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Special Education/504 Plans and Special Ed Services

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Question
Thank you for your continued insight into my dilemma.  My child's diabetes and fluctuating sugars have impacted her education the last few months.  She spent alot of time in the Nurse's office and missed classes.   The parochial school suggested that she be removed from an elective class and placed into a study skills class where the teacher can catch her up on the material she had missed.  It sounded reasonable until I was told that she would have to go to the public school for various testing. No one can tell me exactly what testing will be done. They already have her past and current academic information, past hearing and vision tests as well as medical documentation. What more could they possibly need?  Her teachers insist that she is not learning disabled that they recognize it is her diabetes that affects her education.  Why would she have to go through the same tests as an LD student if her educational deficits are intermittent and caused by her illness? Unfortunately they want her to have the testing done by the school she was supposed to attend.  She would have to encounter old friends and many questions.  My current 504 plan has some accommodations related to education on it already.  It seems to me it would be simpler to just attach the new accommodation to that form vs. making my child go through unnecessary testing and embarrassment. When I interviewed the school they told me that they had special services but never told me that I would have to go through the same process as with the public school. If I had known that, I could have had all of this in place before the school year.  It seems to me that they are rushing to put my 504 plan in to place because they do receive federal funding and need to be compliant.  They are more concerned with having me sign their forms and picking and choosing what accommodations they want to make vs. helping my child.  Any insight you have would be greatly appreciated.

Answer
Hi Karen, I am going to address some of your specific comments below.

"No one can tell me exactly what testing will be done."
When you are asked to consent to an evaluation, they are required to tell you what types of testing will be done but not necessarily what exact tests will be done. For example, they may say they are going to conduct an achievement test but not which one. Usually, the school psychologist can tell you that information since they are the ones who decide the specific tests.

"They already have her past and current academic information, past hearing and vision tests as well as medical documentation. What more could they possibly need?"
It depends on how "past" the information is and how comprehensive it is. It is important to have up to date information to best serve the students. While it is reasonable for them to request further testing and data gathering, it is ultimately up to you as to whether or not you consent to testing.

"Her teachers insist that she is not learning disabled that they recognize it is her diabetes that affects her education."
I think I know what you mean by this but it is not up to the teachers to determine whether or not any student has any disability or not. I would ask the 504 team to clarify for you the purposes of the requested testing. Do they suspect another disability? Do they want more information for educational planning purposes? What information to they hope to gain from the testing?

"Unfortunately they want her to have the testing done by the school she was supposed to attend.  She would have to encounter old friends and many questions. "
You could request that the testing is conducted at the central office or another school. The school psychologist would probably be willing to work with you on that.

"It seems to me it would be simpler to just attach the new accommodation to that form vs. making my child go through unnecessary testing and embarrassment. "
I don't know the details of the old 504 or the new accommodations so I can't say whether or not that would be simpler or best for your daughter. I also don't know that the testing is unnecessary from the information I have. I often recommend further evaluation if for no other reason than to rule out any other problems.

My advice would be to let the school do what they think is best. You have a part in every decision so nothing will happen without your knowledge. They have rules and regulation that have to be followed that are designed to protect the student, not to be an annoyance (though they can sometimes have that effect too). You could request to meet with or talk to the school psychologist about the specific tests and the testing location. I hear your frustration and I wish you the best of luck.

Morgan  

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Morgan Potts

Expertise

I can answer most questions related to psychological evaluations including an explanation of the scores and the assessment measures. I can also answer most questions regarding special education eligibility, response to intervention (RtI), and recommendations and interventions for specific areas of disability including intellectual disability, learning disability, emotional and behavioral disorders, other health impaired, autism, and pervasive developmental disorder. I can also answer questions regarding Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and parent rights. I cannot determine if a child has a disability or not based on anecdotal information or assessment scores.

Experience

As a graduate student, I interned at a psychoeducational facility for students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders as well as other disorders including specific learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and autism. Following my internship, I was hired full-time there as a school psychologist and worked there for several years. Since then I have worked as a regular school psychologist in a district mostly completing psychological evaluations and consulting with the Student Support Team (SST). I currently work as a contract psychologist for several metro Atlanta counties.

Organizations
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) The Student Support Team Association for Georgia Educators (SSTAGE)

Education/Credentials
My undergraduate degree is from the University of Georgia in Psychology. I have an M.Ed. and Ed.S. from Georgia State University. I recently completed my Educational Leadership Certificate at West Georgia University.

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