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Processing so much...IEP/therapy/starting our homeschool journey with special needs


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Hello,

My 5yo DD has Dravet Syndrome epilepsy. We just had her evaluated, and she has several learning issues stemming from seizure damage and the genetic epilepsy itself: weak auditory processing, cognitive delays, loss of executive functioning (really short attention span...doctor recommended no more than three words of new information at a time), and language processing issues. They are recommending special ed along with speech and OT/fine motor skills therapy Good news...she is very strong in her visual learning and social connections. She has strong gross motor skills. 

Our plan is to keep her in her preschool's junior K program as she is loved and doing well there. Next year, we will start to homeschool her in kindergarten. I am a teacher and would like to teach one more year before I stay home with her. I have homeschooled before with my older children and have every confidence that it is the best path for her right now. She is my youngest.

I am in Virginia. I am looking at trying to get speech therapy in the public school and setting up an IEP or ISP. TBH...a lot of this is new territory for me.

What is the advantage of setting up an IEP/ISP if I plan to homeschool? What are the drawbacks? Virginia has a testing or portfolio requirement. If I don't have an IEP, how do I show adequate progress for her diagnosis if she is under the 25th percentile? Is that where the IEP would be helpful? I am a little overwhelmed with all the paperwork trails and want to make sure I set myself up well.

I have reached out to HEAV and HSLDA, but I have gotten little help so far, especially since I am not yet a member of HSLDA since I am not currently a homeschooler yet.

I would so appreciate any help and advice.

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As you know, federal law mandates the evals/diagnosis but state/local laws drive whether the school writes and implements an IEP. Our state does not require the ps to provide services to homeschoolers, so it varies as to whether a school will write an IEP for that. However our state law requires them to write IEPs for students who qualify in order to use our state disability scholarship system. So i don't know VA and what your state requires/offers. Once you bring her home, you might find it more convenient to use private services for therapies, as you can get better availability, more time, etc. 

Most states have some kind of caveat for homeschool reporting for kids with disabilities. In our state the portfolio reviewer merely needs to sign saying the dc is "performing at ability level." I guess see what the law is in your state. I remember having that angst of how do I show I'm doing a good job if no matter what I do it's going to look (by the numbers, to the casual observer) like I'm not doing a good job. The key there is to find someone to do your portfolio review who has *experience* with SN so they realize what they're seeing and to *build relationship* with them, so they see year by year what you're doing, what your goals are, and how it's going. 

I don't know your dc's long term prognosis, but I can tell you that with my ds once we got over any initial enthusiasm and glibness, I realized that I was going to have be very realistic and thing LONG TERM. With my ds, that's things like emotional regulation, because no other score matters if he's in jail. People who hurt people, don't take their meds, or destroy property go to jail. So everyone who reviews my ds knows where the priorities are. We also prioritize employability skills (which could be on the table if realistic for your dc) and things that make for a good life (leisure, adaptive living, self care, cooking, etc.). 

My ds has a gifted IQ btw. It's just that we're very realistic about where this is going and it allows us to set aside the normal worries and just be laser focused on what a good outcome really means. 

I listened to someone at a homeschool convention, and her name totally slips my mind at the moment. She has a several books on homeschooling SN and a relative here on the boards (maybe on Chat). She had this little mantra about how everything is going to be FINE. Even when it goes wrong, it's going to be FINE. Her talk hit me at a really pivotal time, going into that age 5/6, K5 stage, and it's just something to think about. You can realize a lot of things won't happen, and it will still be FINE. You can be imperfect, and it will still be FINE. 

I think maybe her talk was what allowed me to go from grief to action, to accepting exactly what's going to be and just saying that's fine, that there's a GOOD LIFE ahead and to work toward what that really looks like.

If you want a laugh, I decided for me that a good life with my ds means being able to travel. So we started CRUISING a couple years ago and he loves it!! Now it's wicked hard. This is a kid who couldn't even shower somewhere because it wasn't his tub. We practiced with headphones to be ready for the muster drills and horns because he would get overwhelmed and hit people with loud noises. But it has been worth it, because he can travel and try things. I figured cruising was a formula, a system, and then we could extend it to new places (Europe, CA, anywhere!). 

So you can dream big about what a good life looks like, and you can prioritize those things. I have a friend whose adult sister lived many years with severe (grand mal) epilepsy. And I have an acquaintance friend whose grandchild deals with genetic epilepsy. There's kind of a range, so I don't know the projected outcome with yours. But I think you can think good thoughts about what a good life looks like and work toward that and not let all the traditional homeschooling ought tos wear you down. If you get the right portfolio reviewer, it should work out.

Edited by PeterPan
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Oh my, I'm googling this. So it mentions CBD. I don't know if you've looked into it, but my friend's loved ones are using it (successfully) I think for their dc's genetically driven epilepsy. I don't think they like to talk about it, and at the time it necessitated a move, etc. 

Does your county offer respite funding? 

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https://www.doe.virginia.gov/families/private_home/index.shtml  Your state dept of ed says "adequate level of educational growth or progress." That's probably jibberish for appropriate progress. You'll document that you did things with her, provided her an enriched environment and appropriate services/therapies, and they'll know that whatever progress she makes is appropriate/adequate to her situation. 

Shhh, but my ds12 is still learning his multiplication. His IEP team raised their eyebrows slightly but DID NOT CARE because we got a much bigger goal last year, the ability for him to say what he was feeling and why and use it to problem solve. The latter will keep you out of jail and the former (multiplication) will not. 

The only people who give me a hard time are people who don't know disabilities. So obviously be careful who you talk with. But I think once you find the right person to do your portfolio reviews, you'll be fine. There's basically no way you're going to fail in this situation, because it will be obvious that you're making choices with love and compassion to give her a good life. It will show. I try to make sure I have things that show he's worked with. So they can see (from our funding usage) that we have x hours of therapy a week. And I take pictures. Even of things like cooking together and whatnot. You'll probably do play dates or other enriching experiences, and you'll just keep logs or make paper trail with that. Art you do together, whatever you do. As long as you're spending the time, the progress she makes is just what is realistic for her.

Edited by PeterPan
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43 minutes ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

Our plan is to keep her in her preschool's junior K program as she is loved and doing well there.

What about it works for her? To me that is always the challenge, to realize why something is working and not lose it in the transition, lol.

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There are a few reasons we want to keep her there. It is very play-based, which we feel is a good approach for her. We definitely intend to keep that into homeschooling. She has also had a TON of crazy transition in her life, and we want to keep her there this year to add some stability. She is also just not ready for kindergarten, and Jr. K is really our only option while we plan for the loss of income and transition home next summer. 

However, it is not rosy. She started in January, and by February, we were meeting with the school to discuss how behind she was. We were initially thinking kindergarten where I teach, but she was not ready, and now we know why. She struggles to sit still during a story and needs a lot of one-on-one hand-over-hand to stay on task. They have a good ratio of students to teachers that helps. They can also struggle to understand her, and masks do not help anyone with that! But the sensory play, social connections and play-based learning have helped her grow...even if it is still delayed. 

After Jr. K, her only option would be public school special ed or homeschooling. We think homeschooling is the better fit as we can encourage play-based learning and give her the support she needs without social stigmatization. 

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I just saw the last comment at first and responded to that.

Thank you for your feedback. Right now, we are blessed that her seizures are under control with a good medication. She's almost 2 years seizure free! 

I appreciate your perspective about a good life. I am honestly still grieving and processing all of the diagnoses and coming to grips with what all of them mean compared to what I see in her. Thanks for the encouragement. Truly.

I think the portfolio is the way to go for this, but I wasn't sure if I need the IEP to show her diagnosis to prove she is making adequate progress or just her medical records. As far as therapy, it'd be nice if it works our for the public school to provide it, but I am prepared to go private. I just want them to do the speech eval right now as our neuropsych didn't cover all of that. But if there is a big con to getting an IEP with homeschooling, I just want to do due diligence up front before I find out later.

Thanks for helping me navigate this new road.

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Ok, so has she had a neuropsych eval? That's pretty phenomenal if she has been seizure free two years. 

https://www.therapro.com/Differential-Processing-Training-Program-Acoustic-Tasks.html  You might see if this series would be within reach or address her auditory processing weaknesses. It's something you could do with her. 

It seems like you've got some window to try therapies because you have this pause in the damage. I guess see what happens.

1 hour ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

doctor recommended no more than three words of new information at a time

So this means it's affecting what she's taking in in school. Your placement sounds great, but her inattention makes sense. When a dc is not processing, they're not very motivated to stay put. My ds' ability to sit and watch tv (something most people take for granted kids can do!) was not there. Does she watch tv? What tv works for her and what doesn't? That will tell you a lot. You might try simple things, like sign language for toddlers type videos. Have you tried Signing Time with her? They have a Signing Time for toddlers series that uses less/slower language. Single word, picture. 

45 minutes ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

I wasn't sure if I need the IEP to show her diagnosis to prove she is making adequate progress or just her medical records.

Oh mercy, I would just tell the person what is going on and that should be enough. What you will want to do is renew the IEP when you have the chance. No need to let it lapse intentionally.

46 minutes ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

I just want them to do the speech eval right now as our neuropsych didn't cover all of that.

You're going to get a more thorough eval if you do it privately. Maybe you'll luck out, but in my small experience that won't be the case. And you won't realize it because they might not even own the tests you would need. Some do, but others won't. So an SLP who does a lot with literacy or expressive language would be more likely to have the detailed tests a ps is less likely to run. You can see what the ps does and you should go ahead and let them do their thing. But if they just run screeners like the CELF, there's a lot more detailed testing that could be done.

I'm just cynical I guess. My ds had moderate to severe apraxia, and his IEP said something like 20 minutes a week for speech therapy. I got him 2 hours a week for 20 years. That's a pretty big difference. And he has needed tons of language work on top of that and even though he currently has ( I lose track, maybe 4 hours a week?) of SLP services I'm funding, NOBODY wants to touch his actual langauge development needs. So I'm sitting here working on conjunctions, clauses, narrative language, etc. with him. They all like the more fun/flighty stuff like "conversation". Sigh. So I'm cynical and jaded, yes. 

You'll probably be most happy if you do everything the ps will make happen AND do whatever you can figure out privately.

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1 hour ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

We think homeschooling is the better fit as we can encourage play-based learning and give her the support she needs without social stigmatization. 

Well you're going to nail the play based thing. Can't guarantee on the no social stigma. People will still shun you if they think you're going to contaminate their kids. Maybe if your dd's social skills don't suck it will work out well and better than it has here. 

Whatever she's doing in school will give a good springboard (assuming it's going well) to make homeschooling go well. Maybe just be very realistic. Like my ds does well in looser (not loser, looser) groups, unschooler kinds of settings, things that are lower pressure (show up at the park, show up for mini golf, etc.). He can do well in a single class of high interest with a co-op. But just to "go" to a co-op and participate, that's not a good fit. So it's actually hard to find a good fit with him, especially with covid. 

You may find that poor fit happens too because she'll be in a different place academically. It means you're looking for nonacademic based socialization, and that's harder to find.

Since the gross motor is intact, you might look for homeschool gymnastics, homeschool swimming, try your Y, etc.

Edited by PeterPan
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1 hour ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

while we plan for the loss of income and transition home next summer. 

If she's going to be below your state's mandatory age, you might let her have a year (after this one) with a grandma. Seriously. 

Edited by PeterPan
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I would investigate her social options with homeschool.  This will depend on her and on what is available.

It will depend on what social stigmatization looks like for her.

I would encourage you to think about what social stigmatization you think will come specifically from a special Ed placement, and what will come from things that will still be the case whatever the environment is.

And, what her own self-awareness is.  
 

If you already know people or could try things here and there, it would go a long way to have a sense that she would thrive socially with homeschool.

It would not take much if you already know people!  Or if you already know there are inclusive groups!

Anyway — what does “a good experience” look like for her?  That is a question to always look at.  It is hard, sometimes it looks a way that is unexpected.  
 

If she would be aware of social stigma, that is very different and really changes things.  
 

Personally — I think, for example, at church — it is not likely someone will have an idea that she is either in special Ed or not in it, it is just not something people know.  If things would only matter in a school environment, they won’t matter at church. 
 

But if things would come up at church, they are going to come up whether she is in special Ed at school or not.

 

I don’t know if I am reading too much into this, but sometimes it is just not possible to opt out of things coming up and having to be handled/addressed, and I think some issues will happen either way.  
 

 

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Things have changed over the years for my son, but pre-school can be an age where kids still blend in, and then as other kids become more mature and everything, kids can stick out a lot more.  
 

For us, it came up everywhere.  It came up at church.  It came up at the library.  It came up at McDonalds.  In the sense that — it was a noticeable thing.

It wasn’t like — if he hadn’t been labeled, all these other environments would have been great.

I would say — it is something to get used to over time, it is not so bad!

I used to dread my son being older and not being able to pass for just a large-sized younger kid any more.  Well — it was not as bad as I had thought it would be!  

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Posted (edited)

Her social connection is strong, but she comes off a bit younger. She is small for her age, and she blends in more in preschool for now. I have talked to the local special ed teacher, and everything felt like a bad fit for her and for us. It was more than just the social aspect.

While I don't think we will be stigma free, we have a community of friends and church, and she has her siblings, and we can find multi-age outlets for her. This is one of many reasons I think homeschool will be best for her. There are many special needs resources in our area as well. Nothing is perfect or easy, but it is still the best option. 

She loves TV, especially princess shows and normal preschool/Disney shows. And I am planning to start signing time too.

She is verbal and fun and likes people and playing with dolls, etc. She has fooled professionals before. But she has a disconnect when she is overloaded with auditory input. She might repeat a question instead of answering it or turn away or wander off. She has a very short attention span. She struggles with language processing and doesn't always have all the words intelligibly. With Dravet Syndrome, they start off normal in their development and then stagnate for some time or suffer seizure damage. The stagnation or slowing is creating more of a gap than a year ago. She's had fewer seizures than some (although they were serious ones) and has found a good medication and is one of the higher functioning Dravet patients, but she still has many hurdles. We are blessed to know all of these things before she starts school. She will be 6 when we start kindergarten next year. 

As far as the speech eval, I am prepared to go private if necessary. If I am planning to homeschool anyways and go private for therapy and don't need it for her evaluation, what is the advantage of having the IEP? 

Edited by AdventuresinHomeschooling
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Our state has scholarships for kids with IEPs, so for us, it's a nice CYA for portfolios, and it helps us access services we couldn't afford.

I would strongly recommend auditory processing evaluation/therapy with someone from igaps. And the language testing/therapy. It sounds like input is where things glitch the most. If she's fooled professionals before, I can see this issue getting exponentially worse as it sounds like she comes across as having better language skills. Seeming more together with language is a really insidious problem that tends to get uglier without really good data and really good intervention, IME. It also leads to being treated poorly sometimes by people who think things are okay (the child gets blamed for not trying, etc.). 

 

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I think it is a huge difference if you have talked to the special Ed teacher, AND you already have a community.  
 

And having interests that are very common but a little younger — this is also something where I think it will be easier to find activities.

 

Not that it is important to have a ton 😉
 

Our insurance has required various things.  Sometimes it does require an IEP.  
 

Where we lived 3 towns ago — there, the public school therapist options were better than the private options (we had a good therapist who worked part-time at Head Start and part-time private — my older son was private but covered by insurance).


It was because they got benefits from working for the public schools, and foe their situations they were better off to receive benefits than to receive a higher hourly wage.  That was just what the situation was there for children, for speech and OT.  For speech therapy — the best options were through school and through a university speech clinic.

 

This will depend on your daughter and her needs — when I say “the best,” I mean “the best for such-and-such.”  
 

It will depend a lot on how big a place you live and how far you can drive for therapy.

 

But ime — for autism, not every speech therapist is going to work with kids with autism.  And then if someone specializes in autism (or enough to be good ;)) — then do they have enough private clients that they would not rather work in a public school for benefits?  
 

It will depend on their situation, and — how many clients they would have, and how supportive the public school system is, etc.  

 

It is just not a given, every single place, that the best therapist will be private pay.  
 

And then — it will depend what is realistic for you to drive.

 

I am someone where frankly — driving 1-1.5 hours one-way is not realistic for my son.  It is truly not realistic.  
 

For other people — that is *totally* both *realistic* and *worthwhile.*
 

Anyway — if there is any kind of parent support group, or if you can do “real talk” with a special Ed teacher (if they even would know), maybe you can find out if you really truly have several therapist options who would all be a good fit.  Or if you would be better off with a certain person, because that is who has the right specialization locally.  And then is that person working private-pay, or in the school district?

 

If you hear “so and so works in the school district and is wonderful” — well, that is a reason to do an IEP!

 

But if you have got equally good, or better, options with private pay, then that is an area where there is no advantage to an IEP.  
 

The thing is — it depends on where you live!

 

There are totally people on the board who can get the same or better with private pay, compared to through a school district.

 

It seems like this is also likely to be possible if you either live somewhere like this or could drive.

 

Places I have lived (I have lived in two areas, one a small town, one rural, like this) you just do not find private speech therapists who work with elementary school aged students with special needs.  
 

You can find them for pre-school, because — there are enough clients who have daytime availability, and it can be a desirable job for a therapist to do while he/she wants a more flexible job while his/her own kids are little.  But there are not enough daytime clients with older kids, to work private pay — then they may work part-time public school for benefits and part-time private pay during after-school hours, because that is when most private-pay students are available for therapy.

 

Anyway — I am familiar with this for two specific places I have lived, and they were not the same as each other!!!!!!!!  One was close enough to a city than many people did drive to the city.  In the other — just a few people drive to the nearest city (which didn’t have as many options compared to the other place I lived).  And then — very high quality therapists, may be working for the public school district, for benefits, or because that is where their clients are (if they do specialize and there is no scholarship etc and fairly few special needs students homeschooling — while other places have scholarships and providers know that is a good option).

Anyway — you may already know all this and know private pay is the way to go.

You may have a private pay therapist who can work with her Indefinitely and who plans to stay private pay for the rest of his/her career.
 

But it just depends — and depending on how specialized of therapy your daughter needs, or if she could do very well with many people without a need for specialized knowledge/experience — it could be something where you have many good options, or not so much.   
 

If she will do well with therapy associated with a younger age group, just at a slightly older age — you will have a ton of options, I think.  

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Thanks for your input. I live in a huge metropolitan area and am a current private school teacher who has interacted with other therapists before. I have lots of private and public opportunities for therapy here, and the county has a list of special needs therapists available too. My neuropsychologist and neurologist with the children's hospital can also refer me to someone. We have decided we can no longer live anywhere without a children's hospital. She will likely receive a Medicaid waiver soon that should also cover some therapy. Finding someone for therapy is not really a concern as much as affording therapy. That said, I am not opposed to working with the district if that is a good fit for her, but we are not limited. I don't know if the public school will provide therapy though. They are not required to do so here...it is dependent on funding. They will do the evaluation.

On 6/29/2021 at 4:03 PM, kbutton said:

Our state has scholarships for kids with IEPs, so for us, it's a nice CYA for portfolios, and it helps us access services we couldn't afford.

 I must say, Florida has been tempting us lately for a few years down the road, and I noticed they have state scholarships for special needs. Maybe having an IEP in place will make it easier to transfer should we choose to do so. 🙂 

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On 6/28/2021 at 11:19 PM, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

We are blessed to know all of these things before she starts school.

I agree with you! I'm so impressed that you got evaluations when she's so young. Awesome job!!

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Posted (edited)

I could be wrong about this — but I don’t think it would be worth maintaining an IEP for several years in order to transfer it.

You could maybe pursue an IEP 1-2 years before you would move.

Often IEPs are renewed every 3 years, so to maintain it I think you would need to do the renewal process if the move was more down the road.


You could also look and see what the timelines are — off the top of my head I think if you moved and then asked for her to be considered in Florida, they would have 90 days for an evaluation and then 90 days to set up an IEP.  Those are maximum times off the top of my head (you can Google or ask).  It might not be a bad timeline to wait and apply in Florida, depending on various things.  
 

Edit:  on the other hand — it might be better to have one ready to transfer!  

Edited by Lecka
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Ime there are a lot of places that take the Medicaid waivers, I hope there are good ones where you are.

With what you said — it makes me think going private with a mix of the Medicaid waiver, self-pay, private insurance etc, does sound like a good option!  
 

Waivers are very confusing.  Sometimes that can mean basically you qualify for a state health insurance program.

Sometimes it is a specific thing that is a waiver program, and you get into that program.  Like — there might be an autism waiver or a dd/id waiver, and someone might qualify for both waivers, and the 2nd waiver is more of a program.

It is confusing when people say waiver this, waiver that, if you don’t know what program they are talking about exactly.  
 

It’s something you might ask or look up, because sometimes people are talking about different things.  

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On 7/2/2021 at 12:41 PM, Lecka said:

It’s something you might ask or look up, because sometimes people are talking about different things.  

Good to know. I was under the impression that she would qualify for Medicaid as she has been diagnosed with such severe epilepsy and now learning disabilities. I will look into this more with our neuropsychologist and county.

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Some states have income caps.  
 

I would think anything you currently assume — will be correct for your current state.  
 

But things can be very different between states.  Even similar services may not be organized in the same ways.  
 

 

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Okay — this will depend by state.

In general you hear a lot about Medicaid insurance.  That is like medical insurance and could cover therapies.  In many states there is an income cap.  
 

You may be hearing about Medicaid waiver programs.  These are also through Medicaid (or may be through Medicaid, or may require qualifying for Medicaid, etc, etc, it depends on the state).
 

This may be a waiver program that is not an overall health insurance kind of thing, but is specific for certain groups.  Children with medical needs or therapy needs are often a group for waiver programs.

 

They can be separate things with separate application processes and eligibility.  
 

And again — it is set up differently by state!

 

But it is possible for people to say “Medicaid” and it can mean either thing.  
 

There are also sometimes state programs that are specifically for families who are not eligible for Medicaid bc income cap, but then it will cover similar things for children who need expensive therapy.  
 

It’s very likely providers you see will have this kind of information, or know the names of programs (they might be called a state something or a something scholarship).  
 

 

  
 

 

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In my state, Medicaid on its own does have an income cap. But per our neuropsychologist, she is eligible for a waiver, and she's providing me with the necessary paperwork. The waivers are handled through the county in my state, but there is no income cap on the waivers. For SSI, yes, there is an income cap. I am sure this varies by state. We used to live in California, and I just learned they have a program that will pay you minimum wage (going up to $15 an hour, maxed out around $3300 a month) to be your child's special needs caregiver, so yes, every state is definitely different.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/22/2021 at 6:50 PM, prairiewindmomma said:

Thank you for your thoughtful response. It is very helpful. 

I am so sorry for your loss. 

I will continue to consider all of our options, but there are many reasons we believe homeschooling is the best fit for her for now. We always take a one year at a time approach for all of our kids, and I fully recognize there may be a time when homeschooling is no longer the best fit.

I do agree that private therapy will likely be better. It will just depend on what we are offered through the schools and what we can afford to do on our own. 

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8 hours ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

I will continue to consider all of our options, but there are many reasons we believe homeschooling is the best fit for her for now. We always take a one year at a time approach for all of our kids, and I fully recognize there may be a time when homeschooling is no longer the best fit.

I do agree that private therapy will likely be better. It will just depend on what we are offered through the schools and what we can afford to do on our own. 

Hey, I kinda lost the flow here, but I want to say that OF COURSE homeschooling will probably be great for her! When you say therapy on your own if you want private, are you saying your insurance is not kicking in? Fwiw funding is always the big fight. You started this thread asking about an IEP. Federal law requires all public schools to identify students with disabilities affecting their ability to access their education. However *state* law decides whether the ps will then write an IEP and then further whether the ps is required to provide services to homeschoolers. Increasingly states are providing disability scholarships, so that would be something to look into. You also mentioned getting a medicaid waiver, connecting with your county board, etc., all very wise. Some counties offer more funding than others. Our county offers a small stipend, but the county adjacent to us (part of a BIG city) literally completes out any therapy services your other resources don't hit. It's incredible. So sometimes moving can get you more access to funding.

The ps therapy services are typically pretty brief and they're going to be very specifically tied to IEP goals. So if you say wait, hold up, we really need to work on xyz because it's foundational (say auditory processing, whatever) they may say sorry charlie the IEP goals are what we work on. They ONLY have to make goals that affect the dc's ability to access their education and it's going to march forward. So for instance my ds with apraxia (a severe motor planning of speech problem) was offered 15 minutes of therapy a week by the ps in his IEP but got 2 hours a week privately, which is what he really needed. He has beautiful speech now btw. 

So that's just stuff you're going to work out. 

On 7/2/2021 at 8:57 AM, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

I must say, Florida has been tempting us lately for a few years down the road, and I noticed they have state scholarships for special needs. Maybe having an IEP in place will make it easier to transfer should we choose to do so.

Your IEP is a legal document, basically a contract of service, for one year. Each year you *renew* the IEP, and whether your ps is required to *renew* your IEP is again driven by state law and sometimes local procedures. Our state does *not* require the ps to write an IEP for a homeschooled student *unless* the student is applying for a state disability scholarship. Some ps will choose to write an IEP and provide services to homeschool students anyway, because of course they partially enroll the student and get the state funding. 

In other words, unless for some reason your ps renews the IEP (which they may not be required to do) your IEP will be old news in a year anyway. There are transfer laws for how IEPs transfer to the new state, yes. And just a hint, but no Florida does not have the best disability scholarships. Keep looking. :smile:

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I had a private OT who was selling Advocare drink mixes in the waiting room of the therapy center.  It was ridiculous.  
 

I wish I could say I left immediately, sigh.  I left within a few months.  
 

I have had some poor experiences with private therapy.

 

I have also had wonderful experiences with private therapy 🙂

 

My number one complaint/observation is that I think some therapists overly ingratiate themselves to parents and the parents can notice that and not notice the quality of the therapy.

 

I think therapists should get along with parents and be a resource, and all of those things, but not to the point they are friends with the parents and there doesn’t seem to be as much emphasis on the child.  
 

I like it when the focus is kept on the child.  

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 7/26/2021 at 8:39 AM, PeterPan said:

 

Your IEP is a legal document, basically a contract of service, for one year. Each year you *renew* the IEP, and whether your ps is required to *renew* your IEP is again driven by state law and sometimes local procedures. Our state does *not* require the ps to write an IEP for a homeschooled student *unless* the student is applying for a state disability scholarship. Some ps will choose to write an IEP and provide services to homeschool students anyway, because of course they partially enroll the student and get the state funding. 

In other words, unless for some reason your ps renews the IEP (which they may not be required to do) your IEP will be old news in a year anyway. There are transfer laws for how IEPs transfer to the new state, yes. And just a hint, but no Florida does not have the best disability scholarships. Keep looking. :smile:

It is my understanding that IEP's do not expire. They are renewed annually with new goals, but they never go away as learning disabilities do not go away. A new IEP would be written in a new state, but having a paper trail would give better precedence, just as my private eval made the public school eval meeting go very quickly and smoothly. We are currently pursuing an ISP through the public schools. We will see what is actually offered. I have an HRA to fund some therapy, but the expectation is to eventually get her on Medicaid that will cover it.

Regarding Florida, there are several new amendments to the Gardiner Scholarship that I find appealing, especially for siblings and no prerequisites on previously attending public school. Whether it is the best is probably up to the same debate as what makes the World's Best Coffee. 🙂 It doesn't hurt that I am from there either. But it is likely not happening anytime soon.

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On 8/25/2021 at 3:23 PM, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

It is my understanding that IEP's do not expire. They are renewed annually with new goals, but they never go away as learning disabilities do not go away. A new IEP would be written in a new state, but having a paper trail would give better precedence, just as my private eval made the public school eval meeting go very quickly and smoothly. We are currently pursuing an ISP through the public schools. We will see what is actually offered. I have an HRA to fund some therapy, but the expectation is to eventually get her on Medicaid that will cover it.

Regarding Florida, there are several new amendments to the Gardiner Scholarship that I find appealing, especially for siblings and no prerequisites on previously attending public school. Whether it is the best is probably up to the same debate as what makes the World's Best Coffee. 🙂 It doesn't hurt that I am from there either. But it is likely not happening anytime soon.

It's not true that IEPs are forever.

After the initial IEP is written, there is an annual review, where the IEP team goes over the progress toward the goals and makes any needed changes. Sometimes things are added to the IEP goals, and sometimes things are removed, if they are no longer needed. An IEP team could decide at any annual meeting that the student is doing well enough that the IEP is no longer needed -- for example, if they meet all of their goals and are doing so well that the school thinks no new goals are needed. Parents are members of the IEP, but the school can end an IEP, even if parents don't agree, as long as the team as a whole decides it is not needed any more.

If you move school districts, the new district will take the IEP from the other district and rework it according to the way that the new school does things. We've done this.

Every three years, the school must rerun testing. At this point, if the student is performing well enough that the test scores no longer indicate a need for intervention, the school can drop the IEP.

For example, my DD16 has dyslexia, but she no longer needs reading or writing goals in her IEP. She would have lost her IEP, except she did qualify as still needing intervention in math. So she still has dyslexia, YES. The learning disability did not go away. But she no longer needs an IEP for the dyslexia. If her skills in math improve enough, she may lose her IEP after her triennial evaluation this fall. At that point, the school could change her to a 504, which would provide the accommodations that she needs, but the IEP would no longer be in place.

My son DS16 happens to have a 504, and he is currently in the process of having his 504 dropped, because he is no longer using his accommodations and no longer needs it.

So even though an IEP does not "expire," it is not guaranteed to go on forever, and neither is a 504. The existence of a learning disability is not enough to qualify for an IEP; there must be a demonstrated need for intervention or special education. There are kids in school who have LDs who do not have IEPs or who used to have IEPs but no longer need them.

Edited by Storygirl
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Posted (edited)

Yes, they can be closed. But they do not have a set expiration. Thanks for the clarification.

While I am thinking of special ed as a long-term thing, I suppose it is possible that they would no longer recommend her for special ed at some point if she made enough progress even if she struggled in a mainstream class.

Homeschooling is seeming more and more attractive for her future.

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I am in Virginia and do a lot of work with special education homeschoolers.  The state leaves it up to individual school districts as to what services they will provide to homeschooled students. Often, it's only speech. If they do provide that, then they will convert the IEP to an ISP.

If you decide not to use services and don't plan to return to public school, there's really no reason to keep the ISP. At the end of the school year, you can choose to do an Evaluation with a licensed teacher or a person with a master's degree. That person will evaluate the child and write a letter saying the child has made "adequate academic progress". 

Every Evaluator does things differently - when I do Evaluations, if a student has an ISP or a previous IEP, I'll take a look at it when I do my Evaluation, but it isn't required. I just talk with the parent about what they've been working on that school year. All the state needs to see is that the student is making progress. That looks different for every kid!

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

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