So DS1's annual meeting is this Friday. I am so dreading it. He is turning 4. We have a private dx of PDD-NOS that is from an excellent Children's Hospital that we traveled to several times for him, and I very much trust that is is correct. His IEP is written only for cognitive and speech delays. He receives one hour a week of group speech therapy, one hour a week of special ed, and one hour every other week of OT. They also pay for two days of his private preschool as there is no public preschools for children his age here.
Services here are severely lacking. It is very rural and they sort of do things their own way, regardless of laws. Quality professionals do not work for the school district, the couple of them that do exist here are in private practice. We do a lot of private therapy as well. I pressed last year to have his IEP amended to include PDD-NOS and was told that is a medical dx only, not an educational one. His goals for his speech delay have been meet, I am fully expecting to walk in there and be told that his services are getting cut. I provided them with copies of his evals from the hospital, never heard anything. I rarely get progress reports, the therapists frequently skip days or come during other times or change all together on me. Sometimes I get notified, often not. I've fought these people for years between DS1 and then my oldest child, I am not on their good side, and I don't care, I just want services but they definitely have a bone with me now.
I want PDD-NOS in his IEP. he doesn't just have a speech delay and it should address that. DS1 is doing well with communication, he has made great progress this year. Socially he is really lagging though. He does AMAZING in therapy type settings, does ok with adults, put him in a group of kids and he is sitting by himself playing with the same car. The therapists know I want this worked on and just now I'm (finally) getting progress reports about how much eye contact he made, how many times he talked to another child, etc... And the PK teacher is not on my side. We have a long history as well, she is very good with DS1, but we do not get along personally nor will she be the teacher next year either, that is currently a unknown. She insists that he is fine with other kids. I am in and out of the classroom constantly and I beg to differ. Nor does that match up with anything that he does outside of school either. Needless to say, I fully expect this will be a me against everyone else type of meeting.
I don't know what I'm looking for. Any suggestions or even hand holding would be welcome.
Oh, I wish I could come to your meeting with you, just so you wouldn't feel so alone!
You can request new evaluations be done. Check out www.wrightslaw.com to get the details on how much time they have to do the evals, etc. I don't know so much about the preschool requirements - for school age kids, the issue is how does the disability affect their academic progress. If he has met the speech goals, he still has the cognitive delays, no? They can't deny him services just because he met those goals. Perhaps they just need to set new goals.
It is true that a medical diagnosis is different than an educational one (I got that line too, and had to look it up). In a sense, it doesn't matter what the disability is - once a child qualifies for services, he can receive any services, not just specific to the diagnosis. Someone explained it to me as a corral with many gates - each gate represents a qualifying diagnostic label, and the corral contains all the services possible. You need to enter the corral through one of the gates, but once you are inside, it doesn't matter how you got in; all services are potentially available. My YoungSon entered via the speech delay gate, but mainly got services for dyslexia (although he also had ASD) and declined speech therapy in time.
I like to go into IEP meetings with a specific written list of accommodations I am requesting. Sometimes they seem so intent on filling out and going over their forms, that time runs out before they get around to the "What are we going to do about it?" stage.
You probably won't see this post until after your appointment Friday, as it is LATE Thursday night as I write this. I hope all went better than you expected. Please check back in to let us know the outcome of the meeting. If you are not satisfied with the results, there is an appeal process. I am sorry it feels so adversarial to you. It shouldn't oughta be that way.
Can you move to a bigger school district?
Show how educated you are, use big words, and drive the conversation towards what your child needs. Make good points. Don't let them drag their feet through the conversation burning up your time. They are required to have this meeting and will try to not get anything accomplished and decided during it. These educators are accustomed to uneducated parents, and will treat you like that. When you go to the meeting, have your own plan for your DS and make them adopt it. "He has ____ delay, and here is the plan he needs ______."
Hi Peony, I'm sorry I didn't see this until now. It is my understanding about the law that preschool age children are the one age grouping that you can qualify for speech and language purely to advance social skills such as "whole body listening" and "taking in words with your eyes". The qualifier is that services are provided to support a child's ability to access the curriculum like their typically developing peers, and, at 4, the learning need is developing peer and social relationships. I agree, I would make it a big issue at any meeting. I also hate the adversarial feeling that can come at these kind of meetings, and, my child is at a very well known, highly regarded school district where generally folks try to do the right thing for the children. Even then, resources are stretched to the bone, and educators treat these meetings like assembly line discussions....let's get through one to get to the next....
But, I try not to get hung up on whether the educators like me. Do they respect me, listen to me, and will they rise up to a level of care for my child that I feel he deserves. Yes, I am "one of those parents" too, one, where I make an issue of something until it get's addressed. Your child deserves that from you and what a wonderful mother you are to stand up for his rights and needs. If it were their child, these educators would do the same, believe me.
Remember, you don't have to sign any document you don't fully support. You can suggest add in's and rewrites yourself, and, many states provide special education advocates at low or no cost. You can even call in the town superintendent of schools if you want to go over anyone's head. Also, in my district, there have been many parents who have taken themselves out of the role of "bad cop" by bringing in the evaluating neuropychologist to discuss recommendations with the team and how to implement them and calling their suggestions "best practices". This costs money of course, but, it gives you the advantage of saying later, this is the recommendation of my son's psychologist. It gives what you say added weight.
PDD-NOS is not a medical label, as a matter of fact, it is a neurodevelopmental label that exists only in the DSM and has officially disappeared as it has been rewritten. Maybe the team is saying that the diagnosis was provided by a doctor and not a neuropsychologist. If that's the case, you may have to comply and do educational testing, as a neuropsychologist is the only discipline which is qualified to give an educational label. However, you can request that they provide the education testing or have them pay for it if they have no psychologist qualified to provide the testing required.
If your child is somewhere on the spectrum, it may be that he's met his speech and language goals but still have terrible trouble with social pragmatics. He would qualify for speech and language under developmental disability not speech and language disability so yes it does put you in a pickle right now.
If you come out of this meeting and hear this from them, then, another evaluation may be necessary from a psychologist....meanwhile, don't let them close his IEP....don't sign anything....and go through the process with them.
It is so incredibly difficult to go through this. When I meet the occassional member of my son's team who is a "real" human being who talks to me from the place of a mother, someone who relates to me or my child or someone who is kind hearted, I melt. I am not a tough cowboy. I'm just a mom who secretly cries over all this and absolutely HATES the inhumane process of it all. I hope you find good support around you soon.
Sigh. I never even mentioned PDD-NOS. Decided it just wasn't going to be worth the battle. He lost his OT but kept his speech and special ed. I got a couple goals in there about social skills and for next school year, his special ed sessions will be in the class room instead of pull out like they have been. They will continue to pay for two days a week of his preschool. This will work for the next year I guess. We will end up losing all services at age 5 anyway because I won't be transferring him to the over overcrowded, large public school that he is routed to,.
Parent Centers are federally funded to provide information and support to families of students with IEPs/ 504 Plans. You might consider finding the one located in your area. Depending on the center, they may even be able to attend IEP meetings depending on the issue. They usually have and encourage collaborative relationships with the school districts and parents.