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Private funding for speech through the school district


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Joined: Sep 12, 2008
Posts: 1
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Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 1:22:39 PM
Subject: Private funding for speech through the school district

Hi,

I am new to this forum,I have a son who is 9 with autism. He is getting speech through the school one on one twice and in group setting once a week. But we have not seen any improvement yet. We have our IEP comming up next month. So how do we ask the school district to fund for private speech?. Should we do any private speech evaluation?.

Thanks.
Ravi.

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Sep 26, 2008 8:10:24 AM

Ravi,

You describe a child who is receiving speech services with 3 contacts per week. Not knowing the assessments of your child with regard to language I would opine that your child is receiving appropriate services.

Often what happens among parents is there is a belief that more speech is always better. Not true. Your child will likely require an integrated speech service that takes place in the classroom of which the child needs to adapt. Pragmatic speech intervention is truly at the core of communication success for children with autism. Remember your child must be able to apply his skills across settings.

As for your question and thoughts of seeking the school division to provide additional private speech, I would not support this request if the question were asked of me. Adding an additional speech intervention is not reasonable as it also may be counterproductive to your child's success in his natural setting.

I would strongly suggest that your solution resides in the IEP process to ensure that appropriate startegies are being implemented for a child with autism. Is PECS being used? Are there Social Stories being used? Does the child have a simplistic communication device to facilitate his communicatioon skills? What plan do you have in the home that is consistent with the school to promote effective communication?

Be patient with the speech and language intervention at present. Learning to communicate is not an isolated skill. Communication is a skill that moves across the developmental spectrum of this thing called school skills. It is too early in the school year to say that no progress is taking place.

Provide some more information to me about how your child is served during the school day, his eligibility determination, what percent of direct special ed is he getting, and what are your visions of what your child should be able to accomplish?

DRHD

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Sep 27, 2008 2:38:14 AM

DRHD I have to disagree with your response since you really don't know the extent of this child's problems. The only reason I can say this is because, as I have posted here so MANY MANY times, we are in this same boat. I have reserved my right to request reimbursement by giving prior written notice that I intend to seek reimbursement.

This is how to request. You give prior written notice that you intend to seek reimbursement for private services. The law requires that your son receive FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). Since you will have to pay for these services on your own, your son's education is not free. I would say to talk to an educational advocate if you intend to go through this process.

That is the answer as to how you go after reimbursement from the district.

Although we gave notice to seek reimbursement we have not requested it at this time. Our insurance had been paying for it until it stopped last February. We are still appealing that decision, but have the option of requesting the money from the district, although I anticipate that to be a very difficult battle.

As to whether or not it is necessary is a different question. We take our daughter to private speech therapy because the school district does not address the core of her problems. Her problems stem from an auditory processing deficit, which is completely not addressed by the school district SLP. They agree with the core of her problem, but said they do not address those problems because it would take too much time.

It is our belief that our daughter does not have "time" to waste waiting around to see if it corrects itself. We feel that every day she does not get proper help, is another day wasted.

My advice would be to hire some professional help. Get a private evaluation done, even if it is at your own expense. Try to get more speech therapy at school if you think he could use more time, but remember, it's all about quality, not quantity. If he is not showing improvement I would ask at the IEP meeting exactly what they are doing to address his foundational weaknesses.

For us, we have chosen not to fight the district on this at this time. We are still appealing the insurance company. In my opinion, it is easier to fight an insurance company than it is to fight a school district. We could have asked for more speech therapy at school, but we know it's not any good, so why bother? I would rather see her get help privately, even if it is at our own expense.

Hope that helps.

Kathryn

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Sep 27, 2008 10:46:24 AM

Kathryn,

I must take issue with your recommendation to this parent about the process to recover costs associated with a related service provided to a child when the LEA may refuse to provide a service. The process you suggest is incorrect.

1) A parent "may" be potentially entitled to reimbursement in issues of a "private placement" when refused by an LEA. The parent is allowed under the IDEDA statutes to render notice to the LEA within a 10 day period of the decision that they disagree with the decision and may or will proceed to regain reimbursement. The LEA is the entity to provide "Prior Written Notice" (PWN) to the parent of the refusal.

2) For a parent to obtain any reimbursement it would have to be contested in a dispute resolution forum such as a due process hearing, mediation, or a complaint (formal). In all forums, there is no guarantee that a reimbursement is to be made to a parent.

3) An LEA proposes a service and consent is required. To propose a related service by the LEA and is contested by the LEA does generate the need for LEA Prior Written Notice to be procedurally correct. A parent may choose to seek all the speech services they desire but cost reimbursement is an absolte no guarantee to happen. The parent has the burden of proof to show that the services proposed by the LEA were not reasonably calculated to provide a benefit the child. Because of this fundamental premise, I requested the parent to allow me to understand more of the child's needs. There have been decisions whereby the service proposed by LEAs have in fact been inappropriate due to the severity of the needs of the child and not based, ever based on the fact that a parent just prefers to have more service.

DRHD

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Sep 27, 2008 2:50:01 PM

Kathryn,

I made a typo mistake in the second sentence of #3. Please note corrected sentence:

"To propose a related service by the LEA and is contested by the "parent" does generate the need for "the" LEA " "to provide" Prior Written Notice to be procedurally correct.

DRHD

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
Posts: 424

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Posted:Sep 27, 2008 6:03:27 PM

dumb question DRHD, Now that i have proven i have ESP as my last post demonstrates with my uhhh behavior in the first paragraph, and i have PMS, which i am sure i do, and i am ADHD, does that make me a bitch that knows it all but too bored in knowing, to organize and deal with it? Or am i way off? all the letters and mumbo jumbo.... It gets rather.... hmmm... taxing just to try to figure out what it all means in real world terms in the end... Letter terms more or less the equivalent of "abra cadabra!" an insta quick fix that fix nothing.... Just add confusion as the arbitrary letters pile up...maybe its an anagram? PMSADHDESP naaa can't be too few vowels then too many left over consonents once the vowels are used up though several words can be made.... Beh, i need a hobby...

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Sep 27, 2008 8:49:05 PM

My mistake. I used the wrong terminology. I meant that the parents can give notice that they intend to seek reimbursement and the district may refuse and they must notify the parents. the parents may request that in writing from the district.

I also tried to emphasize in my post that requesting reimbursement does not guarantee it! I know I stated that it is a huge battle and one that we have chosen not to take on because the district has their fists clinched so tight on the money. If they reimburse you for ST and you tell 10 other families, they are likely to make the same requests. One does not guarantee another because it is on an individual basis, thus the "I" in IEP although I often find the "I" to be silent.

I know A LOT of people who get private speech therapy because they know that their child needs it and it is not provided by the district. They cannot refuse it based on funding, but they can lie through their teeth and say whatever the heck they want and it's up to the parents to prove otherwise. For most people, it's just easier to get what your child needs privately. In which case, it's survival of the fittest.

Good luck!
Kathryn

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Sep 30, 2008 9:04:32 AM

Kathryn,

I am disappointed in your response and your logic. Local school divisions do not make decisions based on the lack of funds. To the extent this is a response from a key player in the school division team, this is woefully wrong and persons like this are ill informed.

The process of special education is difficult enough as it is but to have parents sustain the opinion that school divisions are always the "fiscally conservative bad guys" is for the most part a tainted, biased and unfriendly point of view.

After a while, school divisions become weary of the uphill struggle to gain the parental partnership. It could be that in fact a school division may assess the situation correctly and the parent in fact may just be too myopic to conclude it may be true.

For every issue there is a reasonable solution where both parties can reside.

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Sep 30, 2008 3:05:27 PM

They absolutely DO make decisions based on funding. It's unfortunate, but it's true. I'm not saying I don't sympathize with them because I do. Whatever funds are spent on special education are taken from the general budget. If money was no object, things would be done a lot differently and I know you know that. Their hands are tied. You need to accept that fact. You might work for a school district who has an overflow of cash and is able to do anything and everything that a child needs. If that's the case, then you see things differently.

I'm also not going to argue with you about it because we have different points of view. You are seeing things from an administrative side, probably doing things the same way year after year. You don't see the specific cases that we parents see.

Kathryn

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
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Posted:Sep 30, 2008 3:26:05 PM

Kathryn, I am quite taken by your narrowly framed point of view. From my perspective, it is quite different from your earlier offerings.

By the way, I am not a school administrator.

Further, please be informed that without exception, all special education costs are not all borne from local tax dollars. Costs associated with special education are found to be expended with federal, state, and local funds. Funds are allocated for the appropriate costs of education of all children. Excessive costs are not considered reasonable although they may often be desired by a parent. IDEA and NCLB have at their core the elements of parental choice. What parents choose may be best practice and maximum benefit. A school division has no mandate to afford any child, disabled or otherwise, a maximum benefit to what is considered a "free appropriate public education"

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
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Posted:Oct 01, 2008 10:00:31 PM

Ok, you're not a school administrator. What do you do for a living? What horse do you have in this race? I'm curious. Are you a parent of a special ed child? Or is special education in any way related to your job? You probably think it doesn't matter, but it helps others to understand your point of view a bit better. Are you a special ed attorney who knows the law inside and out?

We are a basic aid district, so if I'm not mistaken, most of our funding is from local property taxes. You can look up "basic aid" to read about it if you wish.

And I will grant you that you are absolutely right about FAPE. I've been saying this all along. Each child is entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). It does not have to be good or great or even the best education, WHICH IS WHY I DON'T GO TO COURT WITH OUR DISTRICT!!! It only has to be "appropriate". You're saying that just because a parent wants something for their child, does not guarantee that child has a right to it. But the parents are supposed to be part of the IEP team. I think that my daughter's education is being built on a foundation like swiss cheese because of her underlying foundational weaknesses. The district refuses to address those needs, yet they spell them out for me in all of the testing and all of the reports. She has a major auditory processing weakness/deficit. If they would address that weakness she would be so much more efficient at learning and that makes sense. So, to me, auditory processing therapy is appropriate to her education. They agree that she has this weakness, but said that it takes too long to address these needs. That's a fundamental disagreement between the IEP team members. So, who is right? If there is a disagreement, a tie so to speak, who is the tie-breaker? The school district! They say no! And when I say, "ok, fine. I'll take her to private therapy where she can get the help she needs, but I will do it during school hours because in MY opinion, it is part of her education." Do you know what they said in response? They said "We will charge you with truancy unless you write a letter stating that you relinquish financial responsibility of this therapy."

Wouldn't it be appropriate to address her needs before trying to build an education on a foundation made of sand than on a rock solid foundation?

Kathryn

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Oct 04, 2008 8:04:07 AM

Kathryn, I am neither a parent of a special education child or an administrator. I have no "stake in this race" whatever this means. I am a Hearing Officer.

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Oct 04, 2008 5:51:26 PM

Thank you for letting us know. It helps to know where other people are coming from. You have a very different perspective of this than I do as a parent. I often feel like there is so much that starts out with "legally we don't have to..." and it's true. Legally, the district is not required to... but that is different than what they MAY do. As a parent, I'm not looking at this as a legal issue, but rather as what my child needs, whether it come from the school, the district or from me as her parent. It's all very different. Again, why I don't try to force the district to provide things that they are not "required" to provide her. Just remember, there is more out there than what a school district can and will provide for a child and I believe it's the parent's responsibility to do what is best for their child in terms of the big picture. The district only has responsibility to a child until they turn 18 (or 21, depending on the situation) or graduate, but a parent will have a far greater interest in the child than any professional ever will.

Kathryn

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