What are my rights in terms of what I can ask for at an IEP meeting? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is almost three and he has been receiving SLP services through EI for about 9 months.  We're in the middle of transitioning to getting services from the school district.  He will qualify for services- that's not the issue at all.

 

The issue at this point is what they're proposing for him.

 

According to the school district, the only options are for my son to be enrolled in a preschool program for 2 1/2 hours, four days a week.  Or, he can receive speech therapy at the school for 25 minutes a week between the hours of 9-2:40.

 

Ummm.... these options will NOT work for our family.  I work from 7 - 2:30.  I have no flexibility in my schedule.  DH takes a 7:00 train into the city and generally gets home around 5:00.  DS has attended a great Montessori school one town over since he was 15 months old, and the school district will not pay for any transportation outside of their district boundaries, which the Montessori school is.  We have no one who could help with transportation or child care on our end.

 

So my question is- are those two options (preschool or 25 minute therapy) the only thing the school is required to offer?  Or can we ask / demand that they come up with a third option that will meet the needs of our family??

 

I am just shocked at how inflexible they have been in what they are offering.  Seriously, their attitude from our very first meeting in April has ben "We offer A, or B, and that's it.  Take it or leave it."  I work at a high school, and I know that we're always brainstorming solutions to problems in placing kids.

 

So what are my rights, here?


Sleepy mama to Colin Theodore 8-12-08 and Trevor Arthur 7-17-12.

 

 

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#2 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 12:32 PM
 
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Don't know your state specifics, but I will share our experience which was similar.

 

Our DS was in a private preschool/daycare, and receiving private OT and ST, but at age 4, we had him evaluated by the district (to set the wheels in motion for kinder, and to see if there was anything else they could offer us). The district started him out with a "community based PPCD program", where they came to the preschool twice a week, but after 6 months, they recommended we enroll him fulltime in the school based PPCD program. As in, "We don't think the current services meet his needs, we STRONGLY recommend he enroll in PPCD where we can provide more services).

 

I worked full time. The PPCD program was from like 9:15-11:30 each day. (Elementary started earlier and ended much later). I had a kid in a different private school and another one in the daycare still. There was NO way that schedule was going to work for us. It was not possible (without a TimeTurner :) ) to get the kid to/from the program and the other 2 kids to 2 different schools on time. Plus, he already was in a full time program and they were offering him only two lousy hours a day?

 

We weren't getting anywhere at the IEP meeting and we called for a recess. Check your Procedural Safeguards, as a parent you should have the right to do this. Basically, if you can't agree, you call a time out for everyone to go back and reassess. In our case, we had the principal call us within 24 hours to see what we could work out. Because the next step after a recess, if parents still can't agree, is Due Process. Nobody wants that, it's legal and messy and adversarial and expensive.

 

Turns out once we got offline, informally discussing options, I learned they could (had to?) provide bus transportation to/from the private daycare instead of our house. (Ours happened to be in district, I don't know if they must drive your child out of district or not). They also could modify the "standard" program they offered, once they realized he was a unique case. He was technically eligible for kinder, due to a birthday, and therefore when I threatened to enroll him in full day kinder, and let them figure out from there, it's amazing that they came up with a schedule that started at the same time as the elementary, and while it ended an hour earlier than elementary, they would bus him to daycare for us.

 

I had to keep the "personal inconvenience" of the shorter hours out of the discussion. Focusing instead on the hours of service he was eligible for, and he was currently getting out of the preschool, to how they wanted to reduce them by putting him in the PPCD program. And knowing they legally had to provide transportation for all special ed students, helped a lot.

 

The bus ended up picking up my kid at home in the morning, and driving literally around the corner to take him to school (our back fence is shared with the school). This helped us because he was out of my hands 20 minutes earlier than I could have walked him to school, which let me leave and take the other kids to their school on time. Ridiculous but creative thinking. He wouldn't have been eligible for the bus if he weren't Special Ed.

 

We kept hearing that they had never done anything like what they did for DS (changed the standard offering, extending the hours and doing 2 hrs of inclusion kinder at the end of the day) but they also had never quite encountered a kid like him. We had to focus on his unique needs, as already documented by THEIR evaluators, and the services he already was receiving, and how what they proposed would be a reduction. We also did have some great advocates on our side, the district actually has been terrific in the many individuals who provide services, do evals and advocate for him. The bureaucracy of the IEP process has been where we've had problems.

 

I'm sure others will recommend the Wright's Law web site and books as resources. Your district should also have its policies and maybe the state policies for Special Ed posted as well, or they provided them to you when you kicked off the IEP process. My mantra is Polite but Firm. The educated advocate parent gets more than the one who just 'goes along'. But staying friendly is so important since you will be partnering with these people for quite awhile.

 

ETA: Is their in-school ST the only option? You need to ask specifically if they do a Community Based program where they come visit the preschool/private school. (In our case, the private school does not have to be in district. Our Catholic school was not in district, and I know of a few kids there who had services provided by our district.) I had no idea this was an option for us at first, it's not like they advertise it in our district. But they do it. There were three community based teachers who just visited kids all over, every week. However, in our district, they only do it until age 5 or 6, then, to receive services, the child MUST be enrolled in public school to get services. That information is clearly spelled out in our inch-thick procedural safeguards and ARD guide. So you may not have an option after kindergarten age but to enroll in public school.

 

Good luck and hugs to you.


Me: 38 DH: 47
DS#1: 9/01 DS#2: 8/04 : DS#3: 7/06 DD#1: 8/09
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#3 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 01:17 PM
 
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If the Montessori school is in the same township/area as the preschool then he will simply do both and they are required to provide transportation.

 

My DH and I work in one city but live in another so carting him back and forth just wasn't an option.  Our son was in day care in our town.  Every day the bus would pick him up (the bus had specially equipped car seats built into the bus) and bring him to the preschool and after would bring him back to the day care where we'd pick him up (if we were home, they would have dropped him off at home).    You just need to talk to the transportation people at the district and they will help you figure out the logistics.

 

I will tell you that the pre-school was wonderful!  He received speech & OT 3x a week as well as academics.  He loved it and got a great deal of out it.  They also helped us with the IEP for kindergarten and even now, 2 years later, I can email them and ask questions (I'm facebook friends with his teacher too!).  


Walking to raise money for Apraxia - feel free to join me if you are in the area or donate http://www.apraxia-kids.org/southjerseywalk/juliefoxx
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#4 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbins View Post

 

ETA: Is their in-school ST the only option? You need to ask specifically if they do a Community Based program where they come visit the preschool/private school. 

 

According to the director of special ed in April, yes, they only do in-school ST.  But I don't know whether he was describing their standard services, or ALL of their services.  He's supposed to be at our meeting on Friday, so I will be sure to clarify now that we're no longer talking in the abstract.

 

And thank you for the virtual hug.  I need it today.
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by SpottedFoxx View Post

If the Montessori school is in the same township/area as the preschool then he will simply do both and they are required to provide transportation.


We live in the Chicago suburbs, so there are a lot of heavily populated towns right next to each other.  We live in one school district, and Montessori is in a suburb two towns over.  It is for sure the same county... probably not the same township... definitely different public school district.   Again, according to the director of special ed in April, they only provide transportation within their school district boundaries.

 

I noticed in your siggy that you are doing a walk for Apraxia.... DS's current SLP is trying to determine whether he has Apraxia or a Severe Phonological Disorder.   I go back and forth in my opinion depending on how the wind blows.  innocent.gif  May I ask how your child was diagnosed?  Did he demonstrate any speech patterns that were "for sure" indicators??

 

Thanks for your hslp, mamas. 

 


Sleepy mama to Colin Theodore 8-12-08 and Trevor Arthur 7-17-12.

 

 

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#5 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 06:52 PM
 
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Legally, I just don't know.  I do know it's always best, with legal issues, to go to the source and read the law for yourself and push to enforce your best understanding of what the law means, EVEN if that's not the standard application of the law, that everyone else takes for granted.

 

Personally, when the new school year begins, my twin sons will be receiving services through a public school district we don't live in, because we chose to enroll them in a private school in that district.  

 

Inasmuch as IEPs stem from the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, I assume kids in one state don't have different entitlements than kids in another state.  So, it might be worth it to pursue receiving services at the school your son already attends, even if those services would be provided through that school district, not the one you live in.  Be prepared to make a strenuous argument that - especially in light of whatever your son's disabilities are - the consistency of remaining at his familiar school is in his best interest, in addition to that being the only option that's feasible for you and your husband's work schedules.

 

Good luck!


One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:  partners.gif  orfencing.gif... twin sons:lurk.giflurk.gif(HS juniors) ... step-son: guitar.gif (a freshman) ... our little man: kid.gif  (a kindergartener) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  ourdog2.gif. 
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#6 of 9 Old 08-04-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post

Inasmuch as IEPs stem from the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, I assume kids in one state don't have different entitlements than kids in another state. 


sadly, that's not the case. Different states interpret the laws differently.

 

Do you guys have insurance that would pay for private speech therapy?

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#7 of 9 Old 08-04-2011, 07:02 AM
 
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Belia, can you find a montesorri school in district to send your child to?  We had to change day cares in order for it to work for us - best thing we ever did :)

 

Our speech therapist suspected it and our developmental pediatrician confirmed it.  I believe it was a combination of low oral muscle tone and a severe articulation disorder.


Walking to raise money for Apraxia - feel free to join me if you are in the area or donate http://www.apraxia-kids.org/southjerseywalk/juliefoxx
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#8 of 9 Old 08-04-2011, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

Do you guys have insurance that would pay for private speech therapy?

 


Yes, but we've already burned through our (meager) benefits for this year.  Our state's EI program requires private insurance benefits to be exhausted before state money kicks in.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by SpottedFoxx View Post

Belia, can you find a montesorri school in district to send your child to?  We had to change day cares in order for it to work for us - best thing we ever did :)

 

Our speech therapist suspected it and our developmental pediatrician confirmed it.  I believe it was a combination of low oral muscle tone and a severe articulation disorder.



There is another Montessori school in our district, but its very new, very small, and, well, DIFFERENT.  redface.gif  DH is supposed to be calling them today to see if they even have any openings for next year.

 

In terms of your apraxia diagnosis, DS does not have any muscle tone issues.  Hmmmmm.


Sleepy mama to Colin Theodore 8-12-08 and Trevor Arthur 7-17-12.

 

 

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#9 of 9 Old 08-05-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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The IEP stems from IDEA Part B which falls under Department of Education.  EI falls under IDEA Part C.  ADA covers everything and the right to have access.

 

Each state has Parent Training Information (PTI) Center that are funded by Department of Education.  The goal of the PTIs is to provide information and support to parents and individuals with disabilities with regards to their rights related to education.  The PTI assigned to Chicago is Family Resource Center on Disabilities and their website is http://www.frcd.org/  The PTIs are great because they provide info about your rights, as well as host seminars.  Please contact them to get more guidance.  The may be able to provide you with information that will allow you to get the services needed for your child.

 

The state I live in has Prek ESE at the public schools that cover a full school day from 8:30am to 2:30pm.  All 3 of my children with IEPs gains significant progress during those 2 yrs of Pre-k ESE.  I wonder if the fact they are only providing a couple hrs a day is not sufficient for the school to meet the goals on his IEP. 

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