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Old 09-18-2014, 02:49 PM   #1
brookmey
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504 plan meeting--advice, tips?

Next week we have a meeting at school to discuss a 504 plan for my 5th grade daughter, who has ADHD. She has also been evaluated by a psychologist as gifted, so the assistant principal who leads the meeting is putting up some resistance to the need for a meeting. She feels that DD's giftedness "balances out" her ADHD.

So, can anyone offer any suggestions or advice for us regarding our preparation? We are still trying to find the right brand and dose of medication for DD, so she still struggles with impulsivity and paying attention. We were thinking of focusing on how the ADHD affects her behavior, particularly in math. She hates math and loses focus and interest very quickly, so her math grades are not what they could be.

We don't plan to ask for major modifications, just a few small ones that we know would make a huge difference for DD since we have implemented those changes at home. But, like I said, her asst. principal is not supportive of this meeting. I have learned from DD's psychologist that out of 22 elementary schools in our ISD that she has patients in, DD's elementary has a reputation for not approving 504 plans, even under the most obvious situations. The psychologist has given us some helpful advice for the meeting, but advice from parents who have gone through it is even better, especially since we have an uphill battle ahead of us.

One question I have that the asst. principal keeps skipping over, is why is the school nurse involved? She needs a complete medical history of DD since her diagnosis and according to the asst. principal, it's so the nurse can evaluate it and make her recommendations. But what I don't understand is why is the school nurse even involved? DD takes her meds at home, before school. What is there for the school nurse to evaluate and recommend that we're not already getting from the psychologist and pediatrician?

Thank you very much for any advice or suggestions!
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:16 PM   #2
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My best advice to you, having gone through a similar process with my DD (gifted and ADD), is to find out what your state's regulations are relating to special education - both for gifted and learning disabled. What do you need to show to get the 504 designation?

Here in PA, I had to pay for a very in depth (and expensive) private neuropsychological exam and bring a certified counselor for the gifted to my meeting to show that I was serious about getting my DD the education he deserved and was entitled to based on the state regs.

I think he is the only one in the school district to get a Gifted/Learning Disabled IEP. I feel like this only happened because they saw that I was seriously going to push the issue. That being said, I wouldn't expect too much from the school even if they approve your DD for the 504. From my experience it's just a paperwork game and that you will have to keep pushing for the accommodations she does need with every teacher/every year - whether she gets the plan or not. You really are your child's best advocate. Good luck!
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:06 PM   #3
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I have a DD that has a 504 plan. Some schools do not like to do them, however, your child has a right to the 504 just like a child has a right for an IEP. The asst. principal doesn't get to decide if this is what your child needs. You and your child's psychologist can decide for her. This is what you need to do since the asst. principal is not supportive. Get a letter from the psychologist stating she needs a 504 plan. In the letter have detail instructions of what you and your psychologist want. Your child's teachers should be at the meeting and they should be more than supportive to help your child succeed.

Even though your DD is doing very well; you don't know when that might change and she deserves to be protected. She deserves the support of the school to help prevent a problem and that is what a 504 plan will do for her.

Be a mama bear if you have to!!!

I had to fight for my DD 504 plan at one of her schools. Having the note front he doctor helped them see the light and they did the plan.
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brookmey View Post
Next week we have a meeting at school to discuss a 504 plan for my 5th grade daughter, who has ADHD. She has also been evaluated by a psychologist as gifted, so the assistant principal who leads the meeting is putting up some resistance to the need for a meeting. She feels that DD's giftedness "balances out" her ADHD.

So, can anyone offer any suggestions or advice for us regarding our preparation? We are still trying to find the right brand and dose of medication for DD, so she still struggles with impulsivity and paying attention. We were thinking of focusing on how the ADHD affects her behavior, particularly in math. She hates math and loses focus and interest very quickly, so her math grades are not what they could be.

We don't plan to ask for major modifications, just a few small ones that we know would make a huge difference for DD since we have implemented those changes at home. But, like I said, her asst. principal is not supportive of this meeting. I have learned from DD's psychologist that out of 22 elementary schools in our ISD that she has patients in, DD's elementary has a reputation for not approving 504 plans, even under the most obvious situations. The psychologist has given us some helpful advice for the meeting, but advice from parents who have gone through it is even better, especially since we have an uphill battle ahead of us.

One question I have that the asst. principal keeps skipping over, is why is the school nurse involved? She needs a complete medical history of DD since her diagnosis and according to the asst. principal, it's so the nurse can evaluate it and make her recommendations. But what I don't understand is why is the school nurse even involved? DD takes her meds at home, before school. What is there for the school nurse to evaluate and recommend that we're not already getting from the psychologist and pediatrician?

Thank you very much for any advice or suggestions!
The only advice I can give you is to stick to your guns. Know your rights and insist on them.

I would be asking your psychologist if she has a recommendation for an IEP/504 advocate to accompany you to the meeting. Local disability boards usually have advocates available for help.

Having an expert represent you often helps, especially when you say your school does not approve 504 plans.
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:09 PM   #5
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The nurse has no business being at the 504 meeting. She should have zero say!
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:17 PM   #6
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The nurse has no business being at the 504 meeting. She should have zero say!
I agree. And I certainly would not be providing the nurse a complete medical history. That is none of their business.

The only thing they need is the psychologist's report for the ADHD.
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:20 PM   #7
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Thank you for the replies.

Where do I find an advocate to take with us to the meeting?

I called the psychologist earlier today, but haven't heard back. I have read so much about 504 plans and who's covered under what circumstances and my head is about to explode. It sounds like the burden of proof is on us. DD has 4 great teachers this year and we have already met with each one individually. They have been supportive and helpful, so it really comes down to the principal's judgement. It seems like a pretty subjective thing, whether or not ADHD significantly impacts DD's learning. But we're not going to back down because we really believe DD would benefit from some small modifications in the classroom.
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:29 PM   #8
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I am a teacher, as my username states.

It is not uncommon to ask for medical history. The nurse is probably collecting information to have a complete view of your dd. He/she may have some useful suggestions, maybe not. But you can control what info you give out.

The assistant principal's assertion about things being "balanced out" is garbage.

I would suggest you go in witb a very clear list of the accomodations you want-- and stick to your guns. A 504 is helpful because it forces the staff to be aware of dd's needs. It will also go with you if you move someday. If the assistant principal puts up a fight, be willing to go over his/her head.

Is dd's teacher on board? They should be at the meeting too.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:36 PM   #9
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My daughter was diagnosed in 2nd grade and we had her 504 plan in place for the beginning of 3rd grade.

Some of the most important accommodation she had were:

Desk placement; she was placed in the front row (so there was nothing in front of her but the teacher, monitors and white boards; ie. no students in front of her to distract her)

Testing was in a separate location with twice as long to take it and the directions read back to her if she requests, as many times as she requests.

My advice is to you is to think in terms of the future as well...In our district having things added to the 504 plan was difficult. Like jumping through hoops while on fire difficult. So if you can have it put in now, this is a plan that will follow her through her school career.

Good luck.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:51 PM   #10
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I'm a speech pathologist. While IEPs are my primary domain, I've got a few kids on 504s too. I think the "complete medical history" is a bit excessive, but I can understand why the school nurse is involved as a 504 is based on medical diagnosis. It's (in my district) a formality to have the school nurse on the 504 team.

The big thing to remind them of is not what she is currently achieving, but what she would be achieving if the ADHD wasn't interfering. Part of teacher institute week this year was 504 training, and at least in the state of NH (but I assume all states because section 504 is a federal law), cases have been won by parents against districts that did not provide an appropriate education for students with ADHD who were high achieving, because it's entirely possible that with appropriate accommodations, the child could have achieved even higher.

In terms of accommodations, the big ones that I see for my ADHD kiddos:
Extended time for test completion
Priority seating
Opportunity for movement breaks
Frequent check-ins with the student to ensure that they've understood
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monarchsfan16 View Post
I'm a speech pathologist. While IEPs are my primary domain, I've got a few kids on 504s too. I think the "complete medical history" is a bit excessive, but I can understand why the school nurse is involved as a 504 is based on medical diagnosis. It's (in my district) a formality to have the school nurse on the 504 team.

The big thing to remind them of is not what she is currently achieving, but what she would be achieving if the ADHD wasn't interfering. Part of teacher institute week this year was 504 training, and at least in the state of NH (but I assume all states because section 504 is a federal law), cases have been won by parents against districts that did not provide an appropriate education for students with ADHD who were high achieving, because it's entirely possible that with appropriate accommodations, the child could have achieved even higher.

In terms of accommodations, the big ones that I see for my ADHD kiddos:
Extended time for test completion
Priority seating
Opportunity for movement breaks
Frequent check-ins with the student to ensure that they've understood
Added to the bolded above:
Separate testing location if needed
Breakdown of long term projects into smaller units
Extended time to turn in work--such as 2 days--depending on work
Use of a planner that is signed by teachers daily
Opportunity to listen to music with earbuds while working independently (if this will help her)
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:20 PM   #12
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The term is twice exceptional...and it's very common. Your principal is silly to think gifted and ADHD are mutually exclusive.
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by brookmey View Post
Thank you for the replies.

Where do I find an advocate to take with us to the meeting?

I called the psychologist earlier today, but haven't heard back. I have read so much about 504 plans and who's covered under what circumstances and my head is about to explode. It sounds like the burden of proof is on us. DD has 4 great teachers this year and we have already met with each one individually. They have been supportive and helpful, so it really comes down to the principal's judgement. It seems like a pretty subjective thing, whether or not ADHD significantly impacts DD's learning. But we're not going to back down because we really believe DD would benefit from some small modifications in the classroom.

we've had ds's doctor involved in the 504/iep plan meetings each year for the past couple-by phone. we've always made a request ahead of time for a draft of the school's 504 and iep plans which they've sent to us by email one to two weeks ahead of time so that we could share them with ds's therapist (psychologist) and discuss them ahead of the meeting. we go into the meeting with the drafts noted with issues we want to discuss-and ds's doctor has her copy with notes that she refers to when the entire 504/iep team (us included) meets with the doctor via conference call.


IT HAS NEVER come down to a principal's judgment in either our situation or those we/our therapists/doctors have encountered (in multiple states)-it comes down to the criteria individual states/school districts put in place (of course adhering to federal laws).
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Old 09-19-2014, 06:09 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by brookmey View Post
Thank you for the replies.

Where do I find an advocate to take with us to the meeting?

I called the psychologist earlier today, but haven't heard back. I have read so much about 504 plans and who's covered under what circumstances and my head is about to explode. It sounds like the burden of proof is on us. DD has 4 great teachers this year and we have already met with each one individually. They have been supportive and helpful, so it really comes down to the principal's judgement. It seems like a pretty subjective thing, whether or not ADHD significantly impacts DD's learning. But we're not going to back down because we really believe DD would benefit from some small modifications in the classroom.
You take away the burden of proof with a psychologist's letter. The school can not deny you a 504 plan with that letter.

In the state of Florida, I have to do the 504 every year. At first the school pushed back and didn't want to do one. They said my daughter is above average and doesn't need any help. I went and got the letter from her doctor and they did a 504 plan within a week.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:00 AM   #15
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The term is twice exceptional...and it's very common. Your principal is silly to think gifted and ADHD are mutually exclusive.
Ds16 is medicated for ADD, and tested into the GT program in the 3rd grade. He takes all honors/AP classes.
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