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debra1968

IEP

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My son will be a freshman this next school year. We found out he has an LD in reading, the summer before he entered 6th grade. To the best of my knowledge, he does not understand phonics, and he tests about 4 grades ahead in math, but about 4 grades below in reading-writing skills. He is also behind a bit in speech yet, but has had all the speech therapy that the school can provide. (He has also had speech therapy outside of the school system.)

 

We live in Indiana, and I have not been impressed with how the education system has handled my son's education plan, (IEP). Any pointers or advice would be appreciated. I feel so new at all of this, and I know he is about to enter HS where there is no room for us to make mistakes with his education. I have a few issues to cover & will be happy to answer any questions you may need to ask in helping us. Thanks in advance! Please bear with me, I will keep it as brief as possible. :)

 

We have just had an IEP meeting & I'm awaiting the copy from the school, but I do know the Special Ed. teacher has not set any real goals into his IEP. There is no, "He reads-writes at this level & our goal is to get him that that level by the end of the year", written into his IEP. The goals instead are more like, "He must raise his hand & volunteer in class occasionally." My 1st question would be, is this normal, or should he have better goals?

 

He has a Resource class each day, but they do not work on any individual skills per say, instead, if he has trouble with homework, they will work with him like a tutor would. So he is not getting any skill building lessons during the resource time. Resource is also avaliable to him during any other time of day he needs it, as long as they are open that period. They do modify his testing a little, mostly by reading them to him. They do not curve his grades, and he is in regular classes for all of his other classes, including those that involve reading-writing.

 

We did request that he have to keep a journal in resource & write in it each day to improve his skills, but the special ed. teacher seemed a bit confused as to what he should write & what she should do with it...that was really discouraging for us. :( We had to explain that it didn't matter what he wrote as much as it did that they worked on sentence structuring skills. My next question is, shouldn't this be the stuff they work with him on during resource time?

 

Each IEP meeting they come with no pre written goals, depend on us to suggest most of what goes into the IEP, or just accept what they want to add. Then at the end of the meeting, they shove this hand written IEP at me & have me sign it. I feel like I should not sign it, until it is typed & I can scan it for errors. Is this something I can say no to, until it is typed up?

 

The last thing is, it’s in his IEP that I get a copy of his school books. I thought it was federal law, that I receive them at no charge, since it’s in the IEP. The school insists that federal law doesn't matter, because it is their policy that all books are paid for in full, at what ever their regular book rental price is. They told us that they would only add that into the current IEP, if I understood their school policy on that issue. (Btw, we are happy to pay regular book rental for his copy of the books, it's my copy for at home that I am speaking of.) I'm pretty sure I know Federal Law should be higher & over rule their school policy. Am I correct in thinking this?

 

This is basically the kind of thing I have dealt with since all this started in 6th grade. I have learned as much as I can, to help him here at home, and get him a tutor each summer, but I feel the schools part in this is lacking. I would like to give my child every edge possible, before he becomes an adult.

 

Thanks again, Deb

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Deb--this may be too late. But I would see if your school system has a parent advocate--either a volunteer or staff member, or someone you can hire. Some of these questions are specific to your situation, meaning the school, and difficult for others to answer. Usually the goals are very action specific--like raise his hand more, specifics on writing. I would pursue the writing aspect you mentioned.

 

Some school districts never type up IEPs. That's another thing I meant about specific to your case.

 

You can say no, that you want to wait and review it. Actually school staff often wants to come to the meeting with goals written out and there is a law against it because then the parent feels pushed into it and not a partner in the process. It's frustrating for everyone, but two sides to the issue. It makes the meetings longer and more stressful to keep up with the writing, from the school side. What you have described is very typical. Not that it is the best plan. Some try to get around the contstraints by filling out an IEP and sticking a note on it that says "draft" before meeting with the parent.

 

Can't anwswer about the books, sorry. But I would find an advocate.

 

You can also request to redo the IEP in the fall if you have already completed everything. You don't have to wait a year as I understand it.

 

Good luck. Let us know how you make out. Janey

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Thanks so much for replying Janey.

 

I am considering an advocate for next year. I had one once before, we only meet once, then she had to cancel showing up for the IEP that year, at the last minute and they didn't have anyone to replace her. I might have more luck if I try again for next year. His aunt helps a lot, but she lives in MN, so that makes it hard.

 

I know this is a hard thing from both ends, the parents and the schools. Their budgets are short & we parents of course want what’s best for our children. I have done more research & feel a little less frustrated, but I have to make sure he gets the best education he can.

 

For this summer I have him working with a tutor, we do this every summer, to help him keep an edge. :D

 

Thanks again, Deb

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HI Debra,

 

This doesn't have anything to do with your school qu, but I noticed that you wrote your son was four years ahead in maths and quite behind in reading/writing.

 

I have just finished reading a book by Sue Dengate called Fed Up, she helped her children go from way below average to above average in most subjects. One of her kids had a similar senario as you have described above.

By changing their diet by trial and error over 9yrs, she finally found a solution and has now written about it. I rekon this will save me about 7yrs of heartache.

 

The diet is not easy, but it depends on how far you want to go. I think you can get the book off Amazon.com. Otherwise she has a website www.ozemail.com.au/~sdengate.

 

goodluck

Ausclare

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Thanks so much Ausclare for the response, and the link. I've heard of this helping before & knew to avoid too much caffeine for him. She seems to have quite a bit of helpful information on her site about diet, from what I've had time to look over. I will do anything I can to help him, so I really do appreciate your input & the link. :)

 

Incase anyone else needs it, her site has moved to this link now. http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/

 

Thanks, Deb

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The psychologist who diagnosed both my son (6) and myself suggested we talk to his school about establishing an IEP at the beginning of the school year…he especially encouraged this since we are choosing, at this time, to not medicate.

 

We haven’t started the process yet as I plan to ask about at at registration in a couple weeks. But I’ve done a lot of reading online about the subject and I’ve seen examples and actual IEPs that have been set up for children with ADHD and I’m torn.

 

I wasn’t diagnosed until, well, now. I lean toward inattentive (straight ADD) and not hyperactive like my son. Despite spending most of my school years in a dream-like state I did well, thank Heaven for being naturally smart (which my son also is…according to the IQ testing we’ve both endured).

 

So my issue with the IEP is actually two fold. The first is, “I survived without any special program or plan in place” and even looking back now I don’t know that I needed anything different until college when 3 hour lectures were pure ###### (aren’t they for everyone though?). I don’t want come across as one of those parents who tells the “walking up hill, both ways, in snow knee deep” type of story but that is a bit how I feel…I did it, so can he. BUT, my logical side argues that he is much more hyperactive than I was so perhaps that makes all the difference…I don’t know. Some insight from the ADHD side on that may be helpful.

 

The other issue is from the perspective of his follow first graders. We’re talking about a bunch of 6 and 7 year olds here…not the least judgmental or most understanding group of kids. I imagine things sounding like this: “Why does he get extra time for his test?” “Why does he get to go outside for recess even though he was in trouble too?” “Why does he get to stand up and stretch in the middle of the day?” My poor kid is pretty socially awkward as it is and I don’t see how his classmates thinking those things about him will help him make friends…nor does it seem fair to them.

 

Am I the only one who has these thoughts about the accommodations that are available at school? I know that an IEP would make things easier for him and they say it levels the playing field..I get that. UGH!

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Hi Ruel18-- I worked as a psychologist in the schools for many years and I would encourage you to take advantage of the IEP process. You can always opt out later.

 

Even though you made it through without help, the demands on young students are so much greater these days. Of course it depends on the school and the teacher as to how these things are handled. Typically there are a handful of kids going in and out of the classroom for special services, or having someone come in to help certain kids so that those with an IEP are not necessarily singled out. I would suggest giving it a try and seeing how things go. And express your concerns to the staff.

 

Hope you will let us know what you decide and how things work out. Good luck! Sheila

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