September 11, 2009,
S.L. asks from Groton, MA on September 09, 2009
How Do I Change an IEP That I Already Signed?
My 3 year old has a speech delay, so much in fact that 99% of people cant understand a word he says. In June I had him evaluated by the school and he scored average-above average in all area except speech. They said he qualfied for a services only iep. I decided that I would enroll him in the preschool and he could get the 2 30 minutes of speech they offered during the day. Well, over the summer, finanes did a 180 and there is no way I can pay for his school ($300 a month). I contacted the school office but we cant qualify for financial aid, so I cancelled the preschool. The principal asssured me that he would come in for his speech twice a week anyways. I have yet to hear from them, even after phone calls, nothing. I did get my son into a preschool program, only because the adminstrator knows my son and she was sympathetic and gave us a discount, but still...doesnt my son deserve a fulll program with specialists and therapy? How will he ever gain so much speech that in less than 2 years he will be ready for Kindergarten? Yes, I did sign the services only IEP, but now I think I made a mistake. Alls I can think of is him going into school and being so far behind that no one plays with him because he still speaks like a toddler (though he isnt that far advanced yet!) HELP!! I want to be a strong advocate for my son, but so far Im not getting what is best for him. How do I get a new IEP and is there anything I can do to change the decision to get him preschool as well included in the IEP?
Thanks for your time!
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M.B. answers from Hartford on September 10, 2009
The speech was through the preschool itself or through the town or city? If it's through the town or city they should come out to whatever program you have him enrolled in since there's a need there. I would give the town special ed services a call and let them know you have enrolled him in a different school and would like his services performed there. They should be able to tell you what needs to be done. You can also talk to the school director where he is now. They might have some suggestions for you or could know who's in charge of speech and could get the person out there. A simple thing like changing the location shouldn't be too big of a deal. He still needs the services. Plus an IEP has to meet the needs of a child and if it's not meeting the needs then it needs to be changed. If they can't come to this school then they would have to provide some other place where he can get his speech.
H.Y. answers from New London on September 10, 2009
I work as a Paraprofessional with a Special Educational Department in the local high school where I live. I always refer to the old adage "The squeaky wheel gets the oil!" First, you have every right to expect that your child receive any special educational services that he qualifies for & needs. Go to your town or city's school district where you live and call the Superintendent's Office- ask if they have a Director for Special Education. Explain to them what has happened and ask them what can be done. You may have to "make some noise"- keep checking with people to make sure that things are getting done. Ask if they can arrange a PPT( a meeting with different professionals in the educational field who will do specific tests to assess your son's needs.) Check with your town hall or city hall to see if they have a Youth Services that may be able to point you in the right direction. In the meantime, I will ask a teacher whom I work with if she knows of websites to go to for additional help. ( Try Special Education in your state on Bing or Google to see where it might lead you. You may want to look in the blue pages of your phone book for your state's education department or Special Education if it's listed. Your state should have a website that explains your rights & your child's rights to their educational needs.)
I believe your son will be OK, but never be afraid to fight for what he needs- he is your son and of course you want him to get all the help he needs. I wish you the best!
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Y.H. answers from Hartford on September 10, 2009
An IEP can be changed at any time if the school or the parents request because they see a need. Contact the school and ask that they retest him. Then when they return with the recommendations you request that preschool be a part of the IEP. If this is a public school they should have no problem.
T.J. answers from Hartford on September 10, 2009
From your description of the evaluation results a "services only" IEP is exactly what your son is entitled to, the "services only" means he is not delayed cognitively which would require special education services (preschool provided by the school district) to increase his knowledge to an age-appropriate level. Speech services will be delivered either at the preschool your son is enrolled in or by you bringing him to the speech/language pathologist (therapist). To ensure he is getting the services go to your district's website, look for the name & number of the Special Services or Student Services Director and call that person.
L.B. answers from Boston on September 10, 2009
Yes, you can ask for a new IEP by calling the school and requesting an amendment meeting.
If you are looking for free preschool you won't get that as your son only qualified for speech services not for special education. Those children who have cognitive or physical delays are entitled to the free preschool. Your son would act as a role model for them and benefit by receiving services by the speech and language dept. of the school while he is there.
Being a stay at home mom affords you the time to bring him... your luck.. I know many working mom's who have difficulty fitting in the therapy during their lunch hour.
The way you can still receive the services is to bring him to the school for his 2xs 30mins of therapy a week. Unfortunately most if not all public schools require you come to them for therapy not the other way around.
R.C. answers from Boston on September 11, 2009
I read your previous posts and I'm thinking that your son needs a more thorough evaluation. My reasoning is that he has experienced difficulty with speech sounds, vocabulary and social skills. This is a full communication disorder and usually cannot be appropriately addressed in an isolated therapy session. An integrated preschool in your public school should be made available for him, and he would most probably qualify with the correct testing. Also, you previously mentioned a consideration of Autism. This is a great time to have him fully evaluated.
If you are not getting contact by the system, please contact an advocate ASAP.
J.A. answers from Boston on September 10, 2009
I don't know where you live, but if you contact the Office of Pupil Services at your Public School Dept. they should be able to help. In Massachusetts they are required to test and provide services to qualifying children even of preschool age. If your circumstances changed then the plan should be adjusted. If your son is really as delayed as you say he should qualify for free preschool through the Public School Dept.
Don't take no for an answer. If you can't get the right person, call the superintendent's office and ask for direction. Finally, if you are getting nowhere you are entitled to an advocate. Ask for a referral. Your public school department should have given you paperwork as to your rights with the original IEP. Keep squeaking. The squeaky wheel gets greased.
Additionally, you may want to get an independent evaluation. If you have private health insurance, call the local Children's Hospital Neuropsych Dept. regarding testing. The waits can be very long, so you might not want to delay.
S.T. answers from Boston on September 10, 2009
An IEP is supposed to be a fluid document, meaning it changes with the needs of the child. If it says that he should be getting speech than they are obligated to provide that. Remember that they signed the IEP too. With the IEP you should have been given a liaison. I would start by calling that person and explain your change in situation and you need to re evaluate or amend his IEP. If you don't hear back with in 48hrs I would contact the SPED Coordinator for your town.
I have friends that have children on a services only IEP, and if your son only needs speech than they only have to provide that. You may not get preschool no matter how much of a fuss you make if he doesn't meet the criteria for your town. Unfortunately while the schools are required to provide services some will do the bare minimum while others will bend over backwards for each child.
If you still get no results call the superintendent of schools office and complain directly to the top. That should get some action.
Also take some time to look at the Dept. of Education website and familiarize yourself with the SPED laws. That way you are informed and able to best advocate for your child.
C.M. answers from Boston on September 10, 2009
You can always call a new team meeting - that is one of your rights. You may need a '504' instead of an IEP which will cover speech services/therapies outside of the academic program. The public school system would still be the provider. Don't hesitate to call a special ed advocate or the Federation for Children with Special Needs. They can advise you on how to proceed. It is a maze when oyu are first going through the process, so experienced help is really great! Email me if you want the name of an advocate to consult with you. You are right - he needs help now to be kindergarten ready! Also ask your older son's 1st grade teacher to connect your with the SLP at his school and ask for advice from him/her!