When your child goes to Kindergarten they will age out of the Developmentally Delayed (DD) criteria of the IEP. My son was classified DD and LI (language impaired) until this school year. I knew what to expect within the process so I started in August and finished in January so that I could only have to focus on his placement for next year at our year end meeting.
There are a lot of problems with this change over for various reasons; it can actually get very complicated. There isn’t one method that will work universally for everyone! That’s not cool and very frustrating. The best strategy to know the game and how the game is played. If you can understand the school district and how the rules work for and against parents with children with IEP’s.
Parts of the game:
- IEP’s are services and accommodations driven.
- If your child is not struggling at school then more challenges arise.
- The school district acts like they are the supreme power and know all of all things.
- IEP’s and 504s provide lots of funding to the district.
- 504s have less legal protection to parents and provide much fewer accommodations only. NO services.
- Have a diagnosis? The district doesn’t care, they have their own criteria.
- The school district has serious staffing problems, especially for aids.
- They try to attach to your emotions to distract you.
How I was able to get my son’s IEP from DD and LI to ASD…
Formally request the process to begin by sending a letter or email requesting that she/he be re-evaluated for eligibility due to age. This is supposed to be complete in 60-90 days but there is apparently a “due diligence” clause. That as long as the district is working on preparing the reports and assessments within the time frame then they are within their legal limits. In my opinion, they drag their feet and make plenty of excuses on why reports can not be finished in a timely manner. It would also be best to request hard data on any behaviors. You want to know how many times a teacher has to redirect within a 3-15 minute activity.
I recommend giving any professional and medical evaluations and reports to the district. If your child has an ASD diagnosis then give it to them. Also, if you have speech, OT and ABA therapy assessments, copy them and send those in. Anything that you can provide as an outside professional opinion will help you state your case. Just because they claim that your child doesn’t have any problems at school does not mean that is the truth in it’s entirety. Funny story that when I had my meeting (Longest IEP meeting of my LIFE!!) the compliance person told me that the district may not accept my medical diagnosis because of the insurance I have and what doctor I may have seen. I laughed at her, then let her know that I work for the district and have district insurance. How ridiculous would it be if I had to call my own special case manager at Humana to explain how my employer that covers the insurance was in fact not accepting that doctors’ diagnosis. ” I don’t think so!”
At the meeting everyone had to agree that my son meet all the criteria for the ASD diagnosis. That was easy once I let the compliance person know that I was in fact informed and prepared for the meeting. All emotions aside and all tiger mom energy in place I fought and fought for details of behaviors and results of assessments because there was no (zero) baseline data. It was like everything was made up! So, we got the eligibility changed and had to schedule a second meeting to review goals and behavior plans (PBIP). I knew going into the game that I needed the ASD on the IEP so that I could maximize his services and accommodations and then in turn get more out of the McKay Scholarship. I knew in January that for June he was going to be in a full time one on one ABA school. I just have to get the money!
The major challenges and problems that I see from fellow special needs parents are related to diagnosis and performance at school. If the school doesn’t think that child needs any assistance because they are making “good grades” and follow class rules then the district doesn’t want to keep children on an IEP they want to go to a 504 plan. The other issues I see are related to diagnosis. If a child has a SPD (sensory processing disorder) then the district will not recognize it. The child would have to show poor behavior or performance in the classroom to continue to stay on an IEP and receive services. If you have a difficult situation do not go to any meetings without a professional private parent advocate! Do everything you can to keep your IEP! See my last post on “Transitioning to Kindergarten” for ideas to prepare for the year end meeting.
Also read “How to Mentally Prepare for an IEP Meeting.”