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Special Education/desiring switch from IEP to a 504

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Question
My daughter has ADD and is learning disabled in Math.  She has an IEP in math only.  She is graduating from high school this year.  She had SE Algebra and SE Geometry and this year is taking a Personal Finance class.  She can pass the tests if she takes then after school with extended time without the distractions in class.  This works well for her and she has been able to get B's this way. Otherwise, testing in class, she gets F's.  These are simple accommodations and she is not using the other services in her IEP.  We would like to switch her IEP to a 504 for her to  have these accommodations since she doesn't need SE classes anymore.  Also, IEPs end upon graduation from high school.  A 504 carries forward with it's accommodations into college or other schools and the workplace. How do we do this?

Answer
Testing accommodations should be a part of your daughter's IEP.  It can include only the things that are allowed by the federal government rules, but typically includes anything that is a "normal" accommodation, meaning that the accommodations used on statewide testing also has to be used in a normal classroom testing situation.  Statewide testing differs from state to state, however, there is a norming window, that may include only certain dates and times, so your daughters accommodations must fit into those norming rules.  Typically extended time is common, as long as your daughter remains engaged in the test, she should be able to continue with the test.  Regarding it being out of the classroom with other students, that also can be an accommodation.  Often special education students take those tests in a room with an individual proctor.  

There actually is no advantage to changing an IEP into a 504 plan as far as college is concerned.  Every college who accepts any federal money, other than student direct money, private or public must accommodate students who have an identified disability.  An IEP indicates identification, as does a 504 plan, so the accommodations at college would be provided for either.  Whether she is on a 504 plan or an IEP, make certain that you keep a copy of the last one.  Your daughter will be of legal age, so any service she needs in college, she will have to initiate.  With my ADHD son, I took the time to introduce him, my wife and I to the disability coordinator at his school.  He didn't use any of the services for his Freshman year, but ran into trouble his Sophomore year.  He called me saying he was considering dropping out, so I reminded him of our meeting with the DC.  He made an appointment, got some accommodations and is currently a successful college graduate.  

I work at a small college in Kentucky, where I teach preparing future teachers about Exceptional Children.  Being a small school, they also use me as disability coordinator.  While we are not under the rule that forces us to accommodate, we do, as it helps considerably with recruiting.  We provide accommodations such as you describe for a number of students and their success rates are pretty high.  

First, make certain that the testing accommodations that your daughter needs are spelled out clearly in her IEP...if so, they will have to be a part of her statewide testing.  Make sure that they are used in the  normal sequence of coursework.

Second, make certain that you have documentation of the services your daughter gets during her senior year in high school, either through an IEP or a 504 Plan.  Also, get documentation from the doctor that diagnosed her ADHD that she in fact still has ADHD.  

Third, make sure your daughter knows how to advocate for herself, understands the accommodations that have made her successful in high school, and recognizes when she is started to fall behind.  In my case, I added the element of briefly introducing my son to the Disability Coordinator, and asked him to call me if he ever considered dropping out or blowing off classes.  I did this without thinking, but it gave him an avenue to prevent to get help once he recognized the need.  

It sounds as if you have done a great job of getting her this far in her education, as had she, since she had to be a part of the success as well.  I hope have helped clarify some things.

Norm

Special Education

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Dr. Norm Bishop

Expertise

I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.

Experience

I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Organizations
Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Publications
Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website, Preachitteachit.com.

Education/Credentials
I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

Past/Present Clients
-Confidential-

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