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My oldest has also been diagnosed with ADHD (2nd grade), Convergence Insufficiency, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, OCD, ODD, mood disorder, executive function deficits, sensory processing disorder and auditory processing disorder, and suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is now a Sophomore in high school. I have been advocating for an IEP since 2nd grade due to her extreme ADHD and my concern regarding additional challenges but have been repeatedly denied assessments. Due to my inexperience, and the schools legal violations she has suffered and is now facing truancy court and is at high risk of dropout. The school specifically stated in the court documents that they think we are lying about her anxiety. I’ve taken her doctor in with me to meetings, and they made a statement that they believe we are lying!

Finally this April they agreed to screeners and said they would dig deeper when red flags appeared. I should have known.

By the way, I recently learned about Endrow vs Douglas County School District. Ironically, DCSD is our school district. Why I thought they’d have learned from losing such a landmark case, I have no idea, but they are still horrible.

I have an Initial meeting in 3 days, I fully expect them to “not have found anything” and to again tell me that she does not qualify. Luckily this time I will also be going in with an Independent Educational and comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation but I desperately need an advocate. My confidence is completely shot.


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You have a lot going on here.  Where to start.  First, there is a rule in education/sp ed:  If it's not in writing, it didn't happen.  It's great that you brought her medical provider to meetings with the school but it can be more powerful to have a provider write a report outlining what challenges a child has as well as how this can get in the way of access to an education.  For example, I have convergence insufficiency like your child.  Specifically, I have intermittent exotropia.  Without the right glasses, I have double vision, dizziness, migraines and a lack of reading comprehension.  When I don't get enough sleep, the glasses aren't enough to bring me to where I can read at 100%.  A good accommodation for me would be audiobooks so I can close my eyes and still access written material.  Since I'm not in school, I'm not sure if my ability to take notes would be affected but lecture notes might be a good accommodation since mine might not be great.  These are accommodations (doesn't involve any special instruction) so I could have a 504 with these things on it to help me.

When the school filed for truancy, they went to your child's file and see what's there.  Was there doctor notes or reports that outline what the doctor diagnosed and how this affects her at school?  I'm assuming you do not have credentials in mental health so the school can't tell where you got the idea from that your child needs accommodation from the school.  If there was written info from a credentialed provider and they still brought truancy charges, shame on them.  If there was nothing in her file, well, her paperwork makes it appear that she's cutting school for no reason or perhaps to cause trouble in the community or in this case, parents are looking to CYA for the child.  You do not do sp ed advocacy as your career.  Don't blame yourself for not knowing how the system works.  (Even experienced advocates learn things by seeing how they play out.  We don't know 100% either.)  When you go to truancy court, be sure to support her reasons for not attending school by providing the judge with documentation of her mental health struggles from someone with appropriate credentials.  This should help with this case.

Initial meeting.  I'm assuming it's to go over the screeners the school did.  It's a start.  It would be great if you had access to the results of these screeners beforehand so you can think about your response to what's there which I'm sure the school will do.  (Send them an email asking them for this - do it today.)  One thing about screeners is they don't take as much time as assessments so they do have a role but being quick, they are not comprehensive and are not as accurate as special ed assessments.

It's great that you have had an IEE done but as an outside evaluation, the school will only consider it.  I hope you have provided copies of this report to the school so they have time to review it as well as avoid duplicating any of the tests that were used because repeating the same tests within 12 months renders the 2nd test's results invalid.

If the school doesn't see the same things outlined in the IEE report, you can request that they redo the assessments using a similar normed, assessment.  Good luck with this.  I'm not sure about an advocate in your area but COPPA has a list of advocates that went through their training.

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Thank you for your response! Luckily we have provided letters to the school several times from her specialist over the last 2 years. Anytime I speak with someone new I also email the most recent letter so they have quick reference and are up to speed, including the administrator over attendance/truancy, prior to the truancy legal proceedings. I provided yet another letter to the entire panel at my daughter's district level truancy meeting. Unfortunately, her disability was not taken into consideration when 100% attendance was demanded immediately. We are planning to consult a lawyer on ways we can have the truancy case dismissed her needs are not fully being met in the classroom.

We did let the school know what tests she was doing with the psychologist and I just received both reports. There are some very stark differences but some similarities as well. As expected, because the psychologist's testing was much more comprehensive he was able to diagnose Autism-Level 1 while my daughter is very good at masking this, added to her multitude of other diagnoses, he relayed that she is operating at about 25% capacity.

The school did do screeners and progressed to assessments in some areas as they saw necessary. Being so new to this part of the process when I read the report I was extremely anxious that I was going to walk into that meeting to a "no." But, they said they are considering her for 3 categories of the IDEA and need the District SPED Director to approve them.

I haven't been able to provide the report from the psychologist yet but he said he would have it for me in the next couple days. Our next meeting is just after Memorial Day so that should be good.

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