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Refusing to Add to IEP--now what?


Hannah
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New member. Thanks for your advice and insight. I'm stuck. Dx autism, ADHD. My child's new this fall OOD and their case manager are refusing to make changes to the IEP. We had a meeting, and then I wrote a request for changes letter. They don't want to make any of the changes and want to have another  IEP meeting "to explain to me why we should not add anything or change it at this time." The reason they don't want to add is that my child is "manipulating" by referring to their IEP when they need something. We thought that was self-advocating, but... In general the OOD is working and has many of the things my child needs. My concern is that my child is showing significant signs of stress including self harm statements and actions. My child is under mental health care, but I think it would make sense to provide a few small accommodations to reduce the stress level proactively and prevent another crisis. I am also concerned that we have very few goals and they are weak, the needs aren't spelled out. The school and the district want to wait and observe and let their behavioral system work without my interference/accommodations. I feel really stuck. I have an advocate who advises to go ahead and do the IEP meeting and we'll talk it out. I'm concerned the OOD will just dismiss my child because they don't want to deal with me, and I also don't want to waste money having another IEP meeting where no changes are made--we had this same experience a year ago where we had a meeting and the only result was that we wrote a parent concern letter. The IEP goals are few and weak, but the district wants to let the school write them later this year "after they know my child better." Do I have any other leverage or option here since I Can't seem to help them see my child as having needs, not being manipulative, and I Can't seem to convince them that I see another mental health crisis coming if we don't make a few accommodations ? I can write a parent concerns letter--what should I put in it?  Is it a big mistake to not push for needs and goals now, given that they just refuse? Please explain your strategic thinking as best you can. My goal is to keep my child in this OOD as overall it is the best fit we've had. So I'm stuck between wanting to get goals and accommodations to help my child succeed there, and not getting into a conflict with the OOD as they dont' want to do those things and the district sides with them.

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Is your child in an out of district placement at the public school district's expense? Or, is the child at a private placement in which you've given up FAPE? If your child's in an out of district placement at public expense and is still entitled to FAPE, then you have every right to ask for reasonable goals in the IEP to enable your child to make meaningful progress. You can make requests and still be polite and professional. 

Does your child's private mental health team collaborate with the school? If you are comfortable signing releases for them to talk, it seems like that could be an avenue to educate the school regarding your child's social/emotional and health needs.

Parents can provide vision statements, parent letters of concern, meeting follow up notes to the IEP team (https://adayinourshoes.com/after-iep-meeting/), and keep documentation of all interaction with the school, but ultimately, the district writes the IEP and PWN. Congress felt that meaningful parent participation is crucial for children when they wrote the IDEA though (https://adayinourshoes.com/parent-participation-in-the-iep-process/), so it's your job to advocate for your child. You also have your procedural safeguard options to consider during disagreements with the district. 

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Given what you wrote, the things that seem to be important for your child to have is that his team at the OOD needs to be aware of the co-morbid (which is pretty common with autism) mental health issues that present as depression/anxiety/self-harm.  You might refer to some of the things that his MH therapist has said to you to be watching for as they are signs that things are getting worse.  Behavior is communication and I agree that the kids who have the worst behavior are the ones who needs the most kind attention/positive behavioral support.  Can you write something up and have his MH therapist look it over so you can say that his therapist agrees he needs this per when they reviewed it?

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I agree with Jenna. Put all of your concerns in writing and if the district refuses to make changes ask for that to be put in a PWN.  https://adayinourshoes.com/iep-prior-written-notice-pwn/. You may have to use your procedural safeguards (mediation, complaint, due process) to settle disputes but having everything documented, in writing, will certainly help your case. You may also consider reaching out to your state parent training and information center and/or hiring an advocate to help if you feel you're not getting anywhere on your own.

Michigan mother of two with IEPs, and owner of MI Student Advocacy Services. Trying to change the world one IEP at a time. 

 

 

 

 

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