My Concerns And How The District Handled Them
Mother was notified that the IEP team would be meeting on May 4th to close out Jacob's IEE and create a new IEP. Mother was encouraged to attend. Mother had canceled a prior IEP meeting because she felt that it was not necessary since the IEP had been predetermined and that no significant changes had been made. The IEP meeting was for changes made to the prior IEP that parents had not agreed to.
Mother sent the following email in response to the April 8th meeting to:
- Deanna Thorne
- Stacey Martin
- Jamie Argotsinger
- Rita Duvall
- Janalee Byers
- Duane Fleck
- John Faulkenberry
- Michelle Rees
- Gene Maurer
- Kelli Wilson
- Kimberly Sterne
- Angela Stueve
- Marion Crayton
- Jerry Keimig
- Joy Rose
- David McGehee
I didn't realize that our meeting would be for an amended IEP. We don't have to have a meeting to amend an IEP. There were no changes to the last IEP except for a few sentences in the PLAAFP and accommodations. The recommendations that were made by the psychologist have not been utilized and the fact that her test scores were significantly different than the districts has been ignored.
The PLAAFP states "The IEP Team reviewed these concerns during the IEP on April 8, 2009, and discussed them within the context of the IEP." Since it is only April 7, 2009, I am concluding that you have predetermined what is going to be discussed and agreed upon.
I never agreed to the IEP that is being amended and my input was not wanted or utilized. I have been told repeatedly that I am the expert at home and that the district is the expert at school. I feel that going through the motions of another meeting would not benefit anyone. Jacob will be done with school on May 10, 2009. Surely we can find a way to make these last few weeks as pleasant as possible for him and cause him the least amount of anxiety.
I would like to see the following changes made. That is not to say that I am in agreement, but I understand that I am not going to be able to make any real changes and it is criminal to make these teachers stay after school to just go through the motions.
I would like for my parent concerns to be deleted and the following statement put in. This is not lengthy nor does it address deficits and strengths that are shown in the test scores:
Parent has many concerns about the services and education that her child is being given, but she does not want them paraphrased, so this will be the only statement of concern.
On V. Regular Education Participation I would like the following checked:
- Disruptions/distractions in regular classroom interfere with achievement.
- Increased regular classroom participation would increase student frustration
- Requires highly structured, small-group setting, and individualized instruction
- Student lacks social/behavioral skills required for increased regular classroom participation
- Student lacks adaptive/behavioral skills required for increased regular classroom participation
- Increased regular classroom participation may have harmful effect on student or on the quality of services that student needs
- The social benefits of increased regular classroom participation do not outweigh the lack of academic progress
Mother agreed to attend the May 4th meeting. She brought three family friends/advocates with her. She rewrote her parent concerns and presented them at the meeting.
Parents wish to have their concerns put into the IEP verbatim. The district has the opportunity to state the student’s present level in the manner that they believe is accurate. The parents want the same opportunity to state their concerns without being paraphrased. If the district chooses not to honor the parents’ request to have their concerns put into the IEP then the following statement is to be put into the IEP.
“Parents have many concerns about the quality of services and education that their child is receiving. The parents believe that their child is not receiving the services and education that he is federally entitled to and they do not wish to have the district paraphrase their concerns or speak for them.”
Parents do not wish to have any other statement, than the above, if they are not allowed to voice their concerns without being paraphrased or censored.
According to Jacob’s test scores he is deficient, and falls in the 2.2 percentage of population in range and <69 range in standard scores, and needs intensive services:
Sensory auditory, sensory vestibular, sensory touch, multisensory processing. In the Adaptive Behavior he qualifies in adaptive behavior composite, communication, daily living skills, socialization, receptive, expressive, personal, domestic, interpersonal relationships, play and leisure time, and coping skills. On the Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test he qualified for motor. On the Scales of Independent Behavior he qualified for social/communication, broad independence, motor skills, fine motor skills, gross motor, language comprehension, community living, work skills, social interaction, language expression, personal living, eating, dressing, self-care, domestic skills, and home community.
According to Jacob’s test scores he is below average, and falls in the 16.1 percentage of population in range and 80-89 range in standard scores, and needs supports and accommodations:
On the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities he qualified for cognitive efficiency/numbers reversed, working memory/numbers reversed, and visual-auditory learning delayed. On the Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Test-III he qualified for story recall-delayed, passage comprehension, writing samples, and academic applications. On the Gray Oral Reading Test, 4th Edition he qualified for accuracy. On the KeyMath Diagnostic Assessment-3rd Edition he qualified for multiplication and division. On the VMI he qualified for VMI. On the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals he qualified for recalling sentences and sentence assembly. On the Test of Pragmatic Language-Second Edition he qualified for pragmatic language. On the Test of Language Competence-Expanded Edition he qualified for recreative speech acts, screening composite, and expressive intents. On the WISC-IV he qualified for working memory.
According to Jacob’s test scores he is above average, and falls into the 16.1 percentage of population range and 110-119 range in standard scores, and needs enrichment programs:
On the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-4 he qualified for word definitions. On the WISC-IV he qualified for perceptual reasoning, and vocabulary. On the WIAT-II he qualified for word reading, reading comprehension, and spelling. On the Test of Written Language he qualified for vocabulary, style, and logical sentences. On the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities-III he qualified for thinking ability/sound blending, phonemic awareness, phonemic awareness/sound blending, and phonemic awareness/incomplete words. On the Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Test-III he qualified for broad reading/reading fluency, reading vocabulary, and broad written language/writing fluency. On the Gray Oral Reading Test, 4th Edition he qualified for rate and comprehension. On the Test of Written Language, 4th Edition he qualified for spelling style, contextual conventions, and story composition. On the WNV he qualified for coding and picture arrangement.
According to Jacob’s test scores he is superior, and falls into the 6.7 percentage of population range and 120-129 range in standard scores, and needs AP and added challenges:
On the Test of Written Language, 4th Edition he qualified for vocabulary, logical sentences, and overall writing. On the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-4 he qualified for word definitions. On the Test of Written Language-3 he qualified for contextual language and story construction.
According to Jacob’s test scores he is very superior, and falls into the 2.2 percentage of population in range and >130 range in standard scores, and needs services for gifted and talented:
On the Test of Written Language, 4th Edition he qualifies for sentence combining. On the WNV he qualifies for matrices.
As the above clearly shows, Jacob is gifted in some areas and deficient in others. He is truly unique and one-size fits all programs will not help him to reach his potential. He needs a truly individualized program that addresses his strengths and weaknesses. When you combine his strengths and weaknesses with his autism, his inattentive and impulsive adhd, and his anxiety, you plainly can see that he neither fits into the regular classroom or the life skills program. He needs a program designed for him that will allow him to become an independent tax-paying citizen.
There was much discussion about these concerns. Mother stated that the concerns were only a page long and she didn't see that it should be a problem to have them added to the IEP. She stated that she would not allow her concerns to be paraphrased or interpreted and that they would have to be put in as is or a statement stating that parents were not allowed to state their concerns put into the document.
Special Education Coordinator didn't understand that the first part of the page could be deleted if the last part were put into the IEP verbatim. After several explanations she asked if there were test scores in the concerns. Mother stated that there were not. Sped Coord agreed to add concerns. The district will not allow any test scores to be put into the present level and this is the closest that the parents could get to addressing those scores and the strengths and weaknesses that the student has.
The Sped Coord stated that the team (which is the district part of the team and hereafter will mean the same) had already read the IEE and didn't feel that the results were any different than what the district had found. Mother disagreed and stated that the psychologist had some specific concerns that were not addressed in the present level or the rest of the IEP. The district stated that they disagreed with the interpretation that mother had of the evaluations and recommendations and that they had interpreted them differently.
The district felt that there was no reason to go over the IEE and the document was never touched, opened, referred to, or even present in the room.
Following are the concerns of the psychologist:
I. Jacob's parents should continue to consult with a psychiatrist or family physician regarding medication management to treat symptoms.
2. Jacob's parents are encouraged to continue with their participation in parent training and support groups for families of individuals with Autism.
3. In light of Jacob's motor skills difficulties, he should continue to be evaluated for assistive technology devices by an assistive technology specialist such as a word processor or a speech-to text computer program. Programs such as these require some training and practice to become reliable and efficient, so training and technical assistance must be provided not only to Jacob, but also to any individuals who will be working with him. If individuals are not trained to use their equipment properly and efficiently, they may see it as more trouble than its worth to use it. Assistive technology devices and services are defined in IDEA and can be considered special education, related services, or supplementary aids and services.
4. In light of his motor skills difficulties, Jacob should be provided with keyboarding training and should have access to a word processor or computer that is booted up and confirmed to be functioning appropriately well in advance of when he needs to use it.
5. In light of his handwriting difficulties, Jacob should be allowed to tape record his classes for review at home. Outlines, study guides, or class notes should be available wherever possible. Jacob should be allowed a scribe or to share a classmate's notes for lecture heavy classes.
6. In light of his communication and attentional difficulties, instructions should be given in the most concrete and literal terms, both verbally and in written form. Instructions should be broken into short segments of not more than two components at one time and multiple reminders may be needed. Jacob should not be presented with ideas, tasks or instructions given in long or complex strings that he might find unmanageable or confusing. He seems to benefit from frequent prompting and querying to keep him on task and elicit his best performance.
7. Individuals with ADHD often have trouble staying organized and completing tasks. It will be important to devise methods to help Jacob keep track of belongings and attend to responsibilities. It will be important for Jacob to learn good habits so that frequently occurring activities become efficient and routine. Frequent prompting may be necessary.
8. Structure, predictability and routine are important for Jacob as he functions at his best under these conditions. A daily schedule should be provided to him and cues for transitions (beginnings and endings) may be helpful.
9. Jacob may benefit from more intensive, one-on-one instruction in multiplication and division. In light of his handwriting difficulties, he should be allowed to use a calculator when it is clear that he understands underlying concepts so he is not penalized for his motor skills difficulties.
10. In light of his memory difficulties, Jacob should be taught mnemonic strategies to help him encode and retrieve information more efficiently.
I 1. Jacob should continue to receive transitional planning to aid in adjustment out of high school and into adult life. Transition services are required by law for students with disabilities and should become a part of his Individualized Education Program. Vocational Rehabilitation will be a good additional resource for assisting Jacob in planning and preparing for life after high school. In addition, training in independent living skills will be especially important for Jacob.
12. It is important to notice and reinforce Jacob's appropriate, wanted or pro-social behaviors in the classroom and at home. Jacob may find earning time to do preferred activities more reinforcing than praise.
13. It is important to recognize that because of his disability, standardized tests may result in an underestimate of Jacob's performance and learning potential. This can limit his options. Accommodations for these examinations will be necessary. Current documentation of Jacob's disabilities (within three years of application for accommodations) is required to qualify for accommodations.
14. It is important for Jacob to understand his disabilities and how they affect him. His parents should continue to talk with him about his disabilities. He should be encouraged to speak with his teachers and future employers about what he needs to help him succeed in the classroom and on the job.
Mother stated that Jake had regressed in his social skills while being at Lee's Summit High School. District stated that the Vineland was an interpretation and that they felt that Jake acted appropriately with his peers and adults. Mother's group inquired about what they meant. District stated that Jake had been in assemblies and acted just like other students.
The IEP was predetermined and no changes were made with the exception of medications, one accommodation, and the parent's concerns. The goals did not change. The district refused to change the reason for participation in regular education classroom. They stated that they didn't feel that any of those applied to Jacob.
The team felt that Jacob understood the concept of multiplication and division and that there was no reason to give him one-on-one help. They felt that letting him use a calculator would solve the issues that he was having with math. Mother disagreed. The team felt that Jacob understood math and most of his difficulties were due to his absences. Mother stated, many times, that his absences are a direct result of the anxiety that he experiences because of school. Mother stated that his psychiatrist believes this to be true, too. Mother stated that he was struggling with math before his absences. The team disagreed and stated that he was having no problems with math except for when he was absent.
The team disagreed with mother about Jacob’s social issues and his inability it act appropriately in social situations. Many of his teachers stated that he acts completely appropriately in class and assemblies. Mother’s advocate asked if this was the same student that has the interpersonal skills of a three year old. The team stated that was an interpretation.
The team stated that there were no discrepancies between the evaluation scores of the district and the evaluation scores of the IEE. The following are the differences that mother saw:
TOWL-3 given by district
TOWL-4 given by psychologist as part of the IEE
Name of Test
Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration given by district
Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test given by psychologist as part of IEE
Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration given by psychologist
Name of Test
Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales given by district
Name of Test
2006 (Age Equivalent)
2008 (Age Equivalent)
Play and Leisure Time