Special Education/CSE and the class

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Question
Hi
My 8 year old has many issues- speech is spotty but rapidly improving, selective attention and tics with OCD. The tics are almost always not disruptive but he can't help it in any case. He's very sweet and social but is behind in social communication because of speech. He is very well behaved but if he's having an OCD spurt and it's mishandled it can be difficult. He has an aide but she's like a quiet babysitter.  He is performing at grade level and could be challenged in some areas where he's bright.   The district wants to dump him in a small class of kids with different problems just to avoid dealing with any of this. My son needs a uniform day and peers who can model speech. He loves his classmates and they've accepted him.  When can the school remove a child for behavior and does it matter if the behavior is biologically based. I know what's best for my son and he can be supported in the class. The aide does nothing and there's never 1:1 tutoring ever. They haven't consulted with anyone about OCD so don't understand it and tend to do the worst possible thing trying to relentlessly talk him out of it.  He's a good kid who wants to succeed and I don't know what to do And which points to highlight at a CSE so they don't steamroll me.  My son lost his dad as a baby so the school to me feels particularly cruel.  I tutor my son daily when I come home exhausted from work. I find him easy to teach because I understand he needs motivating materials and things he can relate to for learning.  I am in New York and I read this state is more school friendly than say California. Thank you.

Answer
Special Education  Consultants
Special Education Con  
Hi, Sarah, and thank you for reaching out to me and using this site! I think I understand you are asking me:
-When is the school team justified in removing my child from the general education setting?
-How can I make the aide and supports more effective for my child?
-Does it make a difference to the school and placement if the behaviors are related to a physical or medical diagnosis?
-How can the aide be more effective?
-How can I not be steamrolled in meetings?
-How can I assure the school understands his medical and behavioral needs?

If these are not the right questions, please let me know with a follow up question, OK?  Otherwise, here we go.  I am going to try to answer all of these the best I can.

I get the feeling that there are not enough experts involved in the evaluation of your child's needs and the development of the IEP.  My first advice is to pull out all of your son's evaluation reports and look at the recommendations, listing them in one long list.  Are the recommendations correct and on target?  Are the evaluations current and comprehensive?  And most important, are those recommendations contained in the IEP?  If not, you'll know what to do.  Make sure all evaluations are up to date, comprehensive, prescriptive and have meaningful recommendations that are put into the IEP.  

One of the most important evaluations, aside from psychological, speech language, educational, and maybe occupational therapy is the FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIOR ASSESSMENT.  The FBA leads to the development of the Behavior Intervention Plan, BIP. The BIP and FBA are listed in the IEP under 'special considerations or special factors' sections.  Inspect the IEP--does it call for a BIP?  Do you have the BIP and were you involved in its development (I am guessing not)?

This is how not to be steamrolled.  Be sure you have written evidence by professionals as I am explaining above so that you have black and white documentation and a prescription about how to handle the behaviors and what the aide should be doing.

I am unclear if the school team has already changed the IEP to remove your son from general education.  If it has, then please follow up so I can explain your options.  You said they WANT to remove him from general education so  I am answering as if the team has not yet changed the IEP.  

If this is the case, you want to request evaluations now.  If you pick up my book, Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book
http://www.amazon.com/Special-Needs-Advocacy-Resource-Book/dp/1593633092

You can find sample letters for you to use and you can learn all about the parts of the IEP, how to fill your advocacy tool box, and how to work with the team.  It has a chapter or two on evaluations and the importance of understanding how to get the right professionals involved. It will also show you that staff training is a supplementary aide that should be put into the IEP so that it is mandatory.  

In my other book, School Success for Kids with Emotioanal Behavioral Disorders, you will learn all the steps of the FBA and BIP.  

http://www.amazon.com/School-Success-Emotional-Behavioral-Disorders/dp/159363431

The FBA is not a test done 1:1 with the child.  It is a team problem solving process,and you should be involved in it.  

See my blog for more details.  http://asktheadvocateedmatters.blogspot.com/

http://asktheadvocateedmatters.blogspot.com/2014/04/functional-behavior-assessme

All that you mentioned--the function of behavior (why the behavior is occurring) and what to do, how to intervene, etc. is part of the FBA and BIP.

As for when the team can change the child's placement, I refer you to an answer I previously posted in response with another parent with similar concerns.  

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Special-Education-3018/2014/6/placement-4.htm

The bottom line is, it all relates to the IEP and documentation that your son benefits from being in the general classroom with nondisabled peers.  For example, did the speech language pathologist state that he benefits from having general education peer models?  Now, sometimes, parents have to obtain independent, private evaluations or challenge the district's evaluations, but that's for another question.  For now, it is important that you understand the importance of evaluation reports and classroom data that is used for decision making by the team.  Also, you may need to go to school and inspect the records to be sure you have them all.  This is a legal process and you need all the documents the school has.  

Well, I hope this answer helps you as you advocate for your child.  I am available for consultation and I can audit your son's IEP to determine if the team will be justified in moving him to a more restrictive setting.  I analyze the progress reports, evaluations, all the documents, to write a report with recommendations what should be revised.  Parents feel this valuable tool helps them to understand and really be an equal member of the team.  

abc4success@msn.com
301.593.5166
ABCs for Life Success

Thank you again for writing to me!  I wish you all the best!  

Special Education

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.

Expertise

I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.

Experience

10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Education/Credentials
Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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