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Old 03-21-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
irishsharon
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IEP Help, Advice Needed!!!!

So my son's meeting will be in a few weeks and I need to come with a strong plan.My son is in a fourth grade inclusion class,he has ADHD,anxiety and learning disablities and has an average IQ.He is friendly but is having trouble forming friendships and gravities to younger kids.He has never had behaviour issues and is a people pleaser and VERY empathetic.OK so his scores on his most recent tests show his struggle with math and writing(1%-4%)also he is behind in reading by almost a year.He also did very poorly in the state tests.So when I go to the meeting they will not offer to change anything but keep things as they are and my son will fall even further behind I asked for resource room but was told no last year. I don't know what to ask for push for and all the said last year was sorry we don't have any anything.He was given ESY the past 2 years which I know is rare for the district to do however it was in a class where I was told he was the highest accedemically funtioning child in the class(he was sent for math help,which it states on his IEP).We did not send him last year because it was a very inapropiate placement(most of the children were non-verbal and in the 3 hours a day they had snack,recess and lots of coloring).I know the only thing they will offer for next year is the 15:1:1 class,I visited the class and while I liked it(more than I thought I would) it would not be a good fit for my son.He would have to go to a different school and the children in this class are split up and sent to other classes for art,music and gym.As I mentioned my son has great anxiety and I know the adjustment would be hard for him(he had to change schools to be in the third grade inclusion class,he will also have to change schools for 6th grade for middle school).So what can I do ask for to get him more help in reading,writing and math?Also what can I do about help for the summer ?Any help and advice would be so appreciated. Thanks
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:56 PM   #2
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I was also wondering if anyone has used a learning center they are happy with. We had a private tutor once a week for two years and we also tried Brain Balance.We are low on funds so really don't want to invest money in a program that really does not help (brain balance was $6000)Everytime my son sees the sylvan commercial he asks to go there.Please any help,advice or words of encouragement would be great
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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very long reply

Note: I am only giving you my perspecitve as a parent and a former spec. ed. teacher. I do not know all the fine points of what schools are required to do legally.

One problem that I see is in your wording. You say that your son is "almost one year behind" in reading.The school will see that as "He is less than one year behind". Is he further behind in math than that? At less than one year behind his peers, he is withing the normal range of students in a classroom. In the district that I worked for, students had to be 2 or more years behind in a subject to be placed in a resource class. From my experience students that are placed in Resource don't catch up to theirO peers. They do make progress, but are always behind.

That being said, in Texas, state testing is a very big deal, and most schools have programs for students who do not pass. I would ask at your school if there are any special programs such as tutoring for other kids who do not pass the state testing.

Also, at the ARD, make sure that you tell them that you do not the the current plan is not working for your son, (Make sure that what you say is included in the minutes of the ARD.) and ask the school for suggestions of what can be done to better help your son. If you can, be very specific about what is not working. Does he need different goals and objectives? Once the goals and objectives are agreed upon, that is when you will talk about placement. Can the goals and objectives be achieved in the regular classroom? Or, does he need a more restrictive placement in order to meet those goals? Maybe they can offer more support to him in the regular classroom.

In my district, the ESY program was for students that showed "regression with out recoupment" meaning that all kids are expected to regress over the summer vacation, but most will recoup that loss after about 6 weeks of school. (Or kids that are in danger of such regression) Most of our students attending ESY are the more severly impaired children, and the program is designed so that those students do not have excessive regression. It is not designed to teach new skills.

Does your district have a summer school program for students who are not in spec. ed? It might be that your son would be better served by a summer school reading or math class. A big difference is that ESY is free to the student, but summer school is usually requires tuition. You might be able to get the school to send him to summer school at no cost to you if ESY is not the right placement. Or you can just pay and send him on your own, and the school should have to provide the modifications that are in his ARD.

Private tutoring may be helpful for your son, but I have never used any of the commercial tutoring places. I did have a very long talk with a director of a Sylvan once, and the program seemed very good but too expensive for me.
She talked about how they test the students and decide what the child needs to work on based on the testing. They do not necessarily work on the same things at the same time as the school does. So it is not homework help. At that location, they do small group tutoring. Kumon seems to be similar, but I think they do individual tutoring. Both were too expensive for me.

One thing I did for my son who has reading issues was go to the local teacher supply store and pick up a couple of reading workboods that were below (2yrs) his grade level. He was missing a lot of basic skills. I would read his homework to him, and in exchange he had to do some of the workbook pages on his own. This was a way for him to work on the skills that he needed, but still keep up somewhat with his class. We also signed up for an online program called Headsprout. In 2nd grade we started him with the beginning level, but you can start with a higher level. His reading issues have not gone away, but 2 years later he is able to read "on level". He is very slow though, so we are still working on speed and fluency.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:18 AM   #4
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Thank you for your help My son started out the school year two reading levels behind but made no improvement this term so is now 3 levels behind which does put him exactly a year behind.He was just retested in Feb.-woodcock-johnson,Being a teacher I was wondering if you can help me show the areas I need to bring up at the meeting.I am going to show his standard scores-Letter word ID-98 Passage comp-89 Spelling of sounds-91 Brief reading-94 Calculation-74 Applied Prob-73 Brief math-70 Spelling=85 Writing sample-64 Brief writing-64. I know that the writing and math are low but how low. Is he a year or more behind? Standard tests are also a big deal in NY and he did qualify for AIS I had gotten a letter saying he would get services but when I called the principal to find out more info.on how my son was doing a few weeks ago he said he would get back to me.So he calls back and tells me they have someone who just does AIS in the building and Jack will see her twice a week!What I now need to know is why he has not been going for the last five months!!!!!!Also as far as the ESY it is VERY RARE for the district to offer this service that is why I'm confused because at the time it was only for math as ststed on his IEP....yet they still placed him in this program because as they said it is all we have.As for as getting help for our son on our own we would have to take out a loan and I know there is no way of knowing if a program will work but I'm hoping others might share their thoughts on what worked and what didn't.Really any help anyone can give would be great I"m just trying to be as ready for this meeting as possible especially knowing I'm going in knowing they're going to say NO!!!!!!
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:46 AM   #5
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You can ask for anything you think your son needs, and if you are not successful our state (CA) allows for you to have advocates their for you if you need them. My sister teachers adapted PE and my cousin is a special ed teacher and both have privately told some parents they might want an advocate if their child's needs are not being met. I think the response from the special ed teacher will lead you the right way, but if you are not happy, ask for an advocate to be present to help you. We have been blessed by our district and our son has not needed an advocate for him, but I know a few special ed teachers who are retired and now work as advocates helping parents get their child's needs met. Good luck and sending a hug.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:41 PM   #6
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Thank you Lisa I guess it is just so hard for me to understand why I have to bring others in to get the district to do what it needs to, in educating my son.I really like my son's teachers but I almost feel they are afraid to say anything.I just feel the head of special ed has made up her mind and told everyone, and no one is going to tell her she is wrong except for me.She told me that we should give him a calculator and while I do not think that is a bad idea THAT cannot be all that the school offers!!!!!I have to really do what the PP said and have them tell me what they are going to do instead of them asking me what I want.I know you are right Lisa and I have to bring someone else in so that my son gets the best outcome.I was thinking of having my son come to the meeting but just for introductions what do you all think about that?I just want those who do not know my child but yet make very important deceisions see who they will be saying no too,and what I ask is not for me but my nine year old!!!!!!Thanks everyone
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:45 PM   #7
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I have been away from spec ed for a while, so the finer points of the WJ escape me right now. In general, on those types of tests, scores of 70 and above are considered within normal range. 70-85 is low normal, but still "normal". Based on those test scores alone in the district where I worked, the only area that he has a deficit in is writing.

As for the writing, you (meaning the whole IEP committee) will need to discuss specifically what he has trouble with in writing and break it down. Is it the physical aspect that his giving him most trouble? Then he could learn to use a computer instead of handwriting. Does he have more trouble with composition? Can he write a complete sentence? Can he come up with ideas for his stories? Does he know how to write a story with a beginning, middle, and end? Does he use proper capitalization and/or punctuation?

Once you know more specifically what he can't do, then you (again meaning the committee) can draft specific goals and objectives for him to work on. Now, usually the teachers have already prewrittena draft goals and objectives before the meeting starts, but there is no reason that they cannot be changed if needed.

For math, you would ask the same types of questions. What exactly does he have trouble with? Can he add/subtract two, three, or four digit numbers? Does he know basic math facts for addition and/or mutiplication? Can he do math computation but not do "word problems"? Does he understand how to set up problems, but have trouble with computation?
Once you know specifically what he has trouble with then you can have the goals and objectives to adress the specific problems.

You would do the same thing for reading. Based on that testing alone, he seems to have good basic reading skills. Is he just reading below level? Does the length of reading passage make a difference? Does he have good oral comprehension if a grade level passage is read to him?

BTW, I don't mean for you to answer all these questions online, just that they should be consided as you are getting ready for you meeting. As we get more specific, you might want to PM me instead of posting.

It is too bad that he has to change schools for the different levels of service. I worked in a very large district with very large elementary schools, so each school had self-contained, resource, and inclusion classrooms.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:04 PM   #8
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You can ask for whatever you think your son needs, but the ARD is actually done by committe, so if you disagree with what everyone else in the room says (and that does happen often) it may help you to have a second person in the room with you. Sometimes it helps to have with you even if they are not an actual "advocate" just to listen in case you miss things that might be said, or to help you remember questions that you planned to ask. I have a close friend who has a child that sounds very similar to yours, and I have attended many of her ARDS just to help her understand the process.
If you get to the end of the ARD meeting and you are not happy, you can "disagree" with the ARD and move on to the next step in the process.

I have be in attendance in ARDS with advocates and even a lawyer once, but I have never been envolved in a "Due Process Hearing".

Each district approaches things differently. In my district, the district would usually back down if the parent wanted to go to a hearing or take it to court, but another near by district rarely backed down and let many parents take them to court. Usually the district won in court though.

I don't think there is anything wrong with bringing your son to the ARD. In our ARDs, students did start to participate in ARDs in middle school. Depending on the student, they might have only come in for a few minutes at the beginning. Others would stay for the entire ARD. I even once sat in an ARD for a student who was 18 and did not have a parent with him.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clm10308 View Post
You can ask for whatever you think your son needs, but the ARD is actually done by committe, so if you disagree with what everyone else in the room says (and that does happen often) it may help you to have a second person in the room with you. Sometimes it helps to have with you even if they are not an actual "advocate" just to listen in case you miss things that might be said, or to help you remember questions that you planned to ask. I have a close friend who has a child that sounds very similar to yours, and I have attended many of her ARDS just to help her understand the process.
If you get to the end of the ARD meeting and you are not happy, you can "disagree" with the ARD and move on to the next step in the process.

I have be in attendance in ARDS with advocates and even a lawyer once, but I have never been envolved in a "Due Process Hearing".

Each district approaches things differently. In my district, the district would usually back down if the parent wanted to go to a hearing or take it to court, but another near by district rarely backed down and let many parents take them to court. Usually the district won in court though.

I don't think there is anything wrong with bringing your son to the ARD. In our ARDs, students did start to participate in ARDs in middle school. Depending on the student, they might have only come in for a few minutes at the beginning. Others would stay for the entire ARD. I even once sat in an ARD for a student who was 18 and did not have a parent with him.
Thank you for all your advice and help I just need to bounce my thoughts of others to see if I am on target with my requests or if I'm expecting to much.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishsharon View Post
Thank you Lisa I guess it is just so hard for me to understand why I have to bring others in to get the district to do what it needs to, in educating my son.I really like my son's teachers but I almost feel they are afraid to say anything.I just feel the head of special ed has made up her mind and told everyone, and no one is going to tell her she is wrong except for me.She told me that we should give him a calculator and while I do not think that is a bad idea THAT cannot be all that the school offers!!!!!I have to really do what the PP said and have them tell me what they are going to do instead of them asking me what I want.I know you are right Lisa and I have to bring someone else in so that my son gets the best outcome.I was thinking of having my son come to the meeting but just for introductions what do you all think about that?I just want those who do not know my child but yet make very important deceisions see who they will be saying no too,and what I ask is not for me but my nine year old!!!!!!Thanks everyone
Please PM me. I've found our area to be unique to say the least and different school districts have different things available (unlike other parts of the country where it's based on county).
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:54 AM   #11
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So my ds meeting is next Monday and I found a non profit advocacy center so I hope they can help. Just wanted to share the website,the center helps those on long island NY WWW.theliac.org I wonder if this ever gets any easier or is every IEP meeting always going to feel like I'm going into battle
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:09 PM   #12
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Good luck- those meetings tend to be stressful one way or the other.
If it helps you any- unless I am reading it wrong, those scores you posted don't look bad. (except the writing) I guess if I saw those come home I wouldn't jump to thinking my child needed extra help from the school, they seem more like scores where you just keep up working at home.
My daughter was reading at the "entrance to K" level at the beginning of 1st grade. This got her into title 1- group work where she was taken out with a small group of 5-6 kids 2-3x/week. This is for being 1+ year behind.
Toward the end of the year, once she was approaching 2 years behind then she got pulled to the resource room because she had already been held back a year. So she only qualified for further assistance because she was actually approaching 3 years behind for her age.
To a certain extent, is it possible you are facing resistance because if they started giving extra help to every child who was on the behind end of the normal range- half the kids in every class would need extra help?
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:54 AM   #13
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I am from NYS and if your son scored a 1 or 2 on the state tests, then the school district is REQUIRED to provide academic intervention services to help him improve his scores. School districts take those scores very seriously, as they are graded on them and their funding is dependent on them. If they say they don't have it, you can force the district to pay for private tutoring.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:31 AM   #14
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So my meeting was yesterday and the chairperson tabled the meeting! I was wondering where do I go from here? Do they contact me? Is this when I get the advocate? OR do I need a lawyer?The only option they where giving is a 15:1:1 class.So have no idea what to do
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:26 AM   #15
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The school should contact you in a few days to schedule a time to continue the ARD. Tableing the ARD is not that unusual especially if there are disagreements. Often schools s heddle many ARDs on the same day, and this ARD may have gone over the time allotted.
If I am understanding the 15:1:1 correctly, that means 15 kids, one teacher, and one aid. Or is the extra 1 a spec Ed teacher?

Truthfully, in my district, to get a more restrictive placement such as resource, the student needs to be much further behind. Due to federal regulations, school have to carefully watch the placements. They are not allowed to give a more restrictive placement unless they can show that a less restrictive placement is not successful. This is all due to spec Ed placements of 40-50 yrs ago when minority students were labeled spec Ed at rates much, much higher that whites.

In your case, if it was me, I would focus less on the placement at this time and more on the actual goals and objectives. If the goals are satisfactory to you, then I would let the school place him where they want while you are closely monitoring his progress. If he is jot successful in meeting his goals and objectives over the next year, then you and the school can document the necessity of a more restrictive placement.
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