Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

504 meeting

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Joined: Sep 24, 2007
Posts: 3
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Posted Sep 24, 2007 at 9:02:10 AM
Subject: 504 meeting

My daughter and I have recently been diagnosed with ADD and she also has dyslexia. I am 41 and she is 10 and in 5th grade. I had suspected I was ADD for years and finally pushed myself to be tested. I am trying to be an advocate for my daughter and realized how much my ADD was getting in the way. I have been taking vyvanse for approx a month and can the difference is amazing.

My question/problem (for today) is in regards to 504 plans. We have a meeting tomorrow and I am trying to put together info. to copy and pass out to everyone present. I would like to know what other parents feel is most important.

Quick summary - the principal at our school is very anti-504. We have been formally turned down once and informally told she didn't qualify on a seperate occasion. We have recently completed the special ed eval and will be getting all of the results back at the meeting. We do have an advocate who will be attending the meeting and she has been very helpful. She knows the laws and is sure we can get a 504 in place. I just want to be organized and pass out info to support our case.

I am extremely anxious. I would appreciate advice on what paperwork, test results, school work, etc. other parents feel is most helpful to present at this meeting.

Thank you!

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Joined Sep 22, 2007
Posts: 8

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Posted:Sep 24, 2007 9:54:50 AM

Your advocate should have everything together and know what you need, but...

Since ADD is a medical dx, you need a copy of that dx. I recommend that parents use a doctor, who will not only dx but also will write a letter to the school stating what accommodations (504) or modifications (IEP) are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for the child to be academically successful. You do NOT want to sign any kind of release of medical records to the school. They do not need these and are confidential, between your child and her doctor.

You need to show that your child must have accommodations (504) and/or modifications (IEP) to be academically successful, so you should have school work that presents her struggles. If she does well because of homework and take home assignments, but she consistently fails tests, you will want academic records that show this.

As far as handing out information about ADHD and dyslexia, I don't advise it. This meeting is not the place to do this. Basically, you will be reviewing the school testing, the medical testing, your child's current progress in school, and your child's academic history to see if your child qualifies for SPED or a 504. If your child is found to qualify for either, then you can send information to the teachers.

It's interesting that both a 504 and an IEP are being considered in the same meeting, but it will save time. Usually, a child's testing is reviewed and the child is considered for an IEP. If the child does not qualify, the child is referred to a 504 Committee for 504 consideration, which is a different meeting.

Remember that you do not have to sign anything. You can ask to take the school's testing home for review, and just sign off as being present at the meeting. I strongly advise this because your head will be swimming from all the information you will be receiving. I suggest taking the testing home and reviewing it in detail with your advocate. Let that be your mantra--don't sign, don't sign, don't sign.

Good luck!

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Joined Sep 24, 2007
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Posted:Sep 24, 2007 10:30:32 AM

Thank you for the advice.
I am actually wondering what specific information would be most helpful. I do have her diagnosis and three notes from Drs. I want to show the "team" examples of school work, tests(MEAP, IOWA, NWEA, for example), etc. The principal is still using "wait to fail" which I know is against the law. The past three years we have made informal accomadations with individual teachers therefore my daughter is getting grades that are acceptable as far as the principal is concerned. However, without the accomadations she would be failing. My husband I are not willing to let her fail to appease the principal.
I don't plan on bringing facts about ADD and dyslexia, but want to gather info that will show how she is struggling. I want to give examples, but not hand out so much that it is overwhelming. I am struggling to find a balance.
I requested that the meeting proceed into a 504 if it is determined that she does not qualify for SPED. I do feel that the facts prove she needs a 504, but the principal prides herself on the fact that she has greatly reduced the number of 504 plans at our school. This is what we are working against.

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Joined Sep 22, 2007
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Posted:Sep 24, 2007 11:43:46 AM

Well, I could go on and on about this. Let's see if I can sum it up :).

First, if your child does not need the curriculum modified (brought down to her performance level) and/or specialized instruction, then your child does not need Special Education (IEP). So, the questions are: Is your child working at least on grade level in every academic area? With ADHD/dyslexia, I would take a close look at her writing. Is it on grade level by state standards? Does it need to be modified (brought down to her performance level, which may be years behind her actual grade level) for her to be academically successful? OR, will accommodations alone allow her to work on level? If she is given only accommodations, such as extended time, books on tape, access to a computer for writing assignments, a quiet place to take tests, etc., will she perform on grade level in every academic subject? If so, all she needs is a 504. If accommodations alone will not allow her to work on grade level, she will need an IEP.

I will use my son as an example. He has ADD/dyslexia, and he is in eighth grade. He has an IEP for a Disorder of Written Expression. He has an IEP because the Assistive Technology (Dragon Speaking Naturally and SOLO software programs, a laptop to use at home, access to the class computer at school) and the accommodations he is provided (extended time on writing assignments, no counting off for spelling except in final drafts, the opportunity to answer questions orally when his written response is inadequate) are STILL not enough to allow him to work on level in writing. Using his accommodations, he still writes a solid two years below his academic level, so he has an IEP, as proven in the state testing he took last year that determined he was writing on a fifth-grade level. Therefore, when his writing is graded at school, it is modified by being graded on a fifth-grade level, not an eighth. To help bring him up to level, he receives one-on-one instruction by either his English teacher or a SPED teacher for an hour each week that deals with his particular writing needs. One-on-one instruction from a SPED teacher is almost always allowed by an IEP ONLY!

Now, if your child can be academically successful with accommodations alone and does not need to have her curriculum modified and/or does not need specialized instruction, then a 504 should suffice. As far as her receiving "informal" accommodations without a 504, that's fine and dandy, IF she can receive those in every school in every school district she's going to be in. If not, then it's not O.K.

I applaud this principal, if her attitude is that too many 504's are being written for accommodations that she feels should be given to EVERY child by compassionate educators, who want to see children succeed and don't need a legal document to insist that the teacher be compassionate. I couldn't agree more! Unfortunately, that principal and I are fighting a losing battle against teachers and administrators who insist that EVERY child should be able to take a test in the same amount of time and in the same testing environment, that NO child should be allowed books on tape without a 504, that homework is due the day it's due no matter what the child's issues are, etc. The truth is, your child will be going into middle school or junior high soon, and if she is getting these accommodations "informally" and can only be successful with them in place, then she's going to have a tough time in a year or two because junior high and middle school are when teachers don't allow any late assignments, PERIOD, give a student a certain amount of time to take a test then collect the test, whether the student is done or not, etc. I think it's GREAT that this principal is not allowing her teachers to behave that way, which she obviously isn't because her teachers are giving "informal" accommodations, but what will the principal next year do?

I would write down every "informal" accommodation your child has been given that has allowed her to be academically successful, and I would ask whether or not you could take that list of accommodations to the middle school or junior high school and have the principal there sign off on them, saying s/he would give them, as well. If your current principal says no, which she most likely will, then I would insist that every single "informal" accommodation your child is receiving informally is noted, written down, and signed off on. That way, if these accommodations are removed, you will have grounds to ask for a 504 in the future.

Hope this helps!

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