IEP, does this sound typical? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-24-2010, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone. Brief history, my dd age 6 suffered traumatic brain injury recently. She will be returning to school in a couple of weeks. She will repeat kindergarten over again starting on Sept 7th. We just moved here so we registered her over the summer and met with a few people from the school. They said they didn't want to begin testing her until school actually starts. Someone made the comment that once school actually starts she may not need any special needs help. I'm with her everyday so I know that her brain does not work in the same way, and she will not be able to do many of the things she previously did in kindergarten. She gets very tired easily, and has trouble with memory and concentration. I asked if a representative from the local brain injury association could come in and talk to everyone about how tbi affects a child's ability to learn and different ways of helping them. They weren't so enthusiastic about that. Anyway, school is about to start and there is nothing in place for her. Is this typical. I feel like they should have at least gotten the process started to decide if she needs special needs. I've called them and got the same answer. I've heard from many people that I'm really going to have to fight for her to get what she deserves. I'm actually thinking of homeschooling if she does not do well. I've always wanted to homeschool, but before my daughter was very outgoing and would have not benefited from it. I don't know, this is all so new and confusing.

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#2 of 10 Old 08-24-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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I don't have much experience in this, but a written request (sent signature confirmation) seems to be the only way to get the attention of reluctant school staff; they can just blow off oral requests--start a paper trail.
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My situation is that ds has been diagnosed with ADHD but had a really bad year behaviorally at his last school for K. This year I gave his teacher the report from his OT before school started so she understood why ds does the things he does/may do; we recently started meds and were not sure how he would react.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#3 of 10 Old 08-24-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
I don't have much experience in this, but a written request (sent signature confirmation) seems to be the only way to get the attention of reluctant school staff; they can just blow off oral requests--start a paper trail.
Yes, write a written request. The school has a certain timeline to adhere to (varies by state) to evaluate her & decide if she qualifies for an IEP.

Another option is a 504. That process can be started quickly and should be. Ask your TBI consultant about it as well. I am sure they have dealt w/ 504s for kids w/ TBIs.

I would want something in place before school starts, otherwise it is a 'wait and fail' mentality rather than a proactive mentality. You can always remove or reduce services if she does not need them, much harder to increase services once the school year starts.

Look up 504s and IEP evaluation regulations in www.wrightslaw.com


I worked w/ 2 TBI students (one birth injury and one trauma) and both had VERY different needs that needed to be addressed ASAP for safety, social, and self confidence reasons.

If you have ANY safety concerns, they need to be addressed before school starts (wandering, running, confusion, seizures, PE adjustments to avoid further trauma etc)
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#4 of 10 Old 08-24-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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Unfortunately, I think that many schools know extremely little about TBI. I have worked in a school for 8 years (I'm a neuropsychologist) and though we have a large variety of behavioral/emotional/learning/developmental/attentional disabilities represented at varying degrees of severity in the school, we've had EXACTLY ONE TBI student, and his TBI was a birth injury, so it was a VERY different story.

it is not crazy to wait until the school year actually starts to do the eval (we do this at school regularly- all the districts and charters where I live are no longer required to do summer evals- the "clock stops" the day after school ends and restarts the day before it begins again). Also, a GOOD evaluation will involved much more than testing- especially with a student who has suffered a TBI (and the issues are- IME, far more individual than most ADHD students I"ve tested, who usually have at least SOME issues in common). ONce your DD has "settled" a bit into the routines of school, observing her (in class, in social situations, etc) will be extremely helpful. Also, in many cases, supplemental service providers (i.e. speech, OT/PT) may not be available to test/observe until the year is officialy under way.

HOWEVER, I'd definately request a 504 now. while the school likely has NOT done much before with TBI students, they have probably done one for other medical issues (diabetes, etc.) and with your consultant's help, this can be a good starting place as the full evaluation is started (plus, even if they "started" today, in most places they have 60 calendar days to finish). A 504 for your daughter may start off by focusing on the more "physical" manifestations of TBI. Will she need the option to go to the nurse to nap/rest at certain times of day, or as needed? is she sensitive to light and need sun glasses in doors? Do her attention issues benefit from preferential seating, etc.? Does she have balance or other issues that would indicate the need for an adult to walk near her on steps or on the way out of the building in an emergency (i.e. fire drill?) Does she have difficulty with directions/getting lost (i.e. would she need an escort to the bathroom or other places in the school where the teachers might expect she'd be fine going alone?

Also, you can talk to the principal about other options, such as starting with a shortened day (i.e building up her stamina) if needed-- some times this can mean coming in for a half day, or coming later in the day if the morning is hard for her. Sometimes this means they give some amount of home bound instruction as well.

hope that helps!
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#5 of 10 Old 08-25-2010, 12:07 AM
 
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Yeah, I would get over to Wright's Law right away (someone linked above) and maybe pick up their book, too. You're going to have to become an expert in this stuff; you are your daughter's advocate. You're going to meet some truly wonderful people who want to help your daughter, and you're going to meet some people who are going to do everything they can to put up roadblocks. Knowledge is the thing that will get you around, over, or through those roadblock people.

Get an IEP. A 504 is not a legal document and while it can be helpful in some circumstances, with something as serious and significant as TBI, I would want something legally binding.

This can be an incredibly difficult system to navigate. I hope you can get everything your daughter needs!

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#6 of 10 Old 08-25-2010, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for taking the time to write me back. This is so helpful. I had never heard of a 504 or Wrights Law. I have my work cut out for me. Thank you all!!

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#7 of 10 Old 08-25-2010, 11:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post

Get an IEP. A 504 is not a legal document and while it can be helpful in some circumstances, with something as serious and significant as TBI, I would want something legally binding.
s!
504 does allow for legal rights to services as stated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

You can get Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy (an even if the district is generous some resource room time) under 504. It is often the only alternative for students that needs services , but do not academically qualify for an IEP.

We used them a lot for ADHD, asthmatic, and other students that had an impairment that affected daily life- but did not impact academics (usually the qualifier for an IEP).

I agree though, an IEP allows for much more legal responsibility on the school part and allows for a much wider variation on services/programs/ etc.

I have one DD on an IEP and the other DD lined up for a 504.
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#8 of 10 Old 08-25-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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Check out the Wrightslaw books. They are fabulous help!! And easy to read.

Then contact your parent groups and advocacy groups. They can help you find the resources you will need. . . and even if you homeschool, you may be able to get services for your daughter.

I agree that you need to go to send your local school a certified letter requesting a full evaluation asap. That letter will set a time clock for them. Then if they fail to follow through within that time frame, you will have recourse. Also, a letter from your Doctor directly to the school will help too.

It can be a tough road or an easy road, depending on your school district. We have had both. Try to be patient, but firm with your school. They usually are trying to do their best. But if it isn't going well, don't be afraid to find yourself a parent advocate and friends to help you through the process.

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#9 of 10 Old 08-26-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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to clarify, a 504 IS a legal document- a major difference is that it does not HAVE to be revisited yearly (though it can be at any time). Also, many more children qualify for a 504 under health conditions than can qualify for an IEP, which is based on the impact a child's issue has on learning.

that said, I think a full eval is ABSOLUTELY important with an issue such as TBI. Whether or not the school's eventual eval is sufficient is another story, but it is a good place to start. I recommended starting with a 504 because it can be written simply based on a doctor's diagnosis (i.e. TBI) without having to wait for the eval needed for an IEP. Also, if your DD has difficulties in school even while having a 504 in place, and the school is still dragging their heels at a full eval, you have the ability to say that the 504 is not sufficient to meet her needs and push even harder for more testing.
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#10 of 10 Old 08-26-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefmir View Post
I recommended starting with a 504 because it can be written simply based on a doctor's diagnosis (i.e. TBI) without having to wait for the eval needed for an IEP. Also, if your DD has difficulties in school even while having a 504 in place, and the school is still dragging their heels at a full eval, you have the ability to say that the 504 is not sufficient to meet her needs and push even harder for more testing.
This.

A 504 is legally binding and quick and easy. It isn't as detailed, not as many people have to sign it, and it doesn't have to include specific goals for the child to reach.

It can address some very basic issues, such as the fact that your DD gets tired very easily. What should the school do when she gets tired? Should she rest for a bit and then rejoin the other kids? Where will she rest? Should she have a shorter day and have a tutor for some sujects? Should they call you, or do something else first, and then call you if something else doesn't work?

It's a good place to start.

And I agree about sending a certified letter requesting an eval. Figuring out what is going to work for your DD at school will be a process, not something that happens over night.

I'm very sorry that you are going throug this.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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