help me strategize, please
I am not 100% sure this is appropriate to ask but I will ask anyway.
If not appropriate, please accept my apologies in advance.
We have a meeting with the school district tomorrow to discuss the Autitsm diagnosis that DS got. At this point, the school district has not provided an IEP snce their assessment has scored DS above the state levels for requirement for services. The diagnosis we got is from a local reputed children's hospital and the assessment and diagnosis occured after the school district said that they are unable to provide services.
(While the school district said so, they have provided what is called diagnostic services for a period of about 3 months so, DS goes to their speech classroom for 3 days a week for observation)
With the daignosis, we are looking for the following:
- services for ABA, speech, social groups and OT (based on our experience/research and the recommendation in the report from the hospital) a total of a min of 25 hours in line with the recommendation (which I think is the general recommendation too)
- we want these services to begin immediately
- we want these services to be extended through summer (also recommeded by the hospital)
So, at tomorrow's meeting we will express these and are thinking that the following are the possible outcomes:
#1 SD agrees that DS requires an IEP based on the new information and they schedule an IEP immediately
#2 They would want an independent evaluation (they pay) to be done (not sure if this is realistic)
#3 They disagree that their assessment missed it and while not disagreeing with the diagnosis, they don't think he needs support for education (which is what their role is)
this is the best case scenario from the above 3. The only catch is that they may set the IEP meeting for a date just before school year ends and may end up not providing support through summer. The hospital report, however, recommends support through summer.
I don't think, thinking again, this is a possibility. however, #3 might result in us asking for an independent eval.
somehow, I feel this is most likely scenario it seems like the only productive thing that can be done now is to say that we want an independent assessment. here again, we are afraid that they will take too long for it and we won't get done before summer starts and things will get carried over to next year which means that we lose a lot of time (we already have). DH and I are thinking that although we signed the non-IEP, we will still point out elements in their assessment that point to autism (likely also in the hospital's report) and argue how they can hamper a child's progress in a school setting. they may bring up scores at that point, to which I am not sure what to say.
Anyways, I have tried to summarize this. It's complex and long and I understand if I don't have any responses, but I feel I have at least jotted down my thoughts....
thanks for reading.
I am very far from an expert, but I think it is unlikely they will suggest an independent evaluation. Those are usually sought by parents when they disagree with the school's evaluation and you have essentially already gotten one, albeit one you paid for. (It seems possible to me that you might be able to recover that cost from the district if your insurance didn't cover it, but I don't know enough about your situation to say. You could try to research this on the Wrightslaw website.)
I am not sure what effect your signing the previous document has. Typically if a school refuses to find a child eligible for special education, the parent route is to file for an administrative hearing, ie due process. Parents sometimes pay out of pocket for services while waiting for the hearing results and if they win, they can recover their costs and often can continue to use the private provider at the district's cost. That is tricky to pull off and requires a notice from the parents to the district of their intent to do this. I would want to consult an attorney before going down that road.
There is a provision in the statute that districts only have to evaluate if it has been a year since the last evaluation. My concern is that if the school's previous evaluation is concluded and you all signed something agreeing that your child did not qualify for special education services, the school district may say they don't have to do anything until the year is up and you request a new evaluation. I'm just not clear on what you signed and the three months of diagnostic services is something I have never heard of so I'm not sure if the original district evaluation is ongoing or what? They have a limited time period under the statute to do evaluations and three months execeeds that.
On a minor note, summer services are often referred to as extended year services.
If I were you, I would try to familiarize myself with these issues on Wrightslaw.
Thank you, Catherine.
something I am thinking too is that this eval we have would be considered as the independent eval. we heard back from the team today and said that this would be an IEP meeting. We are sort of hopeful now but again, the last time we had the IEP meeting, there ended up being no IEP. DH and I were thinking of taping the meeting, but turns out now we don't have enough time unless they reschedule, and again in the interest of time, we don't want to reschedule it.
I know that you asked in my previous thread too about the 3 month long eval. Well, when we had the meeting a couple of months ago, they went over their assessment and told us in the end that DS does not qualify for services and hence there would be no IEP. However, they didn't want him to be the case that falls through the cracks and so have offered diagnostic services, as they call it, and that means that DS attends their speech classroom for 5 days a week (sorry, not 3 but 5), does not work on any goals, but the SLP will observe him on a daily basis and will write down observation notes. This is what they said would continue for 3 months (or beginning to the end of school year). I am not aware of the limited period for assessments, but I am not sure this even comes under that category. Something I will do a bit research on to figure out - thanks for that piece of info.
It seems like if this meeting does not result in goals then we would have to go the route of due process. Thanks for this too, we will consult an expert.
Also, thanks for the correct terminology. Still going over Wright's law...
Couldn't read and not post. I am far from an expert (my DS is 4 and only got his ASD diagnosis at 3 1/2), but I think it sounds like your school district is remarkable already in that they gave him "free" 5 day prek without a diagnosis of a disability. Now that you have your own medical diagnosis, they may be relieved that they can get $ for him from the state for his disability and cover the costs of services you were already receiving. The IEP meeting may be less stressful than you expect.
Have you seen rooms in the school that offer 25 hours/week of ABA services? If they even have them, I would expect they are already filled with students on the lower functioning ends. Generally state laws don't require that much intervention at the preK level, and many public schools only do the minimum to meet the law. I would prepare yourself to get offered fewer hours of services than you are asking, even though 25+ is what has been the recommendation of medical experts.
I've seen kids in my son's school though that are HFA advance very quickly on fewer hours/week under the guidance of excellent teachers. I would look more at staff/student ratios and what activities they do over the quantity of hours received. My DS gets 20 hours/week in a self-contained communication room but due to staff reductions they crammed 12+ ASD kids in his room, and that made those hours often stressful, noisy and unproductive for him.
Thanks for the thoughts. But it is NOT right that a child with autism is not given the services he needs. Period.
Turns out that it was an IEP meeting. DH and I went somewhat prepped but clearly they're pros at this! Gist is that they are converting his 5 hours of diagnostic services into an IEP with goals that came out of their observation. They basically disregarded the hospital's diagnosis and report by saying that they found the same things and that that does not change his status but since they found some concerning things during their observation time in the last few weeks and that's what they are basing this on. DH and I started to speak about providing ABA, but we ran out of time and we have a follow up meeting yet to be scheduled. Unfortunately they also spent a lot of time telling us how to deal with DS' behaviors when the only reason we spoke about them was to tell them again that this is happening. We are still figuring out that these are typical tactics by school districts but are unable to figure out how to get around them. The law seems to clearly state that spl. ed needs to be provided to kids onthe spectrum, and they are unwilling to put us in that category. Not sure what to do at this point.
Well, it sounds like they are finding him eligible for special education? It doesn't really matter what category he is eligible under as the IEP has to be individual anyway. So whatever services he needs are what they need to provide regardless of the category. Do you know yet what services they are planning to offer?
Oh, and I have never known anyone who got ABA out of a district. I'm sure they are out there and I'm not saying you shouldn't get that or that you shouldn't try. Just saying that's been my observation.
Bullkin, there are bulletin boards for parents in situations just like yours, and there are lawyers who will work with parents just like you.
Do not sign anything new from the school district and get in touch with an advocate agency to help you sort through this. I don't know where you are, but here is an example of one in Ohio: http://www.ohioautismadvocate.com/
My DB has been fighting with his school district concerning some care for my nephew, and got the name of a local lawyer from his online group. After meeting with her, he was very glad he had found someone who knows how to cope with the school district. While getting an attorney isn't a step you always want to take, no school district wants a lawsuit, so sometimes that's the best way to work with them.
I will try to find out what board he is on; it may be one for his local area, but he might know of one that would be beneficial for you.