Special Education/follow up clarifying

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Question
Hi, thanks for the response and I shall clarify best I can.
BOTH schools in question are in district. One is my closest district school and the other was also quite close but not closest.

My son was attending an integrated class in district but not the closest school to me.
They changed his placement in a rather predetermined way to a self contained class in the district school nearest me.  They offered no integration. I don't want to get into the details of this which are awful.  They did all wrong and then my child gets moved!

They are afraid of nothing except a lawsuit so that may happen. Right now I am concentrating on healing him and educating him.

His previous services took a while to be remotely okay. The providers and I have a great relationship and communication (there was NO communication with teachers and certain other staff were terrible in this regard)

The social skills class was a waste but it is in his IEP. They didn't even start it till midyear and sometimes they did it at lunch which I thought was awful and never sent home a note about it all year.  He did have group speech and yes the kids are the same, he's known them for many years! That continuity is important. His closest friend was in that class.
For him to be added there couldn't possibly be a schedule problem.

My son has OCD and enough anxiety that switching this is contraindicated as is starting with new people.  If he had a "stay put" they'd have to schedule him with the same people. Trust me, the ONLY reason they aren't doing this is because they're afraid of entrenching him in the school they do not want him to attend. It's very deliberate. It's a simple nothing request. It costs them nothing, it's a positive for my son in many ways that I feel are NECESSARY.  The doctor would write the note for me. I asked them if it would matter but they haven't replied. Typically I wait 1-2 weeks for a reply, it's outrageous. Sometimes I send the same email 4 times! It's that bad.

I do communicate via email.  He has the IEP rolled over from last year. I think the goals are awful so I know I would need a CSE to do it but they didn't make a new IEP for homeschool related services, they have the one for 2015-2016 (current school year) which included related services.

Basically all continuity would entail is fitting him into a schedule at the school he was at previously which is less than five minutes away. Hope this helps and thank you much.

Answer
Dear Becky,

I see that you have a difficult situation related to your child.  

I am not an attorney, but it is my understanding that 'stay put' if you filed a request for a hearing, would not necessarily mean that the same providers would need to be delivering services.  

You clearly feel that your child has been denied a free appropriate public education.  The ways to remedy this is to request a hearing (please only do this with consult from an attorney, or at least an expert like me) or go to mediation.  

If you do this, you will need experts like me and you will need to prove that a FAPE was denied based on the IEP being wrong or insufficient, and you will need to be sure evaluations and doctor's evaluations state what your child needs.  

If you want me to analyze the IEP and other documents, I have a service which I call an IEP audit.  Please email me abc4success@msn.com.

The doctor or other professionals should document what your child needs, in terms of consistency of providers, and you can provide that to the school district.  The district will tend to ignore or not respond to emails or correspondence that is not crafted in a way that alleges the denial of FAPE.  Even then, it is typical for there to be other either tactics or care in responding to you, which protect the district.  

I am working with a family now, where we know there are effective providers, and the district denies that request.  The district typically has to assign qualified people, and you have a right to the qualifications.  

Children with your child's needs can switch effectively to new providers and progress year to year with different providers and teachers, with the right supports.  So, if you have not tried the new providers, maybe it would be appropriate to have a meeting to discuss how the old and new providers can collaborate and slowly transition the services.  

Without knowing the specifics, I can't have an opinion about whether the 'new' IEP is appropriate or the change of placement is appropriate.  But, since you are providing homeschooling now, and if you don't plan on sending him to the new placement, the issue is whether the services plan is appropriate.  I would get as much documentation as possible and provide it to the school, and get the response.  

When the district denies a parent request, it must provide you with written notice why, and what reports were used to deny the request.  

At some point, you may have to exercise your dispute options to get this solved.  Please, let me know if you want my free consultation.  I take up to an hour without charge for parents.  

I am sorry things are so poor for your child and that your relationship with the district has declined to this point. I would suggest that you could benefit from assistance by someone (me or others) who has the experience to help point you in the right direction.  Again, let me know if you want to have a conversation with me, and you can also find help at copaa.org for an attorney or advocate/expert near you.  

OCD and Anxiety disorders can be difficult for the district to handle.  Maybe your child needs a specialized setting, and maybe the school district should be responsible for it.  And, if a child needs compensatory education, to make up for past failures, that is something to consider.

I know I am not providing all the answers you need, but the situation appears to be very complex.  In that regard, you will want to be sure you bring in a team that can help you prove your case.  Also, long term, looking forward, it may be important for your child to take steps now for your child's future goals.  Thank you so much for taking the time to follow up with me. And as always, I wish you all the best as you advocate for your exceptional child's education!

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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