Monthly Archives: January 2012
|January 17, 2012||Posted by Laura under Diagnosis, IEPs, Special Education, Treatment|
In order to get appropriate services for your child through the school district, it is very important that you get the school district to accept the diagnosis of CAS. If the district SLP disagrees with your private SLP, ask for an IEE. If the district SLP continues to disagree with the IEE assessor, don’t be afraid to ask very specific questions comparing their experience and qualifications. How many children with CAS have you treated? How many children with CAS have you diagnosed? What specific training do you have in treating and/or diagnosing CAS? You have the right to ask these quesions and know these answers.
It is important that everyone on the IEP team agree with the diagnosis of CAS (or suspected CAS or possible CAS) so that you can move towards the next step: asking for services that incorporate research-based best practices. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 drastically changed public education. Districts are required to utilize evidence-based instruction strategies; that is, teach utilizing methods and programs that have been researched and reviewed by peers and proven to work. These methods and programs are termed “best practices.” They apply to every aspect of public education: reading, writing, math, and even speech pathology.
There is not enough research on CAS but there is a growing body of peer-reviewed research that all points to need for individual speech therapy three to five times a week for 30 minute sessions. ASHA’s Technical Report on CAS demonstrates and summarizes this growing research. If you have an accepted diagnosis of CAS, ask the IEP team members why they are not providing your child services consistent with “evidence-based best practices.” Use these exact words. Put it in writing. In your letter, you can cite every study conducted relating to CAS prior to 2007, simply by looking at the bibliography of ASHA’s Technical Report. Read the CASANA’s Apraxia-Kids site for more recent studies as well.
The district may not give you a written answer but at least you have put this letter into your child’s cumulative file. Follow this letter up with another one, specifically requesting individual speech therapy three to five times a week for thirty minute sessions. State that this in line with the amount and type of therapy recommended by your private speech therapist, your IEE assessor, and ASHA and is consistent with evidence-based best practices. Specifically ask the district for Prior Written Notice if they choose to refuse your proposal.
If the district chooses to refuse your proposal, it will then be required by IDEA to explain in writing the school’s rationale and each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report used as the basis of this refusal. The school district will have a VERY difficult time doing this if you have been actively building your case.
|January 9, 2012||Posted by Laura under IEPs, Special Education|
Did you know that you are an EQUAL PARTICIPANT in your child’s IEP meetings? Did you know that most parents don’t take advantage of this right?
I have sat through many, many IEP meetings as a teacher, and I can tell you that in my experience, probably 90% of parents come in, hear the results of evaluations for the very first time, listen to the IEP team, ask very few questions, and sign the IEP document on the spot.
You are different and the school district IEP team is not used to people like you. Some members will find your involvement refreshing and others will find it threatening. You have to learn to work with both of these types of people.
As an EQUAL PARTICIPANT in your child’s IEP meeting, you should be allowed to voice your concerns, ask questions, and give your opinion. Trust yourself. You don’t have to be a professional and you don’t have to have a bunch of letters after your name. You know your child better than anyone else. Moreover, your interests as your child’s interests. You are there to represent your child. The district team members do not have to agree with you but they have to give you a platform. If they do not allow you to do this, you need to tell them that you do not feel as though your rights as an EQUAL PARTICIPANT are being honored. Follow this up with a letter to the Director of Special Education stating that you did not feel you were allowed to exercise your rights as an EQUAL PARTICIPANT because of X, Y, and Z. Again, remember that you need to create a paper trail. Every time you tell someone something, follow it up with a letter that reiterates what you said.
Sometimes a member of the IEP team may tell you something that you don’t agree with or find fishy. You might hear things like “We only offer group speech therapy.” When you hear something like this you need to ask for PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE. IDEA specifies that whenever an IEP team proposes a change to a child’s identification, evaluation, or placement or when you make a request and the school refuses the request, the school district must provide your with PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE. This is one of the procedural safeguards in IDEA. You need to learn to use this tool to your advantage.
IDEA requires that PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE
- describe the action proposed or refused by the school
- explain why the school proposes or refuses the action
- describe each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report that the school used as a basis for the proposed or refused action
- include a statement that the parents of the child are protected under the procedural safeguards section of the law
- provide sources for parents to contact for assistance in understanding these provisions
- describe the other options the IEP team considered and the reasons why these options were rejected and
- describe the factors relevant to the school’s proposal or refusal.
If you ask for PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE (in writing) the school district is required to provide it for you. You will find that many rules change, like “we don’t offer individual speech therapy,” when the school district has to provide PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE.
Go here for a sample of a request for PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE.