IEP meeting tomorrow and I'm freaking out!

[deleted account] ( 10 moms have responded )

My son is 13 and recently diagnosed PDD-NOS. Also diagnosed at age 5 with ADHD. I have never before had an IEP or any services for him. I am so freaking out. Do you all have any suggestions on what services I should ask for? The only thing the school is offering is a social skills class with the goal of 1-2 minutes per day of one on one peer contact. Its a joke really. My son is and has been failing ALL his classes since beginning of last year. He is finishing 7th grade and I don't think he is ready to go to 8th grade and high school! The school's own findings say he struggles with executive functioning - anything that requires pencil to paper. He is very dependent on me to help him manage his daily life. For example, he can not even dress himself appropriately or remember to take his back pack with him to school if I am not there to ask and/or remind him. Some think this is laziness but he is very driven and tries very hard. He finds the simplest of daily tasks to be complicated. He is a smart boy and if given a test, he can answer questions but he just can't produce written work, get it turned in, with a name on it, to the right teacher. Middle school has been just awful for him and the depression and anxiety are affecting his health. He's left school with migraines, chest pains, nausea, and he has diarrhea every day. Bullies are also a daily problem. He has no friends - not a single one. I'm feeling really helpless and the school, unfortunately, is poised to fight. I don't want to ask for Rolls Royce services if he doesn't need them. I understand the school has limited funds. Some doctors have suggested that I ask for an aide to shadow him at school but I'm worried that will create further social difficulties, dependence on others when he needs to learn independence, and will cost the school a fortune. He is very high functioning in the autism spectrum but not doing well at all in school. Any suggestions are very much appreciated. IEP meeting is tomorrow morning!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Francie - posted on 04/08/2009

39

14

3

Hi Danielle,
I was in a similar situation in September. My 13-year-old son was diagnosed with Aspergers over the summer, is high functioning and had many of the same issues as your son. Here's what I asked for in his IEP meeting:

• Laptop/NEO - this keyboard allows him to type notes and assignments rather than handwrite them. He has great difficulty with handwriting and it has caused tremendous issues in his ability to take notes, write assignments etc. It would take him so long to write a sentence that he would forget what he was trying to say before he got it on paper.
• Extra time to complete written portions of exams that require extensive hand writing - also a quiet place, free from distractions, for taking important tests. One of his issues is his inability to filter out background noises such as rustling paper, dropped pencils, coughing etc. and it would disrupt his thought process.
• Extra help in project planning, organization and communication of expectations
• E mails/progress reports from instructors on homework assigned and any failure to turn in.
• Moderation/oversight in group projects.
• Formally defined quiet place to get act together if over stressed.
• Consider optimal placement in classroom – avoiding over-stimulating environments and toxic pairings - also placing him in a spot where he can hear clearly and not be distracted (i.e. don't sit him next to the pencil sharpener)
• Extra set of text books so that he is not having to carry all of them all of the time
• Awareness on the part of all of his instructors of the learning and social interaction difficulties– I thought the Tips for Teaching on the asperger.org website were good http://www.asperger.org/Tips_For_Teachin... – and especially understanding of communication difficulties such as tone of voice, eye contact etc.

Ultimately, the school also provided additional support - he doesn't have an aide shadowing him all day, but his does have an advocate whom he sees daily (rather than attending homeroom) who helps organize his work and make sure he is staying on task. She also modifies some of his assignments - for example, he is very good at math but gets frustrated by repetitive "busy work", so he only does the odd numbered questions on math homework - it's enough to show that he gets the concept without being repetitive. His English homework is also modified - he is not required to write as much and some assignments have needed modification because they require an ability to empathize with a character in a novel and write about what you think that character feels -- like that is ever going to happen!

He also goes to a social skills development class once per week and actually enjoys it. It gives him experience with other kids that is not negative, unlike most peer interactions he has had throughout his life.

These are all reasonable accommodations and you should not feel guilty in asking for them.

All the best!
Francie

This conversation has been closed to further comments

10 Comments

View replies by

Susan - posted on 04/09/2012

1

0

0

Hi, I'm new to this community, but I'm wondering what RSP math is that someone mentioned in one of these replies? I am trying to put together my arguments to win my son't IEP back.

Thank you,

Susan

Ani - posted on 04/09/2009

40

36

6

Danielle,



I have a 16 year old Asperger's son.  My son's district was not as accomodating and I had to file due process against them, and won.  (See my profile page for the link to the order.)  With that said, before I hired my attornies, I read the SPECIAL ED LAW.  I also bought and read most of the articles on an advocate's site.  For me, this site was the most beneficial:  http://wrightslaw.com/  . They have resources to take you through the the entire IEP process.  I hope you and all the other parents never have to go through what I went through and have to fight like I did.  What I would like to pass on is this, ALWAYS communicate is some written form.  If you have a phone conversation, follow up with an email summarizing what was discussed and request that if you are mistaken, for them to reply.  On this web site, they talk about writing your communications for the unknown reader.  What they mean is that you need to write every communication as if it is going to be read by an impartial hearing officer at a due process hearing.  Most people never get to this point, but if you do have to file due process, it helps if you have accuratley documented along the way.



Everyone else is right, you do not have to sign it, and you shouldn't.  If you did, you can ammend the IEP at anytime with an informal meeting of the administrator, a parent, and a teacher. (Check the wrightslaw web site. I believe that is the minimum.) 



My son has an amazing IEP and has made DRASTIC improvements, although we still have a way to go for him to be ready for life when he graduates HS.  He started his frosh year in HS with either me or my mom reading him questions on his home work and then writing the answers for him so it would get done.  Now, he is able to work independantly almost two school years later.  These documents are fluid and can be modified if something isn't working.  You can call a meeting at anytime.  We have quarterly meetings of the entire team. 



I am always more than willing to help anyone with this area of things.



Good luck,



Anita

Francie - posted on 04/08/2009

39

14

3

I'm glad to hear that things went well, Danielle. We were very lucky that our relationship with the school has been supportive rather than confrontational. It has been especially helpful that we have developed a very good relationship with his caseworker/advocate at the school. (Although that makes me a little nervous as to how it will work when he transitions to the high school next year.) Constant communication has been very helpful too. Setting up a formal schedule of contact - such as a weekly email - and having access to information on assignments: when they're due, what they involve, whether they're turned in, if they're late etc. - is very important, as we can help our son to keep track of and organize his work.

All the best,
Francie

Stacy - posted on 04/08/2009

18

5

2

I have been here more times than I can count, my son has PDD-NOS also, I have found advacate groups have been extremely helpful. Have you tried them? What area do you live in? Don't sign ANYTHING while your there! I can help too if you'd like, anything I can do please let me know I've been here more times than I can tell you. We have fought the school over so many things and won over and over just don't let them bully you or your child! You are the best advocate and you'll be amazed how much power you do have even though they don't want you to know it!

[deleted account]

*****UPDATE******
Thank you all for sharing your suggestions. I just got back and I am very pleased. My son will be getting all new teachers - A Cognitive/Social Skills Class, A Study Skills Class, RSP Math, RSP Language Arts, and core curriculum History and Science. Because he was being bullied and threatened during P.E. (less formal and less supervised environment) I need to get a doctor to excuse him from doing P.E. (at the school's suggestion!) and he can spend that period in the Study Skills Class doing homework, getting tutoring, learning organizational skills, etc. I am very hopeful that this will be a step in the right direction. :-)

Stacy - posted on 04/08/2009

2

12

0

Do NOT sign the IEP!!!! You need some time to talk to an experienced advocate. I live in Ohio and use a service called the Ohio Coalition for Children with Disabilities. They helped me GREATLY in producing an appropriate IEP for my son. Dont let the school system bully you. You need to reasearch and get to know your rights.

[deleted account]

Hi-my best advice is to find your local families together...in KS it is www.familiestogetherinc.org they have conferences(free) and people you can call and ask questions of...they have helped me greatly!

Jennifer - posted on 04/07/2009

1

0

0

Hi Danielle,



I don't have a lot of time and I just tonight signed up for this board but I wanted to tell you that I too have a 12 year old son with PDD NOS and he has many accomodations.  I don't know what specifically your sons issues are but I can tell you that my son is in a substantially separate classroom from his 'typical peers' for math and all language arts.  He also receives speech therapy.  His IEP specifies that he must have instructions broken down into manageable chunks for him to understand, that he has an aid with him when he is in the typical classroom, that he sits in a seat with minimal visual distractions, and so on. 



I've never had to have an advocate with me in an IEP meeting...our school has always been very on board with Joshua's needs.  I think that you may need to find one.  Do you have a report from the place that diagnosed him?  They would give you a list of recommendations for optimal learning that you could present the school with. 



Try to be strong tomorrow morning.  It might suck but you should try to get him any and all help necessary to help him be successful. 



Good luck!!



Jen

Agatha - posted on 04/07/2009

12

3

5

Hi Danielle,



My son is yonger but the processes are pretty much the same.  Don't sign anything at the meeting approving the IEP, except to sign into the meeting and a signature to say you received a copy of his IEP.  The school then has 10 days to send you the finalized version of the IEP.  You do not have to approve the whole IEP when you receive it and you have 30 days to sign and return it to the school district.  This will give you time to seek further information about what you can request because you can always reconvene the team and request further services.  But you can approve part of the IEP by signing by the parts you approve.   Even if its only to approve they got your sons name right it is always a good idea to approve part of it.  I am not sure where you are located but do a websearch in your area and you can try to get an advocate to attend the meeting with you or any future meetings.  Try to find an advocate that has experiece with your sons age and diagnosis.  Most advocates will do this free of charge.



What you can do tonight is look up you state IEP law and the Autism IEP law if you state has one.  Then you will at least be informed of your rights going into the meeting.  I would do as much research as you can though. 



From the information you gave it sounds like you should be requesting Occupational Therapy.  If your son is failing in his subjects than he is not getting the proper services from the school and they are required by law to give him the appropriate services.



I hope this helps a little.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms