Public School IEP testing coming soon...mams with experience? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 04-25-2010, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is 6 now and entering Kindergarten in the Fall. To be safe, I met with the principal and case worker on Thursday to discuss Savanna's current struggles at home, and the needs her Pre-K teacher has concerns about. All of these struggles/needs are social, emotional and sensory based. She is very age-appropriate academically.

We now will be going forth with in-depth testing to establish a new IEP.

I am so concerned that a bigger focus will be on academic, and the major social/emotional issues will be missed in testing. There will be a pscyh there and I know they are trained. I just worry....a lot...probably sometimes w/out good reason... but I want the best for her and since homeschooling isn't a good option for her especially, I feel rather helpless.

Can anyone with experience with these IEP's for kidnergarten give me some words of support and/or experience?

(Oh, she did have an outdated IEP for a preschool year in 2006-07. She then was diagnosed as having sensory integration disorder, developmental delay, sleep disorder, and at risk of/showing signs of adhd They will test under the notion that she is likely within the Autism spectrum.)

Becca ~Mama to 3 (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#2 of 13 Old 04-25-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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Well We JUST got done with the initial eval for dd (shes in 2nd but we homeschooled prior) and they were VERY thorough about social/emotional status as well. It is my understanding that for an IEP they are looking at academics, looking for something that affects the students learning. I think they use a 504 plan for other types of issues that affect their daily living but don't directly affect the students learning unless there is something that qualifies them with a disability then it's written into the IEP.

I could be off, as I am a noob to all this this..but I am sure all the mammas here will jump in too!

Its a looong drawn our process, so my only advice is patience. Good Luck!

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#3 of 13 Old 04-25-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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Hi there,

I am a special educator, and I actually specialize in working with children aged 2-7 with autism spectrum disorders.

Personally at my school, we are very through with kinders when we write goals as one of my biggest concerns with my students is social-emotional skills. In fact, I find social-emotional skills to be almost of greater importance than the academics at this stage, especially with students who have autism.

The school psych will most likely do some kind of social-emotional assessment such as a BASC2 which will indicate whether your daughter is "at risk" or has significant needs in certain areas. If so, these needs should be noted in her "present levels" area of the IEP and goal(s) written for them.

I would encourage you to communicate as much as you can with her caseworker, ask about which assessments that they will do and let them know about your concern with social/emotional preparedness. You (and your husband) are part of the IEP team and all decisions regarding goals/support services and placement are to be made as a team!

P.S. a school psychologist is not able to diagnose for Autism Spectrum Disorder, though certain evaluations may "point to it". I always encourage parents, if they are able, to see a developmental pediatrician or licensed psychologist outside of school if possible.

I hope I didn't over-step my boundaries here, since I am not a parent of a child with special needs, but I thought some info may be of help to you.
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#4 of 13 Old 04-25-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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As the PP said, the school should look at social emotional needs during the assessment/IEP process. I agree that a referral to a developmental pediatrician is a good idea for many children who are at risk/suspected of ASD. Their assessment process is different than the school, and you can get some recommendations and information from a private eval that you may not from the school.

That said, schools do tend to be much better about working in social needs at the Kindergarten level, and it's a great place to start services! Is the school providing an OT assessment to look at sensory needs? A speech assessment to look at pragmatic/social language skills? If you see needs in these areas, or any others, you can request additional assessments from the school. They will not diagnose, but they can look at areas of need.
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#5 of 13 Old 04-25-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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Hi- I also have experience in this area as a psychologist, not as a mom with a SN child- so I hope my post is OK as well.

I agree with the pp that an evaluation at the kindergarten level is likely to focus heavily on social-emotional issues. In fact, my experience with the kinder crowd (I am a neuropsychologist who works in a school as their school psychologist) is that it is VERY easy to test "on grade level" academically at that point, so VERY few kids (even those who DO go on to later demonstrate a learning disability) are diagnosed with an LD at that stage. The majority of the kids we see during kindergarten present with the ADHD and/or social-emotional types of issues. In addition to the BASC2 (which stands for Behavioral Assessment Scales for Children) which will likely be done, there may also be specific rating scales for suspected ADHD issues (the Connors or the Brown ADD Scales are ones commonly used) and there might be specific rating scales for suspected Asperger's or Autism (GADS and GARS are common). the pp is right that a school psychologist can't diagnose autism, but it also depends on the degree the psychologist has. For example, I have a doctorate in clinical/neuropsychology (wiht a certificate in School Psychology) so I CAN diagnose things like Autism and ADHD, etc. Many of my friends from grad school ended up working in schools because of the good hours etc.

the evaluation should be "multidisciplinary"- which means that it can/will include other disciplines (like speech, OT, PT) as needed. Often (this is the case in my school), I do a full evaluation, which includes speech/langauge and motor skills/fine motor skills screenings. if there are any red flags on my testing, I referr for more complete OT or speech evaluations to be conducted. If you discuss any speech (this can be a big component of social skills interactions) or OT issues ahead of time, they may agree off the bat to include those components of the testing right away. Again, my school/state may be different, but the OT/Speech/PT specialists don't make a diagnosis (i.e. autism) but talk about percent delayed, percentile rank in each skill, etc. and then address whether or not the child's deficits (if any) are impacting their ability to function in the regular education setting. this can be frustrating for many (both parents and teachers) as a child CAN have issues/deficits that technically do not significantly impact their in school functioning and then might not qualify for services (or the exent of services) that you'd imagine. In o ur school, the OT does not test for sensory issues- she is generally focused on fine motor skills issues and visual spatial/visual perceptual/visual motor issues.

good luck! I hope it all goes well!
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#6 of 13 Old 04-25-2010, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You have all offered me so much information... i will be going through this thread tomorrow with my noted and a pen to put some thoughts together using the right lingo and to ask for a few things mentioned.

Thank you for taking the time to reponsd.

Please keep the posts coming.....

Becca ~Mama to 3 (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#7 of 13 Old 04-26-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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Don't sign anything in the IEP meeting until you are able to read the whole IEP that you will get a copy of. I'd also get a 2nd opinion from a outside source to see if it differs from the schools evaluation.

From the evaluation from the school my daughter is said to have ADHD Inattentive Type, auditory processing issues, she also has significant speech delays.

We will be getting another assessment from the psychologist her pediatrician suggested but he wants to wait till October because he feels that she might not be as bad as the schools testing shows yet he's only seen and talked to her 2 times and both times she was actually sitting still pretty well. He also wants to see if the IEP will actually help her any.


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#8 of 13 Old 04-26-2010, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Of course we're held up yet again because her last vision test wasn't complete and she did poorly so they really needed all the info filled in. I have to take her to the school nurse tomorrow for a second vision test.

It is really frustrating to count on so many people to help MY CHILD's need be met. I'm the Mama. I want to do it myself. I'm afraid if I tried she'd lack in so many resources and early intervention, though. She's been in speech and OT since 2yrs and it did wonders for her, so I have to remind myself this time is key and it's worth the frustration of allowing others to evaluate her.

Aridel, I honestly don't know if an OT will be present for the evaluations. I have to ask....I can't believe I didn't. Thank you for reminding me. I did ask over and over if they would be addressing social/emotional/sensory and they kept saying "yes" so I assumed an OT was involved, but I should kno better than to assume.

My older sister has a Master's in Education and a Bachelor's in Social Work. She has been present in many an IEP meeting. Do you think it would be wise to have her with me in the final meeting where we discuss services offered?

Becca ~Mama to 3 (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#9 of 13 Old 04-26-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaRBH View Post
I am so concerned that a bigger focus will be on academic, and the major social/emotional issues will be missed in testing. There is be a pscyh there and I know they are trained. I just worry....a lot...probablu sometimes w/out good reason... but I want the best for her snf cince homeschoolin;ing s good option I feel rather helpless.
My son is in Kindergarten this year, so we went through the re-evals for services about a year ago. He had been on an IEP all through preschool, but needed to requalify for services for Kindy.

He had evals done in just about every area:

In reading and math he scored at least 2 years ABOVE age/grade. (The screening tool they used stopped at that level.) The fact that he is academically advanced in no way disqualified him from services.

Social and emotional skills scored about 2 years below age. This eval was based on scales the teacher and I filled out, observation by the school psychologist in the classroom, and in in-depth interview the school psychologist did with me.

Language he scored in the average range; except for pragmatic language, where he scored significantly below age. (I had requested a specific language test that includes a pragmatic scale because I expected this result. )

Gross motor skills tested about 2 years below age. Fine motor was really low, about 3.5 years below age (less than 1%tile).

DS would not cooperate with the hearing screen, so it was not done. He has complex vision problems, so we did not have the school do a vision screening and submitted a report from the pediatric ophthamologist instead.

My son is placed in a K-2 Autism classroom. He is academically advanced, and his work is a mix of Kindy, first, and second grade material. But he lacks the social and emotional development to function in a typical classroom. DS is thriving in this placement and we are thrilled with this teachers and therapists. He gets speech, OT, and Adaptive PE as well.

Lolly
Mom to an amazing little guy, age 9 (Autism, Hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, Albinism, Chromosome Microdeletion)

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#10 of 13 Old 04-27-2010, 09:34 AM
 
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I'd definitely bring your sister if she's been a Elementary or Early Childhood teacher. IEP meetings/evals are very different for younger kids than they are for older ones.

My son had his first IEP written in March. The evaluations were VERY comprehensive. I also brought his private OT and psychological evaluations. I'm thrilled with his IEP and the services that he is receiving. Well, not thrilled that he needs an IEP but thrilled with the support. The goals are as much social/emotional as they are academic. I've already seen some wonderful progress (particularly on the school bus.)
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#11 of 13 Old 04-27-2010, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
My son had his first IEP written in March. The evaluations were VERY comprehensive. I also brought his private OT and psychological evaluations. I'm thrilled with his IEP and the services that he is receiving. Well, not thrilled that he needs an IEP but thrilled with the support. The goals are as much social/emotional as they are academic. I've already seen some wonderful progress (particularly on the school bus.)
Do you think I should hire an OT to come over and do a one-time evaluation to bring with me to the meeting? I wonder if that would be helpful if it was just a one-time thing? We had an OT when she was in the 1-3yr program. Then the state funded it 4-5yrs. She has not had OT in over a year now.

Becca ~Mama to 3 (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#12 of 13 Old 04-27-2010, 07:09 PM
 
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If your insurance will pay for an evaluation, I'd probably do it. The school district doesn't provide the type of OT that my son get's privately (the sensory and movement-type stuff) so we do that separately.

Where in NC are you? PM me if you want. I'm in the Triangle. (And if I already know the answer, then tell me because my memory stinks.)
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#13 of 13 Old 04-27-2010, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
If your insurance will pay for an evaluation, I'd probably do it. The school district doesn't provide the type of OT that my son get's privately (the sensory and movement-type stuff) so we do that separately.

Where in NC are you? PM me if you want. I'm in the Triangle. (And if I already know the answer, then tell me because my memory stinks.)
Thanks for such a quick reply, Polliwog! I think I'll get on that evaluation. I suppose calling the insurance company to see if it is covered would be my starting point...or perhaps I need her pediatrician to refer her?

I am in the Triad...between G'boro and Winston.

Becca ~Mama to 3 (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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