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PA has some weird and quirky state regs. Join the PA Parents Club to share resources and make PA specific connections.

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For Parents/Guardians who are PA residents
  1. What's new in this club
  2. I just wanted to share that for the last year or so my son has attended his IEP meetings. yesterday my son (14, 8th grade) had an encounter with a new para who watched him take out his cell phone (essentially a iPod because it is my old phone and no cell number).We have it spelled out in the IEP that he uses music to self regulate. At one point when the school decided to ban phones they offered that he could use a school laptop to listen to music - which was cumbersome and not useful in all situations. With some push back from us He was able to keep the device. He knew the para was watching him, which is something that makes him uncomfortable and frustrated because he rightly worries that he is getting singled out for being in trouble. The para confronted him about not putting it in the “ cell phone box” as kids are supposed to. As if he was sneakily breaking rules. He said,” Have you read my IEP?” by his account, the para looked surprised and walked away. so much is wrong with what happened by my son did the right thing and I’m proud of him
  3. What Judi said is spot on.....I'd add the caveat that, is this trip necessary for his education? Or is it an "extra" or "fun thing" to do? If it's the latter, and not required content...you may run into some hurdles. And $3000? How are they affording this for all the kids? It seems to me that unless significant fundraising occurred, there are many families who cannot do this.
  4. Lawyers will provide a free 15 minute consult. It might be worth having one look at the wording in the IEP. It's not FAPE if he has to have a parent on the trip and that accommodation is going to cost you $1500. FAPE should be free to families. If he needed a paraprofessional to go on the trip, the school would pick up their tab. You're saving them money because you are providing your time at no cost. I'd ask them what costs will be covered. If you don't ask, I'm positive they won't offer to help with the added cost of him needing a 1:1 chaperone. PA Consult Line is another place to ask what financial help the school should provide so his accommodation can happen. https://odr-pa.org/consultline-contact/ I'd put it in writing if you ask for financial help: XX has on his IEP that a parent must attend field trips so he has access to them given his disability. This year, the trip is to NYC and the added cost for a parent to attend with him is around $1500. Since schools are required to provide FAPE to students with IEPs, how does XX School District cover this? Should I pay my way and then send receipts so I can be reimbursed or will XXSD pay directly for XX's accommodation of having a parent attend? What costs will the school cover? I'm assuming I will need to pay for my own meals but the school will cover transportation, lodging and admission fees. Please let me know so I can figure out my finances. Thanks. My wording is inspired by Lisa's recent article on not being soft with parent correspondence with the school.
  5. It might come down to a matter of semantics. If the IEP states, as you do above, that the parent is "permitted" to attend all field trips, you may be out of luck. "Permitted" does not necessarily imply that the school will pay for it. However, if a parent attending a field trip is listed under accommodations as something that is necessary for the student to be able to attend field trips with his peers, then that accommodation (as any other would be) would have to be paid for by the school. If this is not the exact wording in the IEP document, I would get that changed. Because it does sound like this is a necessary accommodation.
  6. My son is in HS and attends a public performing arts school. They are taking an overnight trip. They did a similar trip last year. Per his IEP a parent is permitted to attend all field trips. The bottom line is that his anxiety and PTSD are so bad that he could never attend without a parent even given his age. Last year I had to fight to attend the trip and pay extra for us to have a double occupancy room. The total cost last year for both of us was around $1000. The staff saw how my son needed me to help with his anxiety and admitted to being wrong to fight me. This year the trip for both of us is going to be over $3000. This is a lot of money. Being a teacher I know that most times chaperones go complementary for these trips per the travel agencies. I also know that most museums/tourist attractions will not charge personal caregivers entrance fees. Since my attendance is listed in his IEP and necessary for his participation, I was wondering if there was any president for some or if all of the additional cost for me to attend could be waived. I appreciate any advice. (Bottom line I will do whatever is necessary for my son to attend this trip but I am attempting to avoid unnecessary debt.)
  7. The school needs to follow the IEP/PBSP. If they are following it and something like this happens, the PBSP might need to be tweaked. If they are not following the IEP/PBSP then they are out of compliance with the IEP. The school can't just 'try their best'. They have to follow the IEP. I remember my sp ed director saying there were no excuses for an IEP not being followed. I agree with this 100%.
  8. Thank you. He doesn’t want to be in this situation and tries his best.
  9. At school, the school staff are in loco parentis. This means that the student's parent-parent shouldn't be needed in school because other adults can fill the role. So to answer your question: yes, they can deny him the ability to call you. The thing is when your child is neurodiverse, they might not deal well with a substitute, in loco parentis. Since this seems to be the case with your child, I'd request a no-meet IEP revision where his need for you to be called in situations like this are accommodated as part of his IEP (or 504). Non-compliance with the IEP isn't allowed. I'd go up the chain of command on that (you can also file a state complaint: https://www.education.pa.gov/K-12/Special Education/Complaints/Pages/default.aspx). What I've found is, in the name of FERPA, everyone isn't going to have access to the IEP and the PBSP in it. The thing is that everyone (school officials & recess teachers included) needs to follow the IEP. Being that omniscence isn't a job requirement for working at a school, I'm not sure how this happens. It might be a good question for the school: Do the school official & recess teacher know what's in my child's PBSP? It seems like the protocol to prevent my child from getting escalated to the point he needed to be interrogated by the dean wasn't followed. What needs to happen so the PBSP can be followed 100% of the time he's at school? I hope your son recovers from this incident where he develop other behaviors so this sort of thing doesn't happen again.
  10. Hi, My son was being interrogated by the school Dean (disciplinarian) and he repeatedly asked for me to be called. He refused to talk at first but the man told my autistic (and demand avoidant) “you aren’t in control here.” First, the school official and a recess teacher didn’t follow my son’s behavior plan IEP. But can they deny him contact with me in a stressful situation. That is not in the IEP. Thank you for any help. I find the forums really helpful.
  11. Just 6 weeks ago, I was interviewed about this class action lawsuit by the Inquirer, regarding aging out of school at 21 or 22. Last night, I received an update from the Public Interest Law Center. Hi Lisa, Exciting news! Our lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s IDEA age out policy has settled. As part of the settlement, PDE has changed its policy to allow eligible students to receive a FAPE until their 22nd birthdays. The policy also applies to students who aged out at the end of the 2022-23 school year under the old policy. Depending on the circumstances, these students may now be eligible to re-enroll until their 22nd birthdays. As part of the settlement agreement, PDE is contacting all student and families who may be eligible to return to school until their 22nd birthdays with this letter (attached). PDE also issued this notice (attached) to all LEAs, IUs, and Charter Schools, as well as this guidance. Please spread the word about this to your networks ASAP! This is time sensitive with the start of the school year almost here! If a student wants to re-enroll, they should contact their LEA. If they encounter issues, PDE has provided the following email to contact: RA-PDESPECIALED@pa.gov. Thanks again for your help raising awareness about this issue! Policy Change: https://www.education.pa.gov/Pages/IDEABFAQ.aspx.. Letter: https://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/K-12/Special%20Education/IDEIA-IDEA/Age%20of%20Eligibility%20Policy%20Notification%20Letter.pdf.. Original article: https://www.inquirer.com/news/age-out-policy-special-education-dept-of-education-lower-merion-20230712.html..
  12. Thanks, we're going to look into this. I saw this in my fb feed a few times and couldn't go back and find it, so I really appreciate you putting it here.
  13. Medicaid started allowing this during COVID and they have since got this extended now that the emergency is over. Pay isn't great - I've been quoted $13-17 per hour but I'm sure this can be a game changer to many families. The person I spoke with says they have gotten each parent authorized to provide 50 hours of services per week to their child. Some agencies have a max of 40 hours per parent. Contact your Medicaid provider to see what agencies in your area do this. Parents need to be trained/certified and the training is free. https://www.phlp.org/en/news/pa-to-continue-paying-parents-as-home-health-aides
  14. PA has a consult line that parents can call or email & be called back a few days later with answers to questions. This might be your best solution to this situation. https://odr-pa.org/consultline-contact/
  15. IEP services should come with transportation. In my area, IU teachers & therapists will come to preschools & daycare facilities so long at the care center or school is within the appropriate feeder area of the sending school district and in some cases within the IU feeder area (I'm not exactly sure what their rubric is for going to where a child spends their day but they do not go into the child's home). The inability of parents to bring a child to the IU for services isn't considered. I've seen where families who rely on public transportation and cannot afford an Uber or bus to get their child to the IU for the services in the IEP go without services. Where does your child spend they time when you and your husband are working? Why isn't the IU coming to this location to provide the services on the IEP? EI (birth - 3) tends to offer more services to children that what the IU does. 3 hours/week of IEP services (services staying the same despite some progress) would also be itinerant. EI uses more of a medical model where the IU uses an educational model when determining services. There is nothing you can do to push the needle to show that your child is all of a sudden more disabled and needing more services than they had through EI. I know when my child had speech services, we were expected to reinforce what his SLP did by doing exercises at home which is how repetition happened. Given you disagree, what data do you have that shows he needs more services than the offer of FAPE on this IEP? This is what's key to more services: Data showing more services are educationally appropriate. Given how minimal the IEP is, you can exit your child from special ed and pursue outside services. In PA, your child should qualify for Medicaid and they would cover services 100%. Your other option is to not sign the IEP and go without and not do outside services either. Many children his age who are on the autism spectrum do extensive ABA therapy. These are often the students who are educated in delay or autistic support classrooms. If your child does not have an IEP when you go to register them for kindergarten, do request a special ed eval around February or March where you want him to start kindergarten later that year. This current IEP would lapse by the time he's old enough for K if you don't sign for preschool IEP services.
  16. My 2yr old son gets services bc he is on autism spectrum. Currently receives 1 hr/wk of each special instruction, speech, and OT. He has made some progress that past year. Turns 3yrs in July, just had his transition IEP meeting. They're really skimping on services I think. Their first offer is 30 mins/wk of each and they want itinerant services. I’m not going to be able to get him to their school bc my husband and I both work FT. What’s the most sure fire way to get him into their delay classroom? My thoughts: 1)their offer cannot feasibly be carried out so it would equate to no services. 2)he benefits from consistentcy and repetition- 30 mins/wk is not consistent enough. Don’t know where to go from here - All I know is I told her I disagree that this plan meets my sons needs.
  17. You can definitely do a partial consent for an initial IEP (after that, it gets a little trickier). The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) specifically states that a school district cannot use a parent's refusal to consent to one service as an excuse to deny another service. I'm not familiar with PA, but wherever the school district is asking for your signed consent for special education services (the IEP, the NOREP, or both), sign but write that you are in disagreement with the services for ED (and anything else that you disagree with in the IEP document - the school's evaluation, present levels, etc.) You can even attach an addendum to the document if you need more room. (Make sure the attached page is referenced on the signature page on which you note your partial disagreement.) Then keep your 504 for SM. Just to cover all bases, you might call the state department of education to make sure you are doing the partial consent correctly. If you can say "this is how the state told me to do it," the school district will have a hard time denying services.
  18. My son has SM though the school refuses to classify that, off topic. I do recall reading that you can do partial consent for the initial. I think gets tricky with classification though versus programming. Maybe can write your disagreement with the clarification directly on the NOREP and provide documented support for OHI?
  19. When Keystones were first introduced in 2013 (my daughter's class was the 1st class to take them - she was class of 2014), there was a project based assessment that substituted for passing Keystones. They tried it & realized you needed to pay teachers to oversee these projects & schools didn't have the funds or personnel to do this and that path faded away as implementation dates for keystones being a graduation requirement kept being pushed back. I'm pretty sure that this wasn't one of the alt pathways that was part of Act 158 of 2018. My school district just started offering the ASVAB as an alt pathway. What's cool about this option is the ASVAB also has a companion part which takes how the student did and comes up with career suggestions that match the things they are good at (per the test) with potential job pathways. Graduating based on meeting IEP goals is an option but these students are generally not headed to postsecondary schools or a career with a lot of opportunity for growth. There's a class you can take that counts as passing the Keystone but I don't feel that doing this really shows mastery of the subject.
  20. You can opt him out of the keystones and there are other paths for graduation, that don't require taking the keystones. The schools usually don't make that that clear because they can loose funding if students don't do the keystones.
  21. Can you do a partial consent of a first IEP? Meaning can you agree to the gifted portion of the IEP but not the ED label they want to put on a student with Selective Mustism. I'd prefer OHI for SM diagnosis or just keep the current 504 for SM but want the gifted services. Any advice? School is saying can't do a partial but I'm not finding any policy that states that. Thanks
  22. Hi, My son currently 14/8th grade (dyslexia, ADHD, speech sound production disorder (aka stuttering) has Algrebra I this year and therefore eligible to take the Keystone exam. I've been doing some reading on PDE plus our school HS graduation requirement to fully understand what's needed as far as the Keystone exams. At this point, I am unsure if he'll score Proficient on Algebra (or Literature, Biology in the coming years). However, I've read what seems like conflicting information on PDE. Has anyone gone down the Keystone rabbit hole recently to clarify? It sounds that Students are no longer required to score Proficient on Keystones to meet grad requirements but they must take them. https://www.education.pa.gov/K-12/Assessment%20and%20Accountability/GraduationRequirements/Act158/Pages/default.aspx Then they must choose a different Pathway to graduate. Has anyone been down this path? If your kiddo isn't headed towards Vocational Tech career what else was done to satisfy the requirement assuming they also didn't take AP, SAT, ACT tests and pass with minimum scores. I've heard reports that their kiddo was able to do a project but I'm not seeing that in the listed pathways https://www.pdesas.org/Page/Viewer/ViewPage/56/?SectionPageItemId=12190 But then I've also seen that if your kiddo has an IEP and they've successfully navigated the IEP then they can receive special guidance and still receive the HS diploma https://pdesas.org/Frameworks/DCEToolKit/Act158PathwaysToGraduationToolkit Thanks in advance Teresa
  23. My school district goes over the RR and then transitions into an IEP meeting. It's one big, long meeting - same people needed for both so that's what they do. Look at the Invite. It will probably say that the RR will be reviewed and the IEP updated.
  24. I agree, I don't think the IEP team is required by law to meet and discuss the RR however the parent and psychologist can meet and discuss which we did. I also found this link which implies that the LEA and Team try and consolidate the meetings as much as possible https://sites.ed.gov/idea/regs/b/d/300.324/a/5 - so I think that's the answer and I'll have to request to push back our IEP meeting. Thanks so much for the response.
  25. It looks like the first paragraph under the "Reevaluation Process" section near the beginning of the document you linked, states that the IEP team reviews existing data - "including the parent and a school psychologist...This review does not require permission from the parent nor is a meeting required. (“The group may conduct its review without a meeting.” §300.305 (b)). However, the parent must be included in the review." Did you & the psychologist determine that any additional data is needed? P.3 of the document you linked addresses PA's deadlines for the RR and development of the new IEP. The IDEA lists required participants on an IEP team at https://sites.ed.gov/idea/regs/b/d/300.321. Hope this helps.
  26. Hello, I received my son's RR report from the school psychologist on Friday, April 7th (school holiday). We had tentatively scheduled an IEP meeting for April 17th, thinking the RR would be complete prior; however, we just received it on the 7th. Shouldn't the next meeting be with the IEP team to review the RR with the whole team? The school psychologist called me today to review the RR, but it shouldn't it be presented to the entire IEP team before revising and reviewing the IEP within 30 days of the completed RR. Is there a link that says the RR should be reviewed with the entire team? I don't see it within the procedural safeguards or on PaTTan's website. I did not sign the 10-day waiver either, so I have 10 days between when I receive the RR and when the school presents its new IEP. https://www.pattan.net/CMSPages/GetAmazonFile.aspx?path=~\pattan\media\publications\2019 accessible pdfs\reeval-narrative-6-19-wba.pdf&hash=bde451a888d7bcf30a161db35fbe395f310e1591b8013b44634e5f45a54dd13e&ext=.pdf

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