Sunday, December 16, 2012

Troubled Children Grow into Troubled Adults without Intervention

Reading about the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary just confirms part of why we have IDEA and why our schools must take a different role than they usually do, at least around here.  This was a troubled boy who grew into a troubled man.  Instead of ignoring the mom's pleas and instead of taking the stance that we must save as much money as we can, perhaps if districts take the stand that they are here to educate and help our children grow into strong and thriving citizens we will see this kind of thing stop (or at least happen less often).  When they refuse to help these kids and rebuff parents they set themselves up as the bad guys.  Good care costs money, but good care leads to good outcomes.  Which is more important?  I have often wondered when some parent will have taken all they believe they can handle and go and do some violence, now we have seen what happened to a young man who apparently believed he had taken all he could handle.  It's time to start caring for our kids instead of avoiding doing anything for children who are different.

See Aaron Sereboff's post here:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why We Get an IEE

When someone goes to get an IEE it is for two reasons. First you are hoping to convince the school district that your child needs more services than they say your child needs. Sometimes this works, but often what happens is your IEE needs to stand up in due process because many districts would prefer to hire attorneys than give your child the services your child needs. So that IEE better be pretty good. 

You want a person who understands the particular area, who understands schools and what they cover as opposed to an evaluator who is working under a medical model and is used to writing evaluations for insurance companies. They are very different. Even if they can do an evaluation under your insurance, you want to make sure they have experience in with educational reports, and then you want to be sure that they will attend an IEP meeting and be able to defend their report or your child will not get the needed services.  You can pay for that, or ask that your district covers part of the IEE but I wouldn't tell them which part.  I have found the district is unlikely to work this sort of thing out with us though, so it may or may not work, even if the person who takes insurance, who is covered by your insurance, is good at educational evaluations.  

The best IEEs include arguments from the start that your child needs this intervention that will stand up in court, even if you don't have to go to court, which hopefully we don't have to do. I have found that most of the medical people we have used for treatment have not been able to even say if my daughter is getting appropriate services at the school, even though they know very well what to do under the medical model.  It isn't their fault, they are just not trained in the educational model.

Let Your Pediatrician Help

I just got back a from a visit to our pediatrician with our youngest.  He had a traumatic brain injury suffered at birth and has some learning and behavioral issues as a result.

He is a great kid - but when he gets into what for him are overly sensory and auditory stimulating environments he has trouble taking in information and behaving appropriately because he gets stressed out.  He doesn't listen well in that environment and he has trouble thinking.  Really, who can think when they are stressed out?  Anxiety and thinking just don't go together!  Anxiety creates an instinct response, which is going to be fight or flight, not helpful in the classroom.

So our attorney suggested that we see our son's pediatrician.  I explained our concerns to her and told her what is going on in the classroom.  She felt that we could go a couple of ways.  One is having him attend school for half days for the time being, and the other would be for him to go into Home and Hospital Instruction (HHI) for the time being.  She asked me what I thought would be best.  I have already been taking him for half days and things haven't gotten any worse, but they also aren't getting better and he is missing significant chunks of instruction.  It is difficult for him to keep up this way so I said I think to go to HHI is the best for him right now.  That way he won't get to school and be expected to take a test the others are taking when he hasn't been there to practice what he will be tested for, and other similar situations.

She immediately wrote a note for him to attend half days until HHI can be set up and she will sign that paperwork once I get it from the school.  This is so much better than continuing to fight for him to try to fit in where he can't succeed, yet it keeps the district responsible for him getting an education and services.