Special Education/Following Up


Hi, thanks for the reply. Obviously it IS very complicated. I am sure you have probably combed over mountains of stuff on this website and in practice. I do not have an FBA. I do not have a neuropsych eval. I am not comfortable with them doing it with their person. I don't know how to go about obtaining my own person and seeking reimbursement. Is there a difference between neuropsych and psychoeducational? It's pretty confusing to me. Also, I was told all testing would be done in all domains but I don't have any updated results. I have a few questions. Is there any way to get some 1:1 during the day from an actual teacher? I don't know what I'm doing wrong but I have a friend who has this. It's a different school district and her child is ASD but he is actually doing alot better than my daughter in key areas. The school said they'd do this but then they reneged. They pretty much act like because my child is in a gen ed class and has an aide I should be thrilled. But no one is happy. I am not against another placement but I cannot express to you how horrible the self contained class was. My daughter, who is normally a chipper girl in spite of all her issues, was downright DEPRESSED. I still hate myself for leaving it as long as I did. I can't figure out why a self contained setting would be better. No one on staff seems to be able to manage OCD and it's not going to be any different elsewhere because special education teachers are already failing. Is there a way I can get the school to get some staff training for OCD? They told me they don't have to do anything because it's a medical problem.  I stressed it's medical and psychological. I feel like the ADHD is being treated as willful and  nothing is being done to motivate her.  What happens if gen ed isn't working but self contained is an equally bad solution? (I would  argue worse actually). Like I said, we don't live anywhere near any private placements that could work. I'm thinking if my public school is the way it is, a private regular school near us wouldn't want to accommodate. It's sad to me that the giftedness means nothing to them. No one has said they are changing placement but I can read between the lines. Pretty much every day I get a call. It's usually very short to tell me what's wrong and ask me what I think but never long enough to formulate anything helpful. My daughter HATES school now. She likes the class but has no close friends. We only did one playdate. But I think she needs the peers, not just for social modelling but to keep attentive. I am allowed to observe but it's just twice a year for 15 minutes. I don't know how that can be helpful and I already did both observations. I don't know what a norm would be.  Thank you for the assistance. It's a great start!

Dear Jenny,

Thank you for your follow up question and again for using this service.  

While I understand that your daughter has diagnoses of ADHD and Anxiety/OCD, what is the disability on her IEP?  It would make sense that the disability is an "other health impairment", which is one of the categories under the IDEA where students need special education and related services due to a health or medical problem such as ADHD.  

Here is the definition:

(9)  Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that--

(i)  Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and

(ii)  Adversely affects a child's educational performance.

So it does not make sense that the school would tell you 'it's a medical issue...'

A functional behavior assessment appears to be important for your daughter.  I gave you a few resources but you may want to pick up my book, School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

A functional behavior assessment can reveal that the staff needs training, that the teacher needs to intervene for direct instruction, and a number of other things that you have described.  It leads to the development of positive behavioral interventions and supports through a behavior intervention plan.

As far as the difference between a psychoeducational and neuropsychological, I think Dorene Philpot does a good job in this article, explaining the difference:
Check out your insurance and see if it will pay for a private evaluation.

A parent may have a hard time getting reimbursement for an evaluation, especially if you have not given the school district a chance to evaluate.  As I think I mentioned in my first answer, if the school does an evaluation that you disagree with, you have the right to request an independent evaluation that the school district would pay for.  Here is more information about that.  But usually, you would have to consent to the school's evaluation first.  

I know you are seeking specific answers to HOW to get services into your child's IEP.  Since I don't know your child's situation through records or other evidence, I can only speak generally about that.  I am available to consult with you if you would like me to audit records and tell you what I am seeing.  But generally, a child with a disability and parents are entitled to a free appropriate public education.  This means:
The child is making meaningful progress on IEP goals and in the curriculum
The parent is an equal partner
Procedures have been followed
and most important, the IEP is written so that the child benefits

Each of these aspects of FAPE require digging down into the data related to your child's progress.  I collect data in a number of ways.  These are complex issues that are individually determined for each child.  If you do not feel your child is benefitting from the IEP, evaluations can be a powerful way to collect data, including the FBA, which is an ongoing problem solving process that includes the parent.  

To help you analyze the situation, here are a few guiding questions:
1-Are the present levels in the IEP correct, current, and do they contain data?
2-Are the goals specific, measurable, and written in a way that the data collection requirement is very clear?
3-Do your child's progress reports say she is making progress?  If so, and you disagree, it is important to address this with the school via a periodic review so that the school can show you what data it used to determine progress.
4-In what curriculum areas does your child need specialized instruction, and are these areas adequately addressed in the IEP?  What setting (general class or small special education class, or individual instruction) is required to meet the goals and deliver the specialized instruction?
5-Does she benefit from being in the general education setting and how do we know?

This will assist in guiding the development of the IEP.  

I am sorry to hear your daughter hates school.  There are ways to use her strengths to help her feel more connected, such as leadership roles, mentoring, and opportunities to use her strength areas throughout the day.  But also, we need to figure out why.  If it is because she feels she does not have friends, then also, why? Does she need a different more advanced peer group or does she need social skills instruction? The school can provide counseling and other services, but it seems to me that one big issue is that you parents and the school team are not in partnership together.  Much of the time, I have found that there are communication problems, unclear expectations, and breach of trust that can negatively affect the partnership.  

I hear you saying what you think doesn't work, and at the same time, it is important to identify what will or may work to assist in all of these issues.  Make a list of things that you would like to see happen, and send it to the school as parent input into your child's IEP.  That should generate team meetings which hopefully would focus on your list of requests. You will make a request and the school has to respond in writing, and give you written notice why it refuses to do what you requested.  The school has to tell you the reports it used to deny your requests.  

Ultimately, if you do not feel your child is receiving a FAPE, then you can mediate or request a hearing. But I almost always recommend that you consult with an attorney for requesting these legal disputes.  You will also need evidence of what your child needs, which circles me back to the importance of proper evaluations.  

For the school district policy on observations, you may need to contact the Central/Board of Education Special Education Office.  Someone like me who is evaluating a child's needs should be able to observe for the evaluation process.  So for example, if you used insurance to pay for a neuropsychological, that examiner should be able to observe.  Parents who are advocating for a child should not be limited more than any other parents to observe.  So I would try to find the school district's written policy, which almost surely exists somewhere!

The last issue is giftedness.  Your daughter and all children should receive differentiated instruction at her level, and data should be collected while the accelerated and enriched instruction is provided.  Your state department of education should have a contact person for gifted instruction, and evaluations should show her level of giftedness.  If an IQ test is used, the cutoff for giftedness is usually a standard score of 130 and above. If there is no IQ test, then we are back at the need for evaluation.  Also, her performance in class will be used to determine her grouping. I am not sure what state you are in, so I am unable to search if your state law requires an individual plan for giftedness, but some states do.  

I can hear how distressed you are about these problems.  I would highly recommend that you seek out some assistance to help you sort through these complex issues.  I am available for follow up and consultation either here or through email abc4success@msn.com.

As always, I hope my answer has helped you and 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.


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.


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).

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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