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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We moved to a new town last month. I had been in the process of an IEP in our old town but it was never established. I called this school at the end of October and had a meeting at the school on November 10th in which we filled out some paperwork while the SPED director and another person- I think an SLP- took DD to a different room "just to see where she's at". Not a formal evaluation.

Since then:
-The director has accused us of being "homeless" because we are living with my family member, which is not true according to the letter of the law. She backed off on this after I pointed out that I had read the law and it doesn't apply to us.

-She keeps asking me for past evaluations. I have given her all of them. The last one was done in FEBRUARY of last year by EI. She keeps asking if I have other evaluations from doctors. NO! She then admitted they don't want to do a lot of "expensive" things on DD. But finally agreed they'd do an eval...she'd call me back. This was about two weeks ago, haven't heard since.

-She has not returned phone calls since then, and when I called today, was informed she's out all week! I asked if there's anyone to talk to about getting my DD's IEP in place while she's on vacation and got a snotty "She's not on "vacation" and no, she's the special ed director so there's no one else to talk to." WTF?

So basically, how do I figure out who is a good advocate when I don't know anyone around here and also, did the 90 days start when we had that first meeting with the school or not?
 

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Call the State Child Advocate, or the State Attorney general to get a number for child advocacy. I am not certain if your 90 day countdown has started, but I would want to establish that ASAP. Do you want to say what state you are in? Perhaps one of us lives there and can be more specifically helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
okay- I found one. Or at least, I found a resource for them and I have a meeting with one on Friday. I've read you should interview three but that sounds really exhausting! If I like this one, I'll just keep her. she has 25 years experience and already gave me some free advice- to write a letter to the school specifically stating I want an evaluation done on DD. she said to email it to her so she can go over it before I send it.


I feel better already. I was worried that getting an advocate might appear antagonistic which is why I put it off until now, but I'm done worrying about what they think, I just want DD to get the most she can out of school & services.
 

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My experience with the IEP process was fairly easy and I even considered getting an advocate just to sit through the process with me.

You're doing exactly what you should be doing and I think it's perfect to hire an advocate! Those that are the loudest may be unliked but their kids get what they need, KWIM?

 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
Those that are the loudest may be unliked but their kids get what they need, KWIM?
Sooooooooooooooooooooo true!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
speaking of not being antagonistic.

my mother, who we live with, without consulting me or my husband first, decided to call the Superintendent and complain about the sped director, threaten future litigation, etc. As if I wasn't already upset enough about that, whatever she said caused the superintendent enough that he felt it necessary to call the sped director *who is on leave for bereavement because her father died* and relay the conversation to her. She then called my mother very angrily and apparently my mother "calmed her down".

This is SO not the attitude I wanted to go in with and I am beyond angry at my mother for overstepping boundaries in this fashion. I'm not even sure why school thinks it appropriate to discuss my child with her. It's not like she's a legal guardian. Could my great aunt call and discuss details of my child's education with anyone she wants? I'm just disturbed all around and cannot imagine the advocate will be happy.

Not to mention, yesterday I recieved a consent form in the mail for an evaluation in ALL areas. (The advocate asked me to hold on to it until our meeting on Friday.) So the school technically right now isn't doing anything wrong, they've just been slow and I wanted an advocate for MYSELF anyways so I feel like I know what I'm doing.
 

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Yikes! I'm sorry your mom did that. You can understand the emotions behind her actions but you are probably going to want to clear that up with the school that a) you had nothing to do with her calling and would not have allowed her to do so if she had talked to you about it, and b) that you want to clarify that the school is not discussing your DD's education with anyone but you, your husband, and other people you have given the school permission to talk to.

The school should have said something like "I'm sorry but we are not allowed to discuss DD's education with anyone but her parents, teachers, and other team members."
 

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I feel for you, we have had some horrid experiences. Buy a copy of From Emotions to Advocacy from Amazon. It is SOOOOOOOO helpful. It is also really good to get the book about the current laws (sorry can't remember the title, but it will turn up too, by the same group.)

My pediatrician actually called and chewed out our school district for us because they were soooooooooo slow calling us back, etc. Your advocate should make a HUGE difference. They now know that a 3rd, knowlegable party, is going to witness their garbage and hold them accountable.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cdahlgrd View Post
I feel for you, we have had some horrid experiences. Buy a copy of From Emotions to Advocacy from Amazon. It is SOOOOOOOO helpful. It is also really good to get the book about the current laws (sorry can't remember the title, but it will turn up too, by the same group.)
We have this book and it is a great resource. I have also been referring to Special Education Law from Wrightslaw and the IDEA website often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks everyone for the support & advice!!!

We met with the advocate and her associate today. I feel very good & confident about them. She knew the laws inside and out and provided a huge list of references. We really clicked and she has already drafted a letter to the school from us, I'll post it here when I have it all typed up. I wish I had done this a long time ago. I've already made some mistakes, and I can only imagine how naive I would continue to be going into this process.

It's a sad world that we need advocates, but I'm really glad they do exist.
 
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