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Special Education/question about the summer


I have a bit of a complicated question. I'll try to be clear :-)
My son was in a co-teaching class for two years. The school now is recommending a change of placement. We do not agree with it. For two summers my son has been in the summer recreational program. Now the school recommended against that. My son had a rough year. He was fine in the summer program both years, it's not school. The school had nothing in place in the new IEP (which we didn't consent to) to address any of the challenges of the year. They were supposed to do an FBA but didn't. They won't do it. I am not making this up. So I enrolled my son in summer camp two days a week with a young shadow and the other days I go out with him. I asked the school why they recommended against the rec program and the person in charge of special education services said "there are concerns" without any specifics. The teacher said he only recommends classroom and not rec programs. Technically my son was recommended for extended year class services but what happened was the recreational program took up about 75% of it, lunch and services took up another 15% so he was in a class for a half hour a day. He didn't learn anything nothing was ever sent home and I was fine with that. I felt he needed recreational and peer interaction. Now they took that away too without accounting for it and they made sure they did this days before the summer program began. They changed my CSE date to be within a week of when summer began. They took the whole meeting to read the draft IEP which they did without us. They made recommendations at the END of the meeting. I feel very much at a loss. I am fine with not having my son there, I think they are all awful people but they got away with alot. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Hello, Helen, and thank you so much for writing to me on  Your son was in general education with special education supports but now the school team is recommending a change of placement.  The school failed to conduct a functional behavior assessment.  

You say you do not agree with the change of placement. Was the change of placement to a different school or in the same school but removed from general education?  

Then you talk about your son's summer program. You say that extended school year services were recommended but the recreation program took up most of it.  Does that mean that there was an ESY program recommended, but instead, you took your son to the general education recreation program and provided support at your expense?

I don't understand what you mean by 'they took away the recreation program.'

Will you please follow up and clarify these things for me so I can help you?  

Generally speaking, the public recreation programs, since they are publicly funded, would have to provide whatever accommodation your son needs to access the program.  I am unclear how an IEP team could 'remove' that access.  The IEP team can recommend ESY but you don't have to send your child.

As for the change of placement, you can stop it by asking for a mediation or a hearing, but I feel based on your questions that you would need assistance to request a mediation properly.  Parents get emotional and are not proficient using the language of the law and language of the IEP team, and that can hurt the parents' chances of being successful.  Also, are you aware that you can revoke consent all together for your child's IEP, which would place him at his neighborhood school in regular classes?  Many times, accommodations are provided under a 504 Plan in that case, not an IEP.

I don't know if I am helping you but could use more information.  I do wish you the best as you advocate for your child's education and thank you again for writing!

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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); 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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