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Innisfree

Examples of non-academic instruction or therapy provided in IEP?

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Or, "if you can cope with X, we don't need to help you with Y."

Our school system is arguing that because dd tests within the average range academically (thanks to homeschooling and all kinds of special support), she *must* be enrolled in  a full load of academic classes during her first semester in high school in the fall. She can't be given any sort of study hall or resource room time, because testing shows she doesn't need it, they claim.

Except she does. Autism is a social disability, not (for her) primarily an intellectual one. She needs time away from throngs of people. She needs to decompress. She needs social thinking instruction.

But evidently, first, they have a track system. Either you're on the academic track, and it's a four year race to graduate, or you're on the life skills track, and you can take your time. Got to stay on track.

And, second, they "don't do social skills training in high school." Especially not if testing shows you can be on the academic track. Nevermind a long history of social thinking deficits and emotional regulation issues.

So, since I've got to argue this with them, could anyone give me examples of *non-academic* intervention, therapy, what have you, which public schools have provided to students who, academically, could function with supports?

For example, physical or occupational therapy, social thinking, emotional regulation, anything not academic.

Their argument seems to be that "least restrictive environment" mandates a full academic load until she fails. ☹️

Edited by Innisfree

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Ok, so first school cultures vary. A different school might roll with this very differently. If you can try another school, you might need to.

Next, they are correct that without data you can't compel them to do anything. They are sneaky in that they either don't own or don't run the tests and then say therefore no intervention or supports are necessary.

SLDT or CAPS to show the pragmatics deficits

CELF-Metalinguistics

TNL=test of narrative language

You're right to fight, but you need data. If they've done evals and gone through the IEP process, you can fight for an IEE, where they pay for 3rd party evals. What is her support level for her autism? Does she have an anxiety diagnosis? 

By high school the ps will totally blow off OT for most kids, especially if they test well, yes. The anxiety could get her somewhere. I'm surprised they're not at least talking 504 and extended time, that kind of thing. Yes, the school has a wait till they fail policy. You'd have to come in with private evals saying she needs something and have evidence and even then they'd want to watch and see. 

So no you're not likely to get OT. Yes on social thinking if you bring pragmatics scores. An SLP could run the things I listed. Or fight for private, but a psych won't commonly run those. If SLP and pragmatics were not being evaluated as part of your school evals (ie. if those didn't get put on the evaluation consent form), then you're repeating what was already done. This is how obnoxious the system is, yes. Don't eval it, don't own the test, don't run it, so therefore it's not happening. 

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26 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

If you can try another school, you might need to.

No other option.

 

26 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

If they've done evals and gone through the IEP process, you can fight for an IEE, where they pay for 3rd party evals

We may do this, thanks.

 

26 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

What is her support level for her autism? Does she have an anxiety diagnosis? 

Initial diagnosis asd2, lately dev ped has been putting asd1 on paperwork after visits. Anxiety diagnosis, yes, also mood disorder nos, sensory, depression.

 

29 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

extended time, that kind of thing.

No problem getting that. Academic accommodations, at least basic ones, are done.

 

30 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

If SLP and pragmatics were not being evaluated as part of your school evals (ie. if those didn't get put on the evaluation consent form), then you're repeating what was already done. This is how obnoxious the system is, yes. Don't eval it, don't own the test, don't run it, so therefore it's not happening. 

Okay, this makes sense. I suggested those tests when we were in the testing phase; they ignored my suggestion.

 

31 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

no you're not likely to get OT

I don't think we need OT, that was just an example. Anything non-academic, kwim?

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DS15 has social skills in his IEP. For 8th grade, a speech therapist worked within his language arts classroom, not only helping him, but also others. Also, he had some personal goals that are non-academic -- working on social cues and nonverbal things (I'd have to pull out his IEP to see the exact goal -- so she would sometimes pull him out of his academic assist (study hall).

I don't know how they will integrate the work with the SLP into his schedule for 9th grade, but the goals are in his IEP, so they will do it. His goals are based on testing that the SLP did, so the school has data on his needs. He has had social goals in his IEP since fifth grade, though, so it is nothing new for him. With his initial IEP back then, however, I did really over prepare for advocating for his need for social in the IEP, because I was determined that he absolutely required it. I was not sure that the school would see the need, because the teachers just kept saying, "social is okay; he has friends," and I had to push for them to test. (Once they ran tests, though, those same teachers indicated lots of social need on their questionnaires.)

I do agree with Peter Pan that schools vary so much. We visited three public high schools and talked about what they would do to execute DS's IEP, and their answers varied widely. To get the school to do something that is not their normal way, you have to be willing to fight for it, unfortunately. Can you hire an advocate to review your case and documents? Or you could hire a a lawyer, but I think advocates are less expensive.

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How many periods are there in the school day? Here we have 7 plus lunch. So for 9th grade, DS15 will have math, language arts, science, social studies, health (one semester), a technology elective (second semester), band, and an academic assist period.

Four core classes plus health and/or gym if they are required, makes five classes. What else is the school saying she has to take? Is it foreign language (that is an elective here)?

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1 hour ago, Innisfree said:

Initial diagnosis asd2, lately dev ped has been putting asd1 on paperwork after visits. Anxiety diagnosis, yes, also mood disorder nos, sensory, depression.

So there you go, that's what screwed you. At our ps, if the doc, psych, anyone puts ASD1 down, NO IEP, boom, end of discussion. Now that's not the LAW but that's just what they're defacto doing. At our school they live by the letter of the law, so they want it to say significant support (ASD2 or higher) and to prove every jot and tittle with data for every criterion in the legal definition. 

So the anxiety could get supports, but they're probably going to let her fail a bit first. 

ASD2 often includes language issues and the language is a major marking pushing it up to ASD2. Does she nave narrative language delays, self-advocacy issues, anything? Has she been basically mainstreaming for her academics? Like you can use curriculum and she can do it? It's less common to have an ASD2 presentation with a bright or gifted IQ. It tends to make them want to think she should be ASD1, when reality is her support level might really be 2.

Has she been receiving ABA or other services where that professional could come to the meetings and advocate for her or be present by phone? 

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Is she receiving private counseling or mental health services and what is that person saying about the transition? They could teach her relaxation skills to help her get back to her peaceful place between classes.

She also has the legal right to show up at her own IEP meetings and self-advocate. That could be really big. If they don't know her, let her get in their face and say what happens and what she needs. Sometimes you have to stick it in front of them and make the evidence undeniable.

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1 hour ago, Storygirl said:

How many periods are there in the school day?

Four 90 minute classes. So, four periods is the entire day, minus 30 minutes lunch. They do seem willing to let her eat in a quiet place.

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What an attention nightmare. On the plus side, not a lot of transitions. Could work out. 

Has she ever done anything that long? Might want to practice to see what happens and work on skills. And is she on any attention meds or does she have any attention issues? I was told I could take them, haha, but I'm a pistol. If I'm in something that long, I'm going to have to move. I also have to sit at the VERY FRONT. Like literally, whatever I go to, the speaker always knows me, haha. So she may need some preferential seating and permission to take movement breaks. I think I would push this, even if her attention seems ok (which in theory mine is, I mean I made it through school, college, grad school with no accommodations), and use it to let her get SENSORY in. And have the OT teach her or you teach her or the counselor teach her some serious sensory techniques she can do that are discrete. She can do mindfulness discretely. Wall pushups, chair pushups. Go take a break and get some caffeine. Maybe some squeezy balls that give pressure or hand grips. Does she crave input and weight or is she an avoider? My dd uses fidgets, but me I have to have something EXTREME to calm my body. Like sharp candy, weight, sprinting, something. She could take her books and put them in her lap. Gum is considered heavy work so it can be calming. 

So yeah, I would use some open doors there and work in tiny breaks. I can see why they don't want to give her a whole period off, but she'll need things to chill her body. She can also learn to do a tapping form of mindfulness. Maybe the jerks (peers) would leave her alone and not notice, I don't know. Actually I slept through a portion of high school. Still passed. She could do that, just sit there and nap. Check out mentally, read a book, do something else. Take a long bathroom break. Get sick every day at 2 and go to the nurse. I'm on a rabbit trail here. 

Discrete strategies would be good. Sometimes I STOMP when I get up and move. I'm a sensory seeker, so I'm always needing input faster, harder. If she does some mindfulness and brushing in the morning before she goes, it could help. Or have a calming routine afterward, like take her straight from school to a sensory thing that works for her. Do you have a hot tub? Like bring her home, hand her food, and stick her right in the hot tub. Well my dd would scream, haha. But yeah, whatever works for her and calms her.

Can she wear noise canceling headphones at lunch? It wouldn't be very sociable, but it would be a break.

Edited by PeterPan
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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

What an attention nightmare. On the plus side, not a lot of transitions. Could work out. 

Has she ever done anything that long? Might want to practice to see what happens and work on skills. And is she on any attention meds or does she have any attention issues? I was told I could take them, haha, but I'm a pistol. If I'm in something that long, I'm going to have to move. I also have to sit at the VERY FRONT. Like literally, whatever I go to, the speaker always knows me, haha. So she may need some preferential seating and permission to take movement breaks. I think I would push this, even if her attention seems ok (which in theory mine is, I mean I made it through school, college, grad school with no accommodations), and use it to let her get SENSORY in. And have the OT teach her or you teach her or the counselor teach her some serious sensory techniques she can do that are discrete. She can do mindfulness discretely. Wall pushups, chair pushups. Go take a break and get some caffeine. Maybe some squeezy balls that give pressure or hand grips. Does she crave input and weight or is she an avoider? My dd uses fidgets, but me I have to have something EXTREME to calm my body. Like sharp candy, weight, sprinting, something. She could take her books and put them in her lap. Gum is considered heavy work so it can be calming. 

So yeah, I would use some open doors there and work in tiny breaks. I can see why they don't want to give her a whole period off, but she'll need things to chill her body. She can also learn to do a tapping form of mindfulness. Maybe the jerks (peers) would leave her alone and not notice, I don't know. Actually I slept through a portion of high school. Still passed. She could do that, just sit there and nap. Check out mentally, read a book, do something else. Take a long bathroom break. Get sick every day at 2 and go to the nurse. I'm on a rabbit trail here. 

Discrete strategies would be good. Sometimes I STOMP when I get up and move. I'm a sensory seeker, so I'm always needing input faster, harder. If she does some mindfulness and brushing in the morning before she goes, it could help. Or have a calming routine afterward, like take her straight from school to a sensory thing that works for her. Do you have a hot tub? Like bring her home, hand her food, and stick her right in the hot tub. Well my dd would scream, haha. But yeah, whatever works for her and calms her.

Can she wear noise canceling headphones at lunch? It wouldn't be very sociable, but it would be a break.

 

Who teaches all these things?  I need an appointment with that person!  (I have a diagnosis and insurance, but I’ve never done any interventions because I’m almost 40...)  But I get so twitchy at all day conferences...

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7 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I'm surprised they're not at least talking 504 and extended time, that kind of thing.

I agree with this. It sure sounds like she would qualify for a 504 plan. With that, she could have accommodations like quiet place to test, small group, a place to decompress during the day, time with a social worker, friend group at lunch, on and on. Our 504 plans are quite individualized. I would be surprised that anxiety, mood disorder, depression, etc. would not get her a 504.

Although it's not an IEP, a 504 plan is just as strong and legally binding. You DO have the testing to show she has these conditions. I'm not sure if it's the same "wait to fail" model as for academic IEPs, though. Seems like it shouldn't be, since she has medical diagnoses. 

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56 minutes ago, Mainer said:

I'm not sure if it's the same "wait to fail" model as for academic IEPs, though. Seems like it shouldn't be, since she has medical diagnoses. 

I think it's pretty much how much of a pain in the butt you want to be. Has op *signed* anything yet? In our state the evaluation team report gets signed (iirc, me and my brain) then you sign on the 504/IEP. So you have power there to say you need to think before signing, sign as disagreeing, etc. If you have not signed and have not had the process ended (which in our state is done with an official form), then you still have room to bring in your dd. SHE is a valid contributor here and she needs to go in and raise a fuss. She needs to be very precise on what she needs, what happens if she doesn't get those supports, and that she has been receiving them and needs to continue to receive them. 

If the process has already been formally ended, probably just file the dispute and be done with it. Did the evaluation acknowledge the medical diagnoses but say she didn't require support? 

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Note-this is a generalization based on my experiences both as a teacher and parent in public school. Some schools and some states are more difficult than others.

Yep, schools are “wait to fail” or “must show a need” before services are provided even if this is social/behavioral issues. When I child has been enrolled in public school early on, the needs become obvious very quickly, but it can still take 6-9 months to even start to address such issues. Your DD is starting school at a high school where the staff is not used to dealing with those kinds of issues with an academic track student. She is going to have to demonstrate a deficit in specific skills before services will be offered. A diagnosis or label alone means very little when there is no “demonstrated need”. I think you will probably have to look elsewhere for the support that you want unless she starts having meltdowns at school or gets into fights with other students. 

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

I think it's pretty much how much of a pain in the butt you want to be.

I vote for being a major pain in the butt! 😀

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Okay, thanks, everyone.

Just to clarify, she did get an IEP, everyone agreed that was appropriate. 

The IEP specifies things like extended time for testing, checking in with a teacher every day, some executive function help. It's useful, just nowhere near as much as I had hoped to get.

I did go ahead and sign it, for two reasons. Our advocate* said she would gain legal protection once it was signed, which she needs. We can continue to negotiate over details, but needed an IEP as a starting point.

Also, we were dealing with an IEP team from the middle school (which she has never attended) because she is finishing 8th grade now. The middle school people kept saying that certain things I thought should be in the IEP would need to be arranged by the high school where she'll be in the fall. I wanted to finish the process of dealing with the middle school and move on to the high school, where the staff would be able to make commitments to arrange things like the social thinking instruction or breaks during the day.

A few specific points:

5 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Has she ever done anything that long?

Not really. She was in ps in K and 1st grade, and held herself together during the day, only to melt down spectacularly once home. Since then, homeschooling, it's been a big struggle to get through math and language arts daily. When she's working consistently, we've gotten history and science in as well, keeping those subjects fairly simple and not expecting much output. She has never worked for a full school day without major breaks. She shuts down easily and frequently.

 

3 hours ago, Lawyer&Mom said:

She could do that, just sit there and nap

Sorry, this was actually PeterPan, quoted in Lawyer&Mom's post.

She certainly can sit there, nap or zone out. These are skills she possesses. Not sure if she can get away with it, but she will definitely try.

 

7 hours ago, PeterPan said:

She also has the legal right to show up at her own IEP meetings and self-advocate. That could be really big. If they don't know her, let her get in their face and say what happens and what she needs

 

1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

SHE is a valid contributor here and she needs to go in and raise a fuss. She needs to be very precise on what she needs, what happens if she doesn't get those supports, and that she has been receiving them and needs to continue to receive them. 

She won't. She is highly reluctant to acknowledge, to herself or others, that she needs help. She is sufficiently self-aware to want to blend into the crowd and be deeply uncomfortable about needing or getting help. But, she really does need the help.

I think I'm going to have to hound them. I hate being *that* parent.

* The advocate is a long story, but essentially he's got health issues and I'm probably looking for a new one. He did say we could insist on more testing if they tried to deny dd an IEP,  but they didn't do that. We got the IEP,  just not as helpful an IEP as I wanted.

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5 hours ago, PeterPan said:

noise canceling headphones at lunch

This, now, she may be happy to do. Thank you! She loves her noise cancelling headphones.

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2 hours ago, Innisfree said:

She won't. She is highly reluctant to acknowledge, to herself or others, that she needs help. She is sufficiently self-aware to want to blend into the crowd and be deeply uncomfortable about needing or getting help. But, she really does need the help.

She sounds like she's going to internalize everything and fall apart at home. That's what she did before, and it sounds like blending in will be important to her. Since you have a signed IEP and have maxed out what they're willing to promise or possibly even offer, I would look PRONTO for outside supports. I'm with CityMouse on this. Like get an EF coach to help her use a planner with her homework, get a psych to do some counseling for CBT and mindfulness and self-advocacy and problem solving. If all this dumps on you, it could get ugly. They're kinda ugly years anyways. If you can find someone she clicks with and expand the team, I would. If you can't, you'll find a way to get through it.

At least she's in the system. Is her disabling condition on her IEP autism or anxiety or something else? That tells you a lot. Within that there's a realm of the kind of support they're expecting to need to do and ramp up. Yes, going from school to school they'll update the IEP, toss things they don't do at their school, etc. But getting an IEP signed that says a disabling condition you agree with is a really great start. That hurdle is over and then it's just the squeaky wheel and making things happen.

Maybe plant the *idea* of her coming for IEP meetings and see if eventually, over the next few years, she wants to.

You could update her pragmetics, etc. in the mean time if you want.

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IEP is for autism and anxiety as an "other health condition".

I'm going to look into more testing. If possible, we really need the school to pay for it, but that may be hard. 

She's been refusing any sort of counseling or medications, but we can keep offering. And, the school may be willing to help with executive function type stuff. It's asking for social thinking instruction and decompression time which really made their jaws drop.

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Is she kinda sciency so that if you ran genetics she'd find it interesting?

Some people take their teens and older kids straight to the Social Thinking workshops. Maybe Kelly Mahler will speak on interoception at OCALICON again, dunno. She  could go to that.

Edited by PeterPan
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Can she qualify for speech due to communications difficulties in class discussions, oral papers, and so on? Speech is usually able to be covered as an academic service if the child struggles with oral parts of the class, and Speech therapists often work with social language and social skills as well. It can be a backdoor to getting services. The downside is that school speech therapists often don’t work with teens much, and may not be particularly good with them.  At minimum, though, it gets her X minutes a week in a quiet place to recharge her emotional batteries (I had a lot of meltdowns in speech in middle and high school. I’m not sure we progressed on my IEP goals at all, but at least I had a place to go). 

If you can get a “quiet place for testing/assignments without distractions” or the ability to take assignments to the special ed suite, that can serve the same purpose-not to provide acsdmdic support, but a way to give an overloaded kid a “get out of jail free” card so that they can decompress. 

Edited by dmmetler
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On 6/12/2019 at 8:57 AM, PeterPan said:

sciency

Nope. Except as it relates directly to [ deleted].😉

 

On 6/12/2019 at 9:46 AM, dmmetler said:

Can she qualify for speech due to communications difficulties in class discussions, oral papers, and so on? Speech is usually able to be covered as an academic service if the child struggles with oral parts of the class, and Speech therapists often work with social language and social skills as well. It can be a backdoor to getting services. The downside is that school speech therapists often don’t work with teens much, and may not be particularly good with them.

This is something I keep trying with, but it's hard.

Her verbal abilities are her one area on the wisc5 where she really shines. On verbal comprehension she broke into the gifted range. So, she clearly understands stuff, and she has a fantastic vocabulary.

Expressive language is a different matter. I have to work to get more than monosyllables, unless she's talking about [...], and she clearly (to me) does not always remember that not everyone listening has all the thoughts and knowledge she does. But it's subtle. To a teacher, unless they really keep trying to drag ideas out of her, she's going to look like a somewhat sullen, disinterested teen-- which she is!-- but they won't realize there's more to the story.

If she can avoid getting overwhelmed, she may be able to do all right in her classes. I'm really not sure. The work is generally not very hard, and she'll get help in math. I'd just hoped we'd be able to access help targeted to her real needs, and that may take some significant work to make happen, it seems.

Edited by Innisfree

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

Some people take their teens and older kids straight to the Social Thinking workshops.

This, now, I might just do. Have to find one kinda close, and find the money. 

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Expressive language should be evaluated separately for a SLP eval, and is something that an SLP can work with. Realistically, most kids who qualify for SLP will appear as a sullen disinterested kid because it’s easier to be quiet rhan to try to communicate. That should be a flag for evaluation, etc. 

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3 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

 it’s easier to be quiet rhan to try to communicate.

This is her in a nutshell, for anything remotely social.

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31 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

She just comes across as a kid with relatively low IQ overall

That doesn't seem right, lol. She's as strong as her highest scores and as weak as her weakest. So she's gifted with significant disabilities. And if that spread is huge and they don't do a GAI, sometimes they'll say the IQ isn't even valid. So if she has huge discrepancies, I would not consider that full scale IQ accurate, no way.

32 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Expressive language is a different matter.

They could be compelled to care about the narrative language testing, metalinguistics, and pragmatics, all with SLP, yes.

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On 6/12/2019 at 11:01 AM, PeterPan said:

That doesn't seem right, lol. She's as strong as her highest scores and as weak as her weakest. So she's gifted with significant disabilities. And if that spread is huge and they don't do a GAI, sometimes they'll say the IQ isn't even valid. So if she has huge discrepancies, I would not consider that full scale IQ accurate, no way.

Yes. I'm saying this is the appearance she gives.

Gifted with significant disabilities covers it, but may not convey the impression people get.

Edited by Innisfree

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26 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

They could be compelled to care about the narrative language testing, metalinguistics, and pragmatics, all with SLP, yes.

It sounds like this is what we have to do.

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We lucked out when we moved Ds back into public school....the current principal worked in SPED for many, many years before he went into administration. There is generally acknowledgment of the impact of issues, iykwim.

Would they be open to partial days and either online classes taken at home or planning for a 5th high school year with fewer hours taken each semester? Ds can cope until he can’t, iykwim...using anxiety/OHI as the disabling condition opened some doors for us.

Other accommodations include him eating lunch in the resource room (with a few other kids—they play board games), taking gym mid-day daily (for sensory input), getting to wear earplugs and a ball cap, and having permission to take a break when he needs to.

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Also, next time try to get a behavioral support plan in place for the shut downs.

Now that the IEP is signed, a parent can call for a meeting at any time. If she goes to class and is shutting down regularly for the first few weeks, I would call for an IEP to make the adjustments. No reason to drag it all out.

Ds has not had a meltdown all school year. (We have a few days left to go on this school year—keep your fingers crossed for us.) He has had a few shut downs but because we had all of his teachers at his initial IEP, everyone was on the same page as to how to handle that and he was able to cope and come back. The case manager tried to do away with the BSP last week but the teachers advocated for it to remain—it was proof that the BSP was working well, not that it wasn’t needed.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Would they be open to partial days and either online classes taken at home or planning for a 5th high school year with fewer hours taken each semester? 

When I first started talking with them about the IEP, yes. They were full of ideas like a partial day, maybe some online classes done at home, how flexible the high school could be. I was very encouraged.

Once they got her test scores back, that dried up. Then the theme became, "If she can handle the academic work, she must be on that track. Got to graduate in four years. Least restrictive environment means full course load and graduating on time."

It's the intersection between the abilities and the disability which is the problem. 

I think we'll be doing more testing and, yes, I'll be calling for meetings early when things come up.

 

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19 hours ago, Lawyer&Mom said:

 

Who teaches all these things?  I need an appointment with that person!  (I have a diagnosis and insurance, but I’ve never done any interventions because I’m almost 40...)  But I get so twitchy at all day conferences...

Can I just chuckle a moment at this?

I was at a regional estate planning conference a few weeks ago—over 500 attorneys in the room—and I kid you not I think about half the room were losing their minds by the second hour in. People were stimming (clicking pens, tapping feet, rubbing their arms), hyperfocusing, or mentally checking out. 

During break I saw some guys doing burpees discretely in the hallway—in a suit. Others were running steps.

Like, seriously, a high percentage of attorneys are not NT.

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14 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Can I just chuckle a moment at this?

I was at a regional estate planning conference a few weeks ago—over 500 attorneys in the room—and I kid you not I think about half the room were losing their minds by the second hour in. People were stimming (clicking pens, tapping feet, rubbing their arms), hyperfocusing, or mentally checking out. 

During break I saw some guys doing burpees discretely in the hallway—in a suit. Others were running steps.

Like, seriously, a high percentage of attorneys are not NT.

 

Oh my goodness yes.  So many Autistic lawyers (and some of us even know it.)

(I’m way less familiar with the other flavors of “not NT” but I do have one coworker who is openly ADHD...)

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1 hour ago, Innisfree said:

Visual spacial 92,

Have you had her tested by a developmental optometrist? Almost makes you wonder if she has a developmental vision problem holding that score back. I mean, that's a horrific spread. 

1 hour ago, prairiewindmomma said:

People were stimming (clicking pens, tapping feet, rubbing their arms), hyperfocusing, or mentally checking out. 

All behavior under autism is just human behavior that other people do also. So yes, people not on the spectrum stim, fidget, etc. Takes a special breed to be oblivious or not give a rip about the social implications. 

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On 6/12/2019 at 1:11 PM, PeterPan said:

Have you had her tested by a developmental optometrist? Almost makes you wonder if she has a developmental vision problem holding that score back. I mean, that's a horrific spread. 

All behavior under autism is just human behavior that other people do also. So yes, people not on the spectrum stim, fidget, etc. Takes a special breed to be oblivious or not give a rip about the social implications. 

 

Which part of the spread are you thinking suggests a need for testing? The scores are kind of clumped together, except for verbal comprehension and processing speed as outliers, and those don't make me think of vision issues, but maybe they should?

Edited by Innisfree

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We're in the same boat as you - we signed an IEP two weeks ago for our always-homeschooled 14-year-old with ASD2 who will be starting public high school in the fall. He's set up to take a full academic course load, without any non-academic interventions, so we'll have to keep up his therapy and interventions outside of school. 

I'm satisfied with the IEP as it stands, but I know it will take some time for Ds to learn to make appropriate use of his accommodations and we will likely have to make some adjustments depending on what works and what doesn't. I have a good relationship with the high school guidance counselor (my older son has been in the school for two years) and he, the middle school guidance counselor, the middle school special ed teacher, and the school psych all contributed to or reviewed the IEP. Ds will also be assigned a special education teacher as his "case manager", but we won't know who that is until the fall. 

Ds does have an LD in written expression ("partially remediated", according to the school psych report!), so he'll be in a co-taught English class with a special education teacher to work on writing goals and help with AT. Otherwise, he'll be in regular education classes (honors just for math) with a slew of accommodations - taking tests in a quiet testing room with extended time, completing assignments in the resource or testing room when he needs a break from the classroom, breaks from class as needed either in the sensory room, resource room, or a lounge outside the guidance office, etc. A big one for me is that the teachers will be required to provide him with copies of notes for every class, so he hopefully won't be too afraid of missing things. Ds has also visited the school several times, and will visit again the week before school starts to meet all of his teachers. 

We did ask about having non-curricular classes or a study hall in his schedule, but the guidance counselor explained that several years ago the district mandated that all students on the diploma track be on a 4-year graduation plan, so they no longer have any non-curricular courses for diploma-track students. He said if Ds were to be placed in a "social skills" class now, Ds's classmates would mostly be non-verbal. Ds will be allowed to have a study hall in his schedule after freshman year if he earns an extra credit by playing on a school sports team or taking a summer school class. So I've already signed him up for cross-country lol. 

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3 hours ago, Innisfree said:

Her verbal abilities are her one area on the wisc5 where she really shines. On verbal comprehension she broke into the gifted range. Everything else is low end of average or low average. So, she clearly understands stuff, and she has a fantastic vocabulary.

Expressive language is a different matter. I have to work to get more than monosyllables, unless she's talking about horses, and she clearly (to me) does not always remember that not everyone listening has all the thoughts and knowledge she does. But it's subtle. To a teacher, unless they really keep trying to drag ideas out of her, she's going to look like a somewhat sullen, disinterested teen-- which she is!-- but they won't realize there's more to the story.

On testing, again, in written work, she apparently did a decent job of organizing a paragraph. She just comes across as a kid with relatively low IQ overall, low interest in school, quiet and hoping to be overlooked in classes.

If she can avoid getting overwhelmed, she may be able to do all right in her classes. I'm really not sure. The work is generally not very hard, and she'll get help in math. I'd just hoped we'd be able to access help targeted to her real needs, and that may take some significant work to make happen, it seems.

DS15's verbal scores on the WISC are his highest area, but he also has a communication disorder. The communication disorder does not show up on the WISC. Your school did not do enough testing. Your school needs to have an SLP do pragmatic language testing. It sounds like that was not done for the initial IEP, which was an oversight.

You may be in a temporary pickle. Because signing the IEP means you agreed with the plan, even though that plan evidently did not include testing for the pragmatics and social. You may not have realized to ask for it, because it is different than just the verbal ability testing that is standard. Some schools would say,  "Too bad; we did the testing that was legally required by the documents we had. If you desire more testing, you have to prove a need." Proving the need would be private testing results that brings new information to the IEP team. Or teachers who will attest to difficulties they see in the classroom.

The teacher observation thing can be tricky. DS15 is monosyllabic in his responses to teachers, and they have trouble drawing him out, but many/most teachers will not recognize this as a communication disability and will just chalk it up to a disinterested teen. We get that response sometimes from teachers, even though his communication issues are documented with the school.

So I would say that you need to have private evaluations to have data to bring to the IEP team in order to get a change in the IEP. The private reports will not necessarily automatically prompt that change, but they should prompt the school to do their own speech/social testing. However, they will also want input from her high school teachers. You can try to get in somewhere for private testing this summer, but I would guess they will say they need for her to show her disability in the classroom for it to qualify for additional evaluations from them.

For this reason, if I were you, I would schedule a parent teacher conference with each of her teachers a week or two into the school year. You tell them yourself that she has autism and describe the communication issues that are related. Tell them you would like feedback about how much she participates in class and whether she can elaborate on her answers.

Elaborating on answers is a biggie. We discussed that A LOT in DS's IEP meeting. Crazily enough, his draft of his IEP showed he was meeting his elaboration goal, even though there were several teacher comments in their sections about how he doesn't elaborate. I had to highlight that to prove that he really was not doing it. When teachers have 25+ kids per class times multiple classes per day, they don't always remember things like how many words someone used when answering a question.

 

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In theory, you can argue that the school did not do enough during evaluations and therefore must pay for outside testing by a private psych. That's part of the IEP process, when parents are not satisfied. But since you signed off on the IEP, I don't see how you would go back now and say that you don't agree after all.

I'm not blaming you for signing, just explaining. I had a discussion with the special ed coordinator after DS's initial IEP was drafted, where I expressed my frustration that the school did not agree that autism should be tested, even though I kept bringing it up to the IEP team in writing and in the meeting. I was told that since they did everything that I had signed off on, they didn't need to do anything more, unless I brought them proof from outside evaluations that I paid for myself.

So I get it. I've been in that position, where I signed an IEP that I didn't think addressed everything. We did get social goals in there, though, anyway, so I dropped the autism debate.

Ironically, we moved to a different school district, where the special ed coordinator agreed that DS's profile suggests autism and that he should be tested. We still have to do it privately (in process right now), because the school is not set up to do the testing, but this school is acknowledging what they see, at least.

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