivities, but this year (1st grade) was the first time we had professionals backing us up.

So I made a dr. appt and waited the 3 1/2 weeks for it to get here. I went in and gave her DS's report card and a page of short notes about our biggest issues. She reads though (while ds is sitting on the table making squacking noises with his gown over his face) and says she thinks it's ADHD and wants to put DS on meds. WTF?? Are you kidding me? Yeah he has some issues that overlap with ADHD but there are so many other things going on that are much more disturbing and not part of ADHD. Never once did his teachers bring up ADHD, and they have experience with that and autism along with a host of other disorders. It just doesn't FIT.

I mean do ADHD kids need a 2hr long bedtime routine? Are they unable to do buttons or tie shoes or hold a pencil with one hand at almost 7yrs old? Can they sit and draw intricate pictures of cars (with 2 handed pencil grip) or play with cars or look at cars for hours without losing interest? Do they cringe at physical contact or choose to wear earplugs because the sounds of the world are just too much to handle?

No he doesn't listen or pay attention to directions. He's very impulsive. He sometimes bounces off the walls and usually engages in grossly inappropriate behavior. But he also gags on certain texture foods, destroys clothes and toys by chewing, and gets sensory overload any time there's a change in routine or he's in an overly stimulating atmosphere (think grocery store!) He does have trouble sitting through lessons but instead of squirming and running around he'll seriously get up and go to his room and lay under the blankets in the dark until he's ready to come back to work.

I told the dr. I do NOT think it's ADHD from what I've read about the disorder and won't just stick him on meds. So she gave me the number of a couple organizations and a psychologist. I got home and looked into these places a little more, turns out the psychologist specializes in attention deficit disorders and parent-child conflicts! The organizations are mental health and offer counseling and whatnot. She did put in a referral for an evaluation at the county mental health office but his appt. wouldn't be for 4-5 months IF our insurance will pay for it.
I'm so, so so so disappointed. It's all I can do to just get through every day and it seems there's nothing I can do to help ds. I just don't know what to do now but I'm not going to give up and say it's ADHD. Are there any options other than go through the school district? I tried that route and since he's not in school they don't want to deal with it

mom to ds (6) + ds (3) and 11/22/09
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#2 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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If he is in 1st grade, then how did you legally pull him out of school? At that age they are required to be in school, unless they are suspended.

Second, if the school is having all these issues why the heck are they not evaluating him for either a 504 or an IEP? If he is already on one, why are they not looking at re-doing his MFE and then his IEP/504?

I would contact your local public school district and send a demand letter for an MFE and a meeting on an IEP/504 plan.
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#3 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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In most states you can pull kids out of school to school at home. I would assume that's what has happened here.

OP I'm sorry it was horrible. Yuck.

What I would do is contact an autism society in your area and find out who is good at evaluating. See what insurance covers and go to whomever is recommended that they cover. Was this a developmental pediatrician? Sometimes they are good too and I'm assuming given that type of "assessment" this was a regular old pediatrician?

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#4 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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I'm very sorry for what you are going through and for your horrid visit today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by khaoskat View Post
Second, if the school is having all these issues why the heck are they not evaluating him for either a 504 or an IEP? If he is already on one, why are they not looking at re-doing his MFE and then his IEP/504?

I would contact your local public school district and send a demand letter for an MFE and a meeting on an IEP/504 plan.
yep. The school MUST pay for the evaluation.

Evaluations can be done privately if you either have the money or have good insurance, but the school MUST provide one. Either way, where we live, there is a long wait list. And it's a whole big process once it happens, and it can take weeks for the official report.

You gotta do everything in writing. Telling the school you want an eval doesn't count.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 12 Old 03-06-2010, 01:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah that's correct, we pulled him out to homeschool, but technically since he's still 6 he's not required by law to be in school or even registered as a homeschooler.

I contacted the special ed administrator and she said the first step would be to track him with a student study team (since he's not attending school I don't know how they would go about doing this) Then, if their interventions didn't work AND he has documented lack in educational progress they would consider an evaluation, BUT they would also take into consideration whether his school issues would be "pertinent" in a homeschool setting. Basically I got the impression she was saying- not our problem.
His academic tests at the beginning of the year were normal, but his report card is pretty much one big "not meeting standards" so I don't know if that would mean anything.
I did leave a message for the school psychologist, who observed DS months ago but never gave us the report. I hope to schedule an appointment to go over her findings and see what our options are from there.
My opinion is it just takes way too long and is way too difficult! We were really hoping to have this done by the end of this school year so we could look over our options for starting over next school year. It doesn't look like that's going to happen
To think we started this whole process in September with meetings and the psych eval. and it's like we haven't done anything, we're back at square 1. It's exhausting.

mom to ds (6) + ds (3) and 11/22/09
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#6 of 12 Old 03-06-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I'm very sorry for what you are going through and for your horrid visit today.



yep. The school MUST pay for the evaluation.

Evaluations can be done privately if you either have the money or have good insurance, but the school MUST provide one. Either way, where we live, there is a long wait list. And it's a whole big process once it happens, and it can take weeks for the official report.

You gotta do everything in writing. Telling the school you want an eval doesn't count.
1) School receives referral
2) W/in 15 business days of receipt (so 3 weeks) they must notify and get consent of parents
3) W/in 60 days of getting consent they must make the determination if the student is a student with a disability.
4) 30 days after making the disability determination, they must hold an IEP meeting

So, it could take up to four months to get an IEP in place. When transitioning from early intervention services where I live to school aged (including pre-school services) they start the process about six months before the child turns 3.

Also, you might have an argument that the public school services knew about your child's issues, as they have been educating him for the last 1 1/2 years, and they failed in their duty to identify the child. They are required to identify children as young as 3 years of age who are in need of special educational services. Since he had been with them in Kinder, they should have picked up on the issues and made the referral for the testing back then, and not let it get to the point that the child had to be withdrawn from school.
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#7 of 12 Old 03-06-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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Here is a webpage that is written in plain language about IEPs. Not sure what State you are in, but this is written in Wisconsin.

http://www.specialed.us/pl-07/pl07-ieppro.html
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#8 of 12 Old 03-06-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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I've been in at least 50 IEP meetings as a Pre-K teacher and Education specialist (probably more, now that I think about it.) But until I hit the elementary level IEP process with my son, I didn't have a clue how different it is. The preschool level process is irrelevant, although the timelines are basically the same. And vary by state, so you'll want to look up yours.

It's a lot harder to get services approved for a child who isn't in school (K-12.) It's not impossible but it's harder to get services that are necessary for a child to succeed in a regular or specialized classroom when there isn't a classroom involved. And honestly, the services the school can provide probably won't be all that the child needs. For example, my son is being evaluated by the school but has already had a private OT and Psychological/Educational evaluation. He goes to OT and the psychologist weekly. In OT he focuses on all the physical/sensory stuff that he won't get in the public school. So, many children get both private and school services.

I'd probably go to the psychologist the pediatrician recommended and have the evaluation done. A good psychologist will know the difference between ADHD and autism. Or anything else. A true ADHD evaluation takes several hours and requires checklists by parents (and teachers if applicable.) It's too early for anyone to say for sure if your child has it, or doesn't. And school system evaluations won't DIAGNOSE anything. They just evaluate if special services are needed and what the school can provide based on what the law requires.

Good luck finding the information and resources needed to help your son.
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#9 of 12 Old 03-06-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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yeah that's correct, we pulled him out to homeschool, but technically since he's still 6 he's not required by law to be in school or even registered as a homeschooler.
before I say anything else....

is homeschooling your preference or are you homeschooling because he has sn needs that the school wasn't meeting?

Mothing.com doesn't host debates on homeschooling so I want to be very careful about how I word this. If it is your preference that your child attend school, then IMHO, you need to work with the school to figure out how they can meet his needs.

There are people who work as educational advocates. here, they charge about $60 an hour. It might be worthwhile if the school keep giving you the runaround.

On the other hand, if you want to homeschool, please ignore everything I said.

(my child receives some services privately and some special treatment through school)

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#10 of 12 Old 03-07-2010, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok trying to sort things out here...

It was not our first option to homeschool, and dh is still not very happy about it. It's difficult for me to try to get a program started while trying to care for my other kids and the house, pets etc. I would love ds to be in a school program but I've toured several (private and public charter) and haven't found any that would work for ds right now because of his issues. I think once I have a chance to get a system straightened out a little I may want to stick with it, but as of right now our goal is to get him back in a school program.

We just moved here to Oregon from WI at the start of the school year. Actually we moved a few days before school started, then moved into town (45min away) a month later, then moved across town a month after that. DS stayed in the same school through all the moves but we figured things would settle down a little with him after we settled in. His teacher did start the process right after school started (we went in for meetings and authorized whatever observations) because she did notice things going on with him, but for whatever reason nothing ever really got anywhere.

He went to a montessori program for a few hours a week when he was 3, then he did montessori preschool and kindergarten in a very small school with the same teachers those 2 years. I'm going to get in touch with his teachers and see if they have any thoughts about this. DH thinks (and thought then) that they didn't want to "bother" us with behavioral issues he might have been having there, and if that's the case I'd be really disappointed. Well that's an understatement. But anyway we shall see.

At this point I'm thinking an evaluation with the mental health place would be the best place to start. Since he's not in school and isn't having serious academic delays I doubt they could do much anyway. We can't afford to go the private route so I'm hoping his insurance will cover an evaluation and some sort of help for him...

mom to ds (6) + ds (3) and 11/22/09
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#11 of 12 Old 03-07-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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He went to a montessori program for a few hours a week when he was 3, then he did montessori preschool and kindergarten in a very small school with the same teachers those 2 years. I'm going to get in touch with his teachers and see if they have any thoughts about this. DH thinks (and thought then) that they didn't want to "bother" us with behavioral issues he might have been having there, and if that's the case I'd be really disappointed. Well that's an understatement. But anyway we shall see.
Ok, going to chime in a bit on the Montissori here, as we are shifting from traditional public pre-school to a Montissori for Kinder. I have been working with the Director of the school about what I should or shouldn't put into his new IEP for this fall.

Basically a lot of behavioral stuff in the IEP at a Montissori is not needed, because by their nature they do a lot of the stuff w/o it needing to be written into an IEP. They already do the one on one; they already work on the behaviors and getting independence, etc.
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#12 of 12 Old 03-08-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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At this point I'm thinking an evaluation with the mental health place would be the best place to start. Since he's not in school and isn't having serious academic delays I doubt they could do much anyway. We can't afford to go the private route so I'm hoping his insurance will cover an evaluation and some sort of help for him...
My advice is to pursue testing BOTH through the school and through your insurance at the same time.

Whatever is going on with your son is serious enough that he cannot currently attend school, so it is having a serious academic issues. "unable to attend school" is a big deal and is not a good reason to homeschool. Unless you plan to homeschool forever, right through college, eventually the school has to figure him out.

I'd notify the school in writing that you want him tested, stating when the testing was first requested, and clarifying that he will be returning to school. If you know when you want him to return to school, say so, otherwise just don't put in a date. I might even send the letter certified so I had proof of the date and that they received it.

Yet another option for your son is a private tutor paid for by the school until such time they can figure out how to have him in a classroom. I'm not sure how you would get this set up, but I'm sure it would start with testing and making it clear to the school that homeschooling is simply not your lifestyle choice.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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