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warning:vent! Horrified by school!


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What can I say? I am horrified by how my school is handling all our situation. I continue to get emails from our teacher telling me that DS needs many, many reminders to accomplish even simple tasks such as hanging up his coat or opening up his binder. He is a very bright child, but is not able to pull himself together enough to access the program. Thankfully he doesnt have melt down or panic attacks in school, but he is unable to sit in his seat, follow simple directions, or follow along with the class independently. I have requested an IEP eval, and that is underway, they have until Feb 5 to get the testing done and meet with me. But in the meantime, I have requested an aide be placed in his classroom right away, until the formal plan is set. I do not want him to loose another 2-3 months of instruction in the meantime. Obviously, his teacher is begging for help!

 

I have gotten ignored and put off since the beginning. They did agree to do the testing, but as far as my request, the school psychologist told sent me an email on Nov 21 that our request was being forwarded to the principal, who was copied on the email. He had just been placed in different math class that has 1 teacher per 4 students (the results have been instant and huge, which proves thats all he needs is more help) and that there is an aide in his ELA block.

 

I have been waiting since Nov 21 to hear back from our new Principal who seems to be clueless and doesnt even answer emails. She finally responds on December 5, after a very strong message asking what the answer was, and says, "Oh, Im sorry, I thought Mrs. XXX already told you that there is already an aide in his class during all other times of the day other than math class." Are you kidding? Did she not even READ the messages? I told her, no, I heard there is an aide in ELA only. Are you saying there is already a full time aide in his classroom? She states she will have to check with the teacher on Monday, but she reread my previous email and saw that I was looking for more help in all places such as lunch and gym. She went on to say how inappropriate that would be and wondered what our therapist would have to say about that and how it might affect his independence. (No, I think we should just keep on punishing him for standing while he eats his lunch and getting yelled at for asking too many questions in gym!!)

 

So I here I am, waiting to hear a legitimate response to how they are going to care for my child until testing is complete, and the principal just drops the ball completely and changes the subject after giving me completely false and judgmental information. I responded by saying that at this point, I feel this should be discussed in person with our doctor. I didnt even mention that the aide in ELA is the one who is writing nasty comments in my sons writing journal. Our therapist specifically called to discuss a positive feedback system for ALL assignments. The 504 states ALL staff that come into contact with him will be aware and follow this plan. NONE of this has happened!)

 

I am outraged!! I thought we lived in such a wonderful town with the most supportive and fabulous school. I am beside myself and dont know what my next move is going to be. I havent even asked how much our psychiatrist is charging for these meetings, but at this point I dont even care. I need help!!!! I am beyond outraged.

 

Sorry for the rant, but somehow I knew you guys would understand.

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I always feel so torn when I read posts that rip special education. I'm not sure who exactly is meant by "the county" but I can tell you there is local and federal pressure placed on districts if the

I see my comment about "the county" came off flip--- not my intention!   Depending on where you live the structure of the school system can look very different. Some are set up by counties and the

The connection is that if the typical pediatrician was as apt to diagnose and treat pandas as they are to say, push vaccines, my dd would have never skipped a beat! It is the medical community's fail

Chemar, We have 504 and it has done nothing. I was told at my teacher conference that the 504 isnt coming close to cutting it and he needs services. You are talking about a child that is not functioning in the classroom. We are way beyond accommodations at this point. Accommodation are things like additional time to complete projects, preferential seating, hand gestures, ect. He now needs smaller group instruction and constant attention from an adult. His report card said he is able to complete classroom assignments with direct one on one supervision from an adult. It takes the teacher 30 minutes to pack him up at the end of the day. They did have the chance to make the 504 work, but they blew it and now he is way behind in his studies.

 

I have looked at that link many times. They are some great 504 accommodations, but again, do not begin to allow this kid to access the program.

 

On top of everything else, his behaviors are now causing social problems that are creating a whole new host of misery. He feels he is loosing all his friends, everyone thinks he's annoying, and people are spreading nasty untrue rumors about him. Teachers are picking on him for all of the things they are supposed to be accommodating, hence the 504 is useless. Example, he was made to sit in time out in gym because he was chewing on his hands. Another time he was held in for recess (against his accommodations) because he was unable to finish his classwork. He never completes more than a line or two of his classwork, which is another reason he needs more help.

 

Im not looking for a one on one aide. Im looking for a full time aide that follows the class through all areas of the school that knows his plan and unique issues and can assist him in work as well as help him process and deal with the new social situations he is finding himself in. At this point, I feel his civil rights as defined in section 504 of the Americans with disabilities act have been violated.

 

Can you tell how upsetting this is to him, and to us?

 

Has anyone else had this type of experience?

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I am so sorry for what you are going thru. I don't know why some schools are so difficult in addressing the needs of our kids. As parents we are going thru so much and need support and guidance not more hoops to jump thru. It's probably funding.

 

I suggest a professional child advocate who knows the legal system. They know what is within your rights and what is best for your child. I think the cost would be worth their weight in gold.

 

I spent hours studying dyslexia for my other son to get him help. I cross referenced all his teacher comments from k-4 with obvious reading flags. Brought in independent testing since they were lacking. My husband and I went into the meeting with the purpose of him getting help and specialized Dyslexia tutoring. All we succeeded was them agreeing he had dyslexia and a 504 with minimal accommodations. The paperwork we signed had denied crossed out and approved written in. They had made up their minds before the meeting!

 

We got him amazing help with an "evidenced based " program and testing for Irlen tinted glasses. Our tutoring was at the time $75/hour for 18 months. Later talking with an advocate all of that legally should of been paid for plus additional accommodations we didn't even know about. I too loved our school and thought an advocate would of looked pushy. In hindsight for me it would of been so much better to leave it to the experts. Good Luck

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It's time to hire an advocate to take on your school. Sadly, some schools will drag their feet until you get one. Advocates know the laws and the time lines and they know how schools operate. They will have experience with your school district. I'm a teacher of 20 years. I'd never take on my school district without one. I am not equipped to do so and neither is the average parent.

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i agree with the posts that you need an advocate. I also think you need to be working at the county level. it sounds to me a perfect time to e-mail back the principal and ask for e-mails and phones for the county director of 504 plans and the county director of special ed. you can word it very pleasantly that you are looking for help. you can find these people on your own and contact them - but if you ask the principal, you are letting her know that you are doing it so it doesn't seem it is behind her back - if you are concerned about that - or just do it on your own.

 

in our experience -- which differs in specifics - but is along the lines of yours - for some bizarre reason, our individual school seems to be hesitant to involve the county people. I think they are afraid it shows badly on them that they can't handle things - there are times that they may need help and for us, they did. the principal did say to me, "to be honest, I've called the county behavioral help" - she said it as a negative, that now we were really in trouble --(I do think this was her thought) -- when my advocate heard the story, she was like, "where the &*&* were they are day 2 when he was physically refusing to go into the building". the county behavioral person is so nice, on the ball, aware of innovative techniques, aware of the realities of children and troublesome issues and aware of good strategies to help kids. the county spec ed help that came to observe my son - way too late - was horrified. she tried to conceal her dismay - but it was apparent.

 

the school thought they knew what was up -- the had erroneous assumptions that ds was just a poorly behaved brat and I was wacked, so why would they think they would spend any resources. the county people are much more aware - in general about special needs and about legal issues.

 

even with that, we did have an outside advocate that really made a difference. I think it would have been much more of a fight without him. so - I think you need to include the person you are thinking of using. and I think the people at the county level need to be involved. and, I think it's better if you contact them, than the school. you're not looking to put the school on the defensive, but they clearly do not have the right perspective on this.

 

good luck.

Edited by smartyjones
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also -- please be aware of exactly what testing the school is planning on doing and by whom. it sounds like you are likely to have the school psych do something and it sounds like he already has preconceived notions that I would be very skeptical about.

 

I think you need to just cut the cord with trying to get what you are looking for from the school. they are showing signs that they just don't get it. i'd suggest not continuing to bang your head against the wall and branch out to where you can get some practical help.

 

 

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I agree you need an advocate...if your child already has a 504, then the school is not correctly implementing it....which btw they are legally bound to do!! It sounds to me like they either don't have a clue, or are trying to dodge their responsibility.

 

An advocate will help you get what your child is legally entitled to at school.

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You are right on. They don't have a clue AND and trying to dodge their responsibilities. There were many things spoken at the 504 that would have been helpful that assumed would have been carried through but never made it in the plan.

Now they have to do an entire eval and give him services when this all could have been handled. So frustrating!

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So many great comments here I'm overwhelmed. I've already brought out psychiatrist is to it although the teacher hasn't returned any if her calls yet. She has been an advocate in schools but is not purely an advocate. I was thinking if having her handle it now and if things don't go well I can bring an advocate in after I refuse the plan if its insufficient.

 

I know i need to call in the head if student services from the district. I honestly don't care what they think of me at all. I have 4 kids in this system and I intend to make some noise. It all stems from the psychologist. She does not have the kids interest at heart. It makes me sick.

 

They asked if they could only do the executive functioning part of the test but I said no I want all the testing. The dr is also going to order functional behavioral assessment. I may have to bring in my own observer as well.

 

What a mess. Not what I needed to be fighting right now. As if 2 kids with pandas isn't enough

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I know it is overwhelming and a qualified Advocate will handle district calls, check on appropriate testing and hold your hand. They are there to get what is best for your child.

 

When our school did testing for dyslexia they told me he was fine and tested average with no need for intervention. Later with independent multiple testing I found out he excelled in some areas and failed horribly in others showing deficits. Yes if you average this together he is average but it was not an accurate assessment.

 

If you decide to do testing without an advocate get copies of all results and have someone knowledgable clarify results. I know parents in schools that look at all angles but from what you have mentioned I would be on your guard.

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A functional behavior assessment will only determine the function of a behavior. For example escape, avoidance, to get something. PANDAS is not a "recognized" disability as it is not in the DSM IV and is not in medical books with an approved treatment plan.

 

If the school is performing an FBA it is to find a reason to qualify/determine elgibility for special education.

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I always feel so torn when I read posts that rip special education. I'm not sure who exactly is meant by "the county" but I can tell you there is local and federal pressure placed on districts if the number/% of students identified with disabilities and IEPs/504 plans is deemed too high; like sanctions and action plans pressure. Not to mention the financial pressure on every level. Getting an aide for a student is hiring a person just for them and it is not something that will come quick or easy.

 

The only reason it is helpful to take your pleas to special education administration is because those are the very people imposing the pressure they get from on high down on the building-level people conducting the evaluations and determining what resources are appropriate. So by making your name and child's situation known to those special ed supervisors and directors, you take the pressure off the psychologist who is the frontline gatekeeper. I will also mention respectfully, falling 2-3 months behind is not what special education is for. The rule of thumb is two years below grade level is eligibility criteria for specially designed instruction.

 

Most districts are also under enormous financial pressure. They don't just have a team of aides hanging around waiting to assign when a student is having trouble. Having a 1:1 aide for a student is very difficult to obtain and is considered very restrictive. You would likely have more luck and control getting a TSS 1:1 for your child through Medicaid. If your child is deemed needy enough, they might also give you TSS hours outside of school. Mind you, none of these aides are academic aides. They are there to redirect the child to stay on task, more executive functioning help than cognitive.

 

I read about parents who are hurt and shocked all too frequently with regards to getting help for their children. You have to do what is in your child's best interest. I'm on both sides of this situation. I'm part of the IEP evaluation team and delivery speech/Lang services. I also have a daughter who when she was sick with pandas, got very little out of school because her executive functioning was so impaired. 2nd through 5th grade, she went to school during the day while I went to work with children with disabilities. Then we came home late afternoon and I basically homeschooled her utilizing whatever work she didn't complete that day plus her homework. It was the only way I could be sure she was learning. It was completely exhausting. We utilized summers to make up ground as well. From my point of view, I was keeping her afloat until I could get her well which took until the end of 6th grade. My daughter did get some resource help at school, but it was nothing compared to what we did at home. Special education is generally considered for students who are two years below grade level. I did everything I could to keep that from happening, not because of stigma, but because that's a lot of ground to make up and it only gets harder and harder.

 

My daughter is now an 8th grader. She receives no accommodations. Last year, she took double math so she could be in Algebra. She loves the STEM subjects. Writing organization and mechanics, grammar and editing are still challenging, but improving. I know this is so hard! Fight for your child, work with the school and do what you can at home.

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Well all I can say is my son recieved excellent special ed services under his 504 in 2 different counties from K4 all the way till he finished school.

 

They provided all of the accommodations he needed starting with the early dx of ADD/COPD/SID, then advanced it all when the TS dx came and again when the Chron's dx was added some years later.

They took heed of all the doctor's letters I had, plus the evaluation I provided from a special ed psych that we had privately hired.

 

I had regular meetings with all his teachers, and the school nurse plus head of special ed were always present, and they went out of their way to ensure that all of the teachers were following the accommodations to the letter.

 

My son was a straight A student, but could well have lagged far behind were it not for all the invaluable help and accommodations he received.

 

When the Chron's got so bad that he had a lot of absences...they helped him get on the home/hospital plan which co-ordinated with the State online school. I cannot sing their praises enough and again, this was spread over elementary, middle and high in 2 counties as we had a home move during that time.

 

Yet, I have heard so many nightmare stories from many parents in different school districts around the country!

 

So my question Jag is....if it can be done in my area....why not in others?

 

I have the greatest respect for special ed systems as they do provide invaluable services.

But it has become clear to me over the years that some of them either do not know what they are supposed to do....or actively try to avoid doing it! The latter, frequently to the great detriment of their students!! The former at least are willing to try once an advocate or other informed party presents them with what is required.

 

ok I guess that is more than my 2c worth

Edited by chemar
typos
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