January 12, 2007,
S.H. asks from Columbus, OH on November 10, 2006
IEP For My First Grader
I posted before about all of the problems that the school has been having with my daughter. I went to the parent teacher conference, and was not pleased. I found out that my daughter's teacher is leaving the school, and that she plans on telling the kids on her last day. which was supposed to be today. Emilie came home yesterday(after having another rough day) and told me that her teacher is gone, and that they had had a substitute today, and will be getting their new teacher starting on friday. Emilie's "rough" day consisted of her leaving the classroom, because she was upset about her teacher(which I understand, but do not think is ok) and then another teacher(of the third grade) took Emilie around the school with her, making copies, playing in the gym, and even gave her some gum! Emilie was very excited about this, I am not. I think that if Emilie is misbehaving, she needs consequences, she needs consistant consequences, not just when the teachers feel like it. I was told in this parent teacher conference, that they would like to do some evaluations on Emilie, and set her up with an IEP. My first instinct is NO WAY, but I have decided to gather some information, from various places (this being one) I'll tell you why I want to say no, and then I would love some advice on it.
I want to say no because I was slapped with an IEP when I was in the second grade, and stuck with the"bad kid" label, all the way up to when I ended up dropping out of school, to get my GED, I had a miserable time in school, and I am trying really hard to help my girls not to repeat it.I had to take LD classes, even though I have NO Learning disability, and I would have ended up graduating when I was like 22 because by the time I was a senior, I only had 11 credits, thanks to LD classes, that I had no interest in participating in, I would hate to see Emilie in LD classes, she is soooo smart! she is reading on the highest level in her class. Please help me make a resposible informed decision about this IEP, and evauation that they want to do.
So What Happened?™
My X husband and I finally got a meeting to discuss going through with the evaluation, I am VERY happy to report that, they finally heard me. They agree that Emilie is highly inteligent and NOT AT ALL in need of an individual education plan.
So Emilie is fine.
I really appreciate everyones advice on this matter. I am so glad to have all of the different perspectives.
D.M. answers from Columbus on November 10, 2006
My 8 year old daughter has had her IEP since she was in Head Start and is now in the 2nd grade. She is in a class with other children who also have IEPs as well. She has come a long way since she has had all the help from this. When she started in Head Start she could not talk to where anyone could understand her. Now everyone can understand her very well. I think with all the new technologies and everything that these children don't get "labeled" in school like they use to. I really love the fact that my daughter has gotten all the help she needed thanks to her teacher for getting me involved with the IEP. I only have good things to say about it.
E.A. answers from Cleveland on November 11, 2006
I'm a special education teacher (1-4th grades). I can understand your concern. You are your daughter's best advocate and will always be so! This doesn't mean, however, that you shouldn't listen to what the school has to say. They will not slap a label on her without a thorough investigation and assessments. Their goal is to help each student get the correct amount of support in school so they will be as successful as possible. No one wants to limit children by labeling them or writing an IEP for them. It is done to assist them.
I suggest that you keep your voice loud on behalf of your daughter, but that you go into this IEP discussion meeting with open ears as well. Voice your concerns about the labeling....even share your own experiences if you feel comfortable doing so. That will help the teachers to see where you are at with this and they will be better able to work with you and your daughter. It would be sad to find out down the road that there was something that could have been done to improve your daughter's school experiences, but the time has since passed.
Good luck and stay strong! :)
D.K. answers from Cleveland on November 10, 2006
I would have her tested too just to make sure but I would take her somewhere independent. I don't think that the schools should be involved in the decision. I would take her to a phychologist who can do the testing (your pediatrician can even recommend someone). If the results say she needs help then you can take them to the school and create an IEP. If the results show she is "normal" (I have it in quotes because who knows what is normal anyway?)then I would tell the school to mind its own business and to keep your daughter in class and not let her play with other teachers when she should be learning.
J. answers from Cleveland on November 11, 2006
I understand your hesitency to have your child labeled and having an IEP. The most important thing is to advocate for your child. Before having an IEP the school needs to provide interventions within the regular classroom to see if this would help her succeed such as a incentive based behavior plan. Also, the school counselor is trained to help students who need to talk things through and set goals, try this avenue. Unfortunately many grade schools do not have school counselors available daily but find out the schedule. If your child is reading so well and accomplishing academically, LD may not be the label. If her issues are behavioral then this should be the focus. The goal is to keep her in the general classroom and if these interventions are not tried first then the IEP should not even be discussed. If these interventions do not help your daughter succeed then an IEP might be her best option. Special education has changed a lot since you went to school. The goal is to keep the child as close to the general curriculum as possible with the support that is needed. As you can probably guess, I am a special education teacher of students with behavioral/emotional disabilities. I am also a school counselor in training. I know it is hard to hear the negative things about your child. Remember you are an EQUAL member of the team that is discussing your child and you need to share your thoughs and concerns. But also know the the majority of teachers and special educators really want the best for your child. If her behavior does not improve with the interventions then she needs more support. If she recieves the support she needs, over time she can return to the general classroom. I had many students who I had in my classroom all day but eventually would just have contact with during their study hall just to review their behavior and goals and that was enough for them.
A.S. answers from Columbus on November 10, 2006
I would have her evaluated just to rule anything out. You don't want there to be a "problem" and it go undiagnosed. Coming from the teacher aspect of it (I was a teacher before having my girls) the teacher's behavior is out of line, for both teachers (the one that gave her gum, and the one that left without telling the kids). Classes these days for children that need extra help whether is be LD classes or gifted classes are completely different then when we were little. Usually the kids are only pulled out of the "regular" classroom a few times a week for maybe an hour to get the extra help. I think it would be worth looking into if you really think she needs it.
Hope that helped a little bit, sorry I can't help more, but I don't know any more of the story. :)
P.S. answers from Cincinnati on November 10, 2006
Which is your school district?
All I can tell you is through my experience as a teacher and as a parent of a reading disabled kid.
As a teacher: I have had kids of diverse abilities in regular ed classrooms. Sometimes you cannot tell the diff between the kid on an IEP and one who isn't. (Sometimes there are kids who aren't, and should be though!) An IEP does not necessarily have anything to do with inteligence. Sometimes it can. It is a guideline for how and when school lessons should be modified to meet the learning needs of a student from pre K through young adult. The student is still accountable for reaching designated and agreed upon levels of mastery, depending on IQ and some other circumstances. For example, one way to modify a math assignment would be to have an ADD/ADHD type of kid do every other math problem instead of all 20 in a given assignment. Can a teacher tell if the kid understood the lesson off of seeing 10 answere as opposed to 20? Usually yes. Another way to modify might be in breaking down the grading to give partial credit for some accuracy instead of giving all or nothing points. For a language processing /writing deficient kid, they may do more oral answers instead of writing out everything or reading long passages they get an audio version to hear. Teachers are in a transitional generation right now. It seems the young ones, (usually under age 40) are all much more versed in what is an IEP and how to adhere to and apply one in a regular ed classroom. The older ones, esp age 50 and up often are less experienced in this area unless they are in special ed already and or have gone back to school for the training.
LD / Special Education has changed a lot in the past 10-20 years. When did you go to high school? For a kid with normal inteligence and physical health, there is no reason for them to graduate late just because they are in a resource room or on an IEP. The goal these days is to mainstream them whenever possible and ASAP. There are even colleges that accept IEP kids and honor modifications.
My daughter is in 8th grade at Mariemont this year. She was diagnosed in 2nd grade. The school did the testing. I couldn't afford the outside fees, but I suspected she had issues b/c of her temperment and "delayed" academics. I knew she needed intervention of some sort. She is completely normal in IQ. In fact, her vocabulary is HIGH. SHe has incredible memorization skills as a compensation ability. She's smart, and a lot of people who don't know her can't tell a thing....until she reads. Reading is a bear for her, so we get a lot of books on tape-CD. We also still read aloud to her at times. She is quite bright and can comprehend more than an average regular ed kid...The ERB and Acheivement tests show this fact. She sometimes needed a scribe for dictating test answers and having directions read to her, but in junior high that is dramatically decreasing.
Is it that your daughter has more behavior than academic issues? If she is only 6, then she is quite young and has some time to blossom still. It could be just developmental and stil adjusting to all day school. Did anyone ever suspect something in day care or nursery school? I agree that the teacher(s) should not be rewarding her with gum, etc. Food and drink rewards could set up habits you don't want later on in life. If at all possible, she should have been made to re-join the rest of her class with a substitute. She's going to have to adjust to a new teacher at some point anyway.
If Emilie does need an intervention / IEP, please don't deny her the chance to be helped. An IEP can always be re-written and tweeked at any point in time. The intention of teachers is unless other people's safety is a concern, they try to integrate IEP kids with other kids whenever possible these days. It isn't as stigmatized as it used to be. Good luck...P.
L.B. answers from Cleveland on November 17, 2006
Listen S....I have felt everything you're feeling but sometimes the IEP is a good thing. I have a son who gets one every year. He is also very smart and bright. Some people look at the IEP as a way of saying that your child is simply dumb. I am telling you that you have to put forth your best effort into implementing how things should go. I have the final word in all of Cody's educational goals and I know where he is going. Your input is greatly needed for emilie's sake. Most children are gifted in one way or another. This helps determine weakness and strengths for her. Don't stop her from getting the help she needs and can utilize to her best ability.
You have to show her confidence that you are in control and will help look out for best interest. They are not what they use to be (IEP'S). Express to her teachers that you want Homework daily, progress reports, etc., Also, keep corresponding with the teacher through a STENO Pad. The communication between the two you can make a difference in her life and education. I do it all the time and it works for me. Also, don't let Emilie know when you're coming to visit her school and sit in her classroom and watch what the teacher does and how she/he interacts with the class as a whole. The experience will do wonders for you and Emilie...Let me know how things go when you do this, I'm interested.
B.R. answers from Columbus on November 13, 2006
WOW! You have already received a ton of great advise for your question! I am in agreement with almost everyone! I had to fight to get my son on an 504 plan! Both you, your ex and the school should be involved in this process. It will greatly benefit your daughter. Things have changed so much in the past 10-20 years. Be glad that your daughter is only in the 1st grade. The many many years of negativity of having a "label" (which she will get if she doesnt receive the proper help) will damage her! My son is very smart (IQ-126) as you said about your daughter, which is something I questioned for a long time...how can my son who is smart as heck, have so much trouble in school and have reports of being a "bad kid". I know my son, he is not BAD at all! He has been diagnosed as being ADHD TWICE! The second time around, he was also diagnosed with Executive Function Disorder, which is where MOST of his problems were. Look it up, it is interesting. Please be open minded about your daughter and think of how it could possibly help her instead of placing your experiences on her! If I could go back and could have made things happen for my son earlier on when the school started telling me that my son had behavior issues, I WOULD!!! It was something he couldnt control, maybe your daughter cant either! I hope everything works out for you BOTH!
H.M. answers from Cleveland on November 13, 2006
Schools today are very different in how they set up their IEP's. there are also other alternatives such as a 504 plan, this is a step down from iep. Depending on why they feel your child should have an iep. Does your child have an underlying mental health issue? is there a learning disorder? is this a behavioral issue? has there been changes to the home environment that is affecting your child. the good thing about an iep is first they have to do a Multi factored evaluation (MFE). this is huge battery of tests done by the school psychologist who can identify your childs strengths and weaknesses. Then you can tailor your child's needs. if it is a learning disorder there is tutoring and modifying work and assignments any many other avenues to explore, this can be done in the classroom with the help of an aid. you do not have to agree to put your child in ld classes. the MFE can also help determine if there is an underlying issues such as adhd and if that is the issue you can explore behavioral counseling, alternative herbs or medication. there is also a state website and i'm sorry i don't know the address that will help guide you through the process. You also have to sign and attend an iep meeting in order for them to implement the iep. you get to help tailor your child 504/iep. good luck and do your research, you may also want to contact a local community counsleing center that deals with children, they may be able to provide a casemanager that will go to the school with you to advocate for your child.