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#1 of 11 Old 08-12-2014, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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special ed services interview

Hello all,
Has anyone started the process for special education services? I just got a letter in the mail prior to meeting with the child study team to determine whether they will evaluate him or not. When I spoke to the lady on the phone to set the time, she made it seem like a very informal kind of meeting, but the letter sounds very formal.

I asked if I needed to bring my son or husband, and she said that just his primary caregiver or whichever parent knew him best was fine... (the letter has a whole list of "may bring" people... i'm not sure if thats implying supposed to bring, or just can bring if i want)...the whole tone is just different and that could be because of laws/etc. that they have to follow??

Anyone have any advice for what to expect? What you wish you had done different/better?

thanks!!
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#2 of 11 Old 08-12-2014, 11:34 AM
 
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You might double post this on the special needs boards.

My DD is on the autism spectrum and had special services at school but our process was different because she already had a diagnosis before starting school. After she started college (yeah!) I got a job working with sp ed kids in a a school, and I'm now working on my sp ed teaching certificate.

The letter is written to make sure that you know your rights and know that you CAN bring other people if you chose. There are federal laws and a host of case law that govern the entire process. There have been issues in the past and parents rights are now clearly defined and the school is required to let you know what they are.

As a parent, I found it easiest to do the meetings with just me. In some families, mom and dad do the meetings together. The school I work at has a high Latino population, and some of them bring extended family. But for me, it was easiest for it to be just me (partly because my DH was in so much denial that it made it difficult to get anything done at the meetings).

You haven't said much about what has happened before this to get to this point, so it is hard to know what direction this is going. Part of the process is to do "pre-referral interventions." That means that they try making different accommodations in the classroom without going through the special education process to see if the issues the child is having can be dealt with in an easier way. I suspect that this meeting is to discuss what they've tried and how it has worked out.

A difficult thing about this process is that sometimes schools and parents doesn't see things the same way or agree on what is best for a child. Sometimes, parents see their child struggling and want them to get more help, but the school doesn't feel they qualify (BTW, if you feel that your child needs an eval, they HAVE TO evaluate). Sometimes, schools see children struggling and feel that they would be helped with a diagnosis and intervention, but the parents don't want the child labeled or to receive services. If either of these is the case for you, then I'm sorry (because both sides of that are rough), and I suggest you listen to what they have to say, ask questions, and think it over. One of your rights is to be part of the decision making process. You don't have to agree to anything at the meeting. If you do agree to an evaluation at the meeting, it just an evaluation. You aren't agreeing to any services. Just the evaluation.

Take something to write with in case you want to take notes.

If your son has other therapists, specialists, evals, etc., then you might organize that information into a binder and take it with you. If this is a whole new thing, you'll want to keep copies of everything.

I always found the meetings very emotional, and I cried. There was nothing shocking for me in them -- my DD's development was off from the time she was an infant. None the less, I found sitting around a conference table and talking about it rough. We were always lucky and had GREAT teachers, specialist, principal, etc. If I could go back and change one thing, I would give myself a greater sense of peace about the ways in which my DD is different from most people.

Here is a web site that does a nice job explaining the process:
http://www.understandingspecialeduca...P-process.html

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 11 Old 08-12-2014, 12:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crazytownmama View Post
Hello all,
Has anyone started the process for special education services? I just got a letter in the mail prior to meeting with the child study team to determine whether they will evaluate him or not. When I spoke to the lady on the phone to set the time, she made it seem like a very informal kind of meeting, but the letter sounds very formal.

I asked if I needed to bring my son or husband, and she said that just his primary caregiver or whichever parent knew him best was fine... (the letter has a whole list of "may bring" people... i'm not sure if thats implying supposed to bring, or just can bring if i want)...the whole tone is just different and that could be because of laws/etc. that they have to follow??

Anyone have any advice for what to expect? What you wish you had done different/better?

thanks!!

The meeting was both formal and informal for us. A lot of the formality has to do with legal stuff because they HAVE to document everything and make sure you know your rights, etc. Basically it comes with the mindset that if the school district is ever sued, they have the documentation to be able to legally defend themselves. That aside, the meeting was very casual.


What I wish I had done was asked for more specific items to be put on my son's learning plan. Granted the reason for the special ed meeting was to address a gifted plan of service but I wish it had been more specific. There were a lot of things that were verbal agreements in the meeting that didn't pan out. Had it been on the written IEP documentation, it would've been more legally binding and they probably would have pursued the implementation of it more.The good thing about IEP's is that they are evaluated yearly so I now know better.
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#4 of 11 Old 08-13-2014, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Up to now, we've homeschooled. He's been evaluated by a developmental behavioural pediatrician who has given him a diagnosis of high functioning autistic and she had a whole bunch of requests for him (speech therapy, social skills class, etc.) ... I can't see how they WOULDN'T want to evaluate him... but I want to go to the meeting prepared and not be blindsided by anything. In my mind, I go... show them the report from the dr (i already faxed it to them) and they say, oh yea... lets evaluate him. But I highly doubt its that easy
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#5 of 11 Old 08-13-2014, 09:53 PM
 
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Why wouldn't it be that easy?

They have the option of going with the ped's evaluation instead of doing their own.

If they are ready to start talking about his placement, kids with high functioning autism are usually in general education for most of the day, but often spend time in "resource," which is a small group of kids working with a special education teacher. The school should have a speech therapist. OT in schools focuses on handwriting skills. They may not have social skills classes, but you can ask what is available in other community resources.

Good luck with your meeting!!!!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 11 Old 08-15-2014, 08:06 PM
 
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Not for autism, but for a global reading delay it was that easy with my daughter. I'd gotten some independent testing done on my daughter. The testing ended up showing that she had a reading delay and that her achievement vs ability gap was sufficient to qualify her for special education. I sent the report to her teacher, who forwarded to the special ed. coordinator with my permission. It did take them a bit to decide if they wanted their own evaluation or to use the one I had. Then I met briefly, they outlined the pros and cons of doing the evaluation in the spring or fall. I signed the approval for testing form, then a few weeks later I met with a special ed coordinator to answer questions about things my daughter was and wasn't able to do at home, I was back a few weeks later to sign her IEP.

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
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#7 of 11 Old 08-18-2014, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We had the meeting today... the decision was to wait and see. I have reservations about it, but I understand where they are coming from. He's never been in a public school setting, so they are saying they have limited data and we should let it be for now and have a meeting after the end of the first marking period so anything that is just transition is past. They're going to have the guidance counselor reach out and keep a close eye on him, and they're going to reach out to the principal and encourage him to be placed in the mixed room (i forget what its called...half special ed/half regular ed, 2 teachers)... and they'll keep a close eye on him, whatever that means. I'm still not sure why they wouldn't just evaluate him based on the eval from the specialist, but... whatever. They had the results of his grade level testing (it was all way below grade and while I will slightly dismiss it since he did not perform on the test as well as he should have, but it will be about what I'd guess him to do at school...unless they trick him into showing what he knows...) sigh.
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#8 of 11 Old 08-18-2014, 06:18 PM
 
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Sounds like an inclusion classroom.

This is a really good option, may be the best option for kids with mild special needs. He is with gen ed kids and being exposed to the gen ed curriculum (which has been proved to have the best long term results for kids with special needs) and he has the support of a special education teacher all the time, and she might be able to trick him into showing what he knows.

Even if they had done the eval now, his placement would be the same, and realistically, he would be doing the same things with the same people.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#9 of 11 Old 08-19-2014, 08:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
Sounds like an inclusion classroom.

This is a really good option, may be the best option for kids with mild special needs. He is with gen ed kids and being exposed to the gen ed curriculum (which has been proved to have the best long term results for kids with special needs) and he has the support of a special education teacher all the time, and she might be able to trick him into showing what he knows.

Even if they had done the eval now, his placement would be the same, and realistically, he would be doing the same things with the same people.
I agree. It actually sounds like a good outcome.
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#10 of 11 Old 11-26-2014, 08:17 PM
 
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We just got a 504 in place last week. I was glad to come across your post. My son is 8 but has been struggling since Kindergarten. I am relieved to have some progress at this point. I cried at the meeting too, it is a hard thing to be vulnerable and go over all this in a room of professionals who you are afraid might be judging you or your child harshly. My ID or psyche cry out "He's a good child, please like him, he is precious to me. Please know that I have tried and done the best I could as a parent all these years. Please know that if he could do better he would. Please help and do not reject him or hate him because he is different and it inconveniences you."

Book lovin librarian nerd mama to Caleb 6/06 and Aiden 4/09: and 1 angel 11/07. "No one cries alone in my presence."
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#11 of 11 Old Today, 05:42 PM
 
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[QUOTE=heatherweh;18238994"He's a good child, please like him, he is precious to me. Please know that I have tried and done the best I could as a parent all these years. Please know that if he could do better he would. Please help and do not reject him or hate him because he is different and it inconveniences you."[/QUOTE]


There really are people who work in schools who "get it" and who want to work with kids like yours and help him be successful.

At a beginning of the year meeting I was at last school year for special ed. staff (including TAs) one the speakers said, "Remember that every child we work with is some one's heart. Some of the kids have really difficult behaviors, but those are often the times that are the toughest for parents, because this is their heart."

Part of the reason that the sp. ed. process is so long is because often, the schools are trying too, and they are trying to help in ways that don't require putting a label on the child.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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