IEPs and Legal Issues

What would you do?

Author Message
Joined: Jan 26, 2006
Posts: 22
Other Topics
Posted May 07, 2007 at 9:27:36 AM
Subject: What would you do?

I'm not sure if this is the right forum or not but thought I would place this here.

My son, was originally identified as LD back in 3rd grade in reading/writing. Later that year he was also diagosed with ADHD and dyslexia. By 4th grade he was placed in dyslexia program and pullouts for special ed for reading writing. By 6th grade, he was close to reading at grade level, handwriting had improved markedly but spelling was still pretty attrocious. He graduated from the dyslexia program. Unfortunately, at this time, his pediatrician became concerned about elevated heart rate and he was pulled off his adderall and began a 6 month trial of various meds. During this time, his grades plummeted and he began to have behavior problems both at home and at school. In school it mostly was impulsiveness and acting as the class clown but he became more angry at home. Finally, after being cleared by a cardiologist he went back on the adderall but the behavior problems and grades did not improve from that time. We started him in councelling which helped little and saw a psychiatrist whose answer to these issues was continuously increase the adderall, which only served to make him more angry and depressed. As the behavior grew more extreme we finally changed psychaitrists and he was eventually diagosed as bipolar.

During 6th, 7th, and 8th grades he barely passed each year and had to take summer school in order to be promoted. This year he will fail most courses in High School largely due to cutting school and missed assignments.

A new psych eval was done in December while he was hospitalized and he has huge issues with short term memory and processing speed. The school has mostly been supportive, granting every modification I could think of to include but sicen my son is completely turned off to school they are virtually useless. Since 7th grade he has been mainstreamed in regular ed with supports but obviously, this environment is not working for him. On top of all this, he also has been abusing drugs regularly. The school has told me he is too bright for special ed which I do agree with. The only other placement available in district is behaviorally disturbed which I guess would fit my son, but is going to throw him back in with peers who have the same issues and I have heard that school is rampant with drugs, gangs etc. This is the influence I am trying to get my son away from. The district declined new educational testing at his recent triannual and continued his LD/OHI lable and IEP. When I questioned why BP wasn't included I was told he may not fit their criteria for BP and it might not be in his best interst. I don't know if this is a line to aid them in providing more services or whether this would mean he was automaticly put in the ED setting.

We finally placed him in an RTC about a month ago. When they tested him there, his math was at a 4th/5th grade level. Though we are quite a ways from discharge at this point, I am beginning to think ahead to appropriate educational setting for his eventual release. The therapist there has already told me he should not return to his old school as he will most likely return to his old friends and habits. There are two other schools locally, but they are both large schools and wuld not likely offer much of a different environment. We tried switching schools when he moved to 9th already and he quickly found the same types of kids to hang out with.

Though behavior is a huge componement in all of this, it is my belief that his negative attitude towards school and resulting behaviors is largely due to his negative educational experience. School is and always has been very hard for him and he feels stupid. I believe he needs to be in a small classroom environment with many supports in order to be sucsessful. He needs constant teacher direction to stay on task because of focus issues and is horribly disorganized.

I do not have the financial means to place him privately and there are no charter school close by. I am positive the school will resist paying for day school. Current RTC is being funded my MHMR. Home school is not an option. What else can I do?

Valerie - 46 mom to Andrew 15, bipolar 1 w/psychotic features/adhd/LD, currently on tegratol, abilify, adderall, trazadone

Back to top Profile Email
Joined Nov 03, 2004
Posts: 59

Other Topics
Posted:May 07, 2007 9:48:41 AM

What does Andrew want to do? It sounds that he is old enough that he should have a plan in place for his future. That is part of the IEP process. Is there a vocational school in your area?

Andrew needs to take responsibility for this you can plan his entire existence, but if he doesn't follow through there is not point.

Good luck!

Shel If your not kicking hard enough your not making waves!

Back to top Profile Email
Joined Jan 26, 2006
Posts: 22

Other Topics
Posted:May 07, 2007 12:24:05 PM

Thanks for your post. He wants to go back to his old school, but I do have grave concerns that he will fall back into his old unhealthy relationships. We already tried that once. He was phospitalized twice last year, the second time for 6 weeks and a change was discussed then and he resisted going to a new school. Within 6 weeks he was back to his old behaviors which in fact escallated greatly which is why he wound up in RTC. I do want to take his concerns into account but think he should be given a decision between new placements rather than the option to return to old school. As to vocational schools--I don't think he can go that track until junior year.

Back to top Profile Email
Joined Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 46

Other Topics
Posted:May 07, 2007 5:03:24 PM

A parent can request evaluation from their school district at any time, especially at the three-year evaluation time. I believe bipolar disorder as part of an IEP would require the evaluation by a psychiatrist and not simply be a person from the school district. If the school is refusing to do this I would contact your local parents rights organization for help. In Michigan this group is called "Michigan for Protection and Advocacy Services"
See in your area who can help advocate for you that your son's IEP.

James Nuttall -- Michigan

Jim Nuttall -- Michigan -- Dictated with speech recognition software Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9.1.

Back to top Profile Email
Joined Oct 16, 2005
Posts: 2

Other Topics
Posted:May 28, 2007 12:44:48 AM

I may be mistaken, as I am learning from others but; I feel like you have the wrong idea about special ed. You said
"The school has told me he is too bright for special ed which I do agree with."
I can't believe a representative of the school would say that. And, to quote asearchers; "special ed isn't a place." The "I" in IEP stands for individual, and the "special" stands for what that individual needs to succeed. A blind child wouldn't be too smart for sped if it meant receiving instruction in Braille. A student with dyslexia might require books on tape or voice to print technology. That would be to provide what he needs to succeed and be on an even playing field with the rest of the class. It doesn't mean pulled out of "regular" classes. It means having what you need to stay there.
We have all been taught special ed is a bunch of kids, kept in one room, where they can march and play bingo all day. Not so. The Gifted classes used to be under the sped umbrella too. Special funding/individual needs. AND, LD means a breakdown in the learning system of a student of average to above average intelligence.

Back to top Profile Email
Joined Jan 26, 2006
Posts: 22

Other Topics
Posted:Jun 02, 2007 8:34:39 AM

In response to the post regarding special ed definition. In theory, I know you are right. He has been identified as special ed since 3rd grade and received instruction in this setting for grades 3 and 4. We found, at least at that time, that the instructional material provided was below grade level and to a cetain extent "dumed down". This is understandable to some extent for instance reading material used was mostly beginning readers. However, reading material then held little interest for him as he was 9 - 10 and the material was geared for a 6 or 7 year old. The other issue I had with his time in special ed was that there was no link between how material was presented and his specific learning disability and learning style. The teacher of course had several children with differing disabilities and ability levels and would just keep reteaching using various methods until kids eventually caught on. There was no assurance that when she found a spefic method that worked, the same method would be tried first the next time. It was entirely hit or miss. And if your kid happened to be the lucky one who got it the first time. He had to sit through the multiple reteachings or was given independent study, which doesn't work too well for my kid who has huge attention and focus problems. No way could he filter out teacher working with other kids, while he was supposed to be working independently.

Also, I am told that at high school level, if he is moved to special ed classroom, there is no way he can graduate with a regular diploma. He won't evidently have to the full curriculum.. Hard to beleive isn't it? I can however beleive it as my 18 year old daughter who just graduated spent the last 3 months of her senior year on homebound, and they refused to providce AP level classes on homebound and dropped her to level classes. Plus, they dropped all but the two classes she needed to graduate. In a competitive school such as ours, this greatly cost her in regards to GPA. They also didn't allow her to attend any extracurricular activies including prom, though at the last minuite they did agree to let her attend graduation ceremonies.

I know I have been rambling quite a bit here so I appologize. One last thing though. When my son's ARD was done at RTC the principle volunteered (unsolicited by me), that she thinks that school anxiety is creating a lot of my son's difficulties. She has said when he is discharged she will be recommending he be placed in a self-contained classroom in a small group setting. I guess my momma instincts weren't too off-track after all.

Back to top Profile Email