DS#2 is high functioning autism/PDD-NOS (depends on who labels him), hyperlexic, ADHD, and according to recent tests, borderline gifted. He's in gen ed kinder right now, on an IEP that has goals addressing his social skills deficits, managing his anxiety/frustrations and minimizing visual distractions. He didn't qualify for services under Autism last year; we all agreed he needed services so we got them under OHI using the ADHD instead.
Prepping for his upcoming ARD, the case manager says they don't think he needs an IEP next year and they want to dismiss him. She feels he can have appropriate accommodations through a 504 instead.
I'm very concerned and want to know what I might give up if we move that direction. I worry that it would be very hard to requalify for an IEP if he doesn't do well in 1st grade. He doesn't need an aide or specific services (had OT last year but not really needed this year). He is "doing very well" according to the teacher and the case manager. However, this is a gen ed teacher who has been a spec ed teacher, and was DS#2's teacher last year, so (a) she makes informal accommodations all the time for him in class and (b) she has seen the tremendous progress in 2 years. I'm worried that when he gets a gen ed teacher with no spec ed training, without a formal set of accommodations in place, he'll do poorly. Academically, he's probably 2 years ahead in language arts, so he'll be completely disengaged for parts of the day if the curriculum isn't differentiated and if they haven't got the accommodations in place, he'll be disruptive (interrupting, getting out of his seat, having verbal outbursts, etc.). He doesn't tolerate repetition/drills well - once he demonstrates he knows something, he's done with it and resists showing you again. This was noted during the gifted testing and through cognitive testing by a private neuropsych last year :)
Factor also in our district's budget issues, cuts being made to both Special Ed and Gifted resources, and our specific school without a principal (she went to a special grant program mid year, she was fantastic as a spec ed advocate and this was a big loss). I can't trust that the environment next year will be as supportive as this year, given the cuts and transitions.
Looking for advice. Do I fight the dismissal from an IEP and accept a 504? Pros and cons to this approach?
Thanks in advance. I always learn so much from this community.
DS#1: 9/01 DS#2: 8/04 : DS#3: 7/06 DD#1: 8/09
I did suggest this - that DS might present differently with a teacher who only has gen ed kinder and no spec ed background. He has had trouble with art/music teachers and a substitute - they sent 'bad behavior' notes home, and it turns out they didn't know his special ed designation. That to me is a red flag.
Also, there are significant cuts happening, and his current teacher may be at risk for losing her job (there will be 2 classes reduced next year in each grade). She's the least senior. If she shows her effectiveness, it would probably help her case for retention. I truly honestly believe she thinks DS has progressed significantly, but I also wonder if her desire to show progress in her class kiddos (she has 5 spec ed kids in her gen ed classroom) to help demonstrate her value to the school? She's a great teacher, and I would be happy to have her as DS's teacher next year. But she's only human like the rest of us, and has to support her own family.
DS#1: 9/01 DS#2: 8/04 : DS#3: 7/06 DD#1: 8/09
You need to do your best to keep the IEP. Each year he is going to encounter new challenges that may affect his education. Even though he may be gifted, there is always the possibility that he may have difficulty with educationally related stuff such as comprehension of directions or staying focused while taking tests. He may encounter problems with social interaction. If any of it results in him feeling uncomfortable to the point where he is performing below his academic expectation, it will be easier to address the issues by simply calling an IEP meeting. He may develop behavioral issues that prevents him from completing an assignment (thereby affecting his education). You simply call an IEP meeting to discuss your concern and modify the IEP to address the issues. 504 plan provide accommodation in order for the student to have access to programs, but it doesn't need to be educationally relevant. My concern is he is still too young and Kindergarten provides a lot of support and does not have the stress of meeting academic goals.
What specific accommodations does she feels he needs? What specifically about an IEP do you feel will be better for him for next year. You really haven't stated that.
If any of it results in him feeling uncomfortable to the point where he is performing below his academic expectation, it will be easier to address the issues by simply calling an IEP meeting. He may develop behavioral issues that prevents him from completing an assignment (thereby affecting his education). You simply call an IEP meeting to discuss your concern and modify the IEP to address the issues.
I disagree because it's easier to get a 504 meeting than an IEP meeting. Fewer people have to be there and the results are still legally binding. They, too, can be modified at any time, and with less fan fare.
My DD is 2E, gifted and on the autism spectrum. When she attended public school, she had a 504. The school was really super about accommodating her. Her 504 included a variety of things to help her be successful in school. She was changing for classes so everything needed to be in writing and part of a formal plan.
I don't know if your son needs an IEP or not, but I don't feel that in what you've said in this thread you've made a case for it, partly because you don't seem to understand what can be on a 504.
but everything has pros and cons
Under the IDEA/IEP, if your child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance, your child is entitled to an education that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and from which your child receives educational benefit.
A 504 is helping your child get the same education that everyone else is getting--more for a student that needs accommodations to help them learn (like sitting next to the teacher) or for behavior, and that they are not punished for things that they cannot control due to the ADHD (like needing to work standing up or not sit inside a group).
I favor keeping an IEP for as long as possible. The transition from kindy to 1st is very big, the expectations are quite different...it doesn't seem to be a great point to loosen things up.
My experience is that the IEP has more teeth in it than the 504. I love that my dd w/dyslexia (who is doing wonderfully), has an IEP. I have never had a problem getting an IEP meeting together. I love that goals and progress are measurable. I never feel like my kid is going to be lost somehow in the space between having needs and doing well. I would hang on to the IEP until your ds has some more school time under his belt, if you can.
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