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School exited my son from IEP but he still needs social-emotional support

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Hello!  My 14 y.o. with ADHD has had an IEP since the 4th grade, largely because of behavioral and social-emotional issues.  It was "renewed" for 3 years (last triennial) and covered 6, 7, an 8th grade.  Both in 6th and in 7th he had a few suspensions for behavior and at the end of 7th after a 3rd suspension the team suggested we reevaluate him, and I agreed thinking it would translate into MORE support for his social-emotional challenges.  However, after they did all the assessments they came back and said he was doing so well academically that they felt he no longer qualified for an IEP to "access the classroom" and wanted to move him to a 504.  I disagreed and sent them both in writing and had additional meetings with them.  I asked them to provide weekly or biweekly counseling for him and they have basically refused to put that in writing.  I never signed the exit form if there is such a thing (or rather never signed the evaluation saying he didn't qualify) but they have acted now as if he was exited even thought the original IEP would cover him until the end of 8th grade.  So at the start of 8th grade he had another incident with other boys (who tease him for not having a father) and is on a contract to avoid contact with them.  Yesterday I got a call that my son teased another boy in PE and that boy punched him - so now my son is in in-school suspension.  But at the same time he has basically straight As. 

My questions to this lovely group are:

If you have a 3 year IEP and an evaluation for qualifying for services is done part way through, does that legally negate the in-place IEP? 

If I refuse to sign the (re) evaluation can the school just move forward - they never sent me any documents after the evaluation?

Can a student who has an other qualifying diagonosis (ADHD) and needs basically only social-emotional support have an IEP?  Or is this a lost cause - meaning only if I can demonstrate his behavior and suspensions (all resulting from impulsive decisions) affect his grades will he qualify for an IEP?  I imagine there are children with ASD that might get great grades but need social-emotional support on IEPs no?

Would requesting an independent evaluation help at all if he is now getting good grades (didn't in the past).

Thank you for any thoughts!


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I'm going to reply to my own comment as I read back on an earlier post when we were first fighting this - a helpful person posted the reply below.  So I guess I'd modify my question above to be what does "access the general curriculum" really mean?  Does that include having good social relations?


You can definitely have social/emotional goals and no academic goals, as long as you can show the social/emotional disability is impacting access to the general curriculum.  Think about what social/emotional goals you think he needs.  For instance, does he need a goal for self-advocacy when he's feeling overwhelmed?  Does he need a goal for recognizing the need to take a break on his own without prompting from teacher?  Does he need a goal for staying on task while doing assignments in class?  Be prepared with specifics.  Ask his general education teachers what issues they are having and prepare arguments that the issues are related to his ADHD and need goals.  If the school evaluation comes back showing he doesn't need any social/emotional goals, don't forget you can ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at no cost to you.

If meeting regularly with the school psychologist is enough and there is no need for any goals, that could be addressed in a 504 Plan.

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My thoughts are below, listed in the order of your questions.

1. IEP's should be drafted for one year, not three.  There should be an annual review after which a new IEP should be put in place for the next year cycle.  Besides the dates, there should be changes in present levels and most likely goals, as well.  What doesn't have to happen for three years is an re-evaluation (unless either the school district or parent request one sooner and as long as it has been at least one year since the last evaluation).  Re-evaluations are not considered "evaluations for qualifying for services," so it that is how your school district is referring to them, that is incorrect.  A student does not have to re-qualify for services.  However, a re-evaluation might provide data showing an exit from services is warranted.  To answer your question:  no, a re-evaluation (regardless of when done) does not "negate" the current IEP.  The evaluation results must be explained to the parents and an IEP meeting held to determine if the IEP should be amended or (if applicable based on the data) if the student should be existed from services.  Until then the IEP stays in place and must be followed. 

2.  There is no requirement that a parent sign a re-evaluation.  However, the school cannot "move forward" with exiting a child from special education services until the results are explained (and sent/given) to you, an IEP meeting is held, and if the decision is made to exit the child from special education services,  a Prior Written Notice is sent notifying you of this action and explaining in detail the reasons behind the decision.   At that point, you can request mediation and/or file for due process to invoke "stay put" (the current IEP must remain in place).  Also, you can request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) if you do not agree with the school's evaluation.  The school can ask why you disagree, but by law, you do not have to give a reason.  The school must grant the request for an IEE or take you to due process to show why they are denying the request (so such requests are usually granted).

3.  To answer your third question (after you qualified it with a follow-up email), "access the general curriculum" refers to the requirement that not only must a child have a disability, but that disability must also affect his ability to receive an education.  So in the case of ADHD, if the child's behavior is limiting his access to classroom learning (because he is being sent to the principal's office repeatedly, having multiple suspensions, etc., or even because his inattention means he is not able to grasp the material being taught), then he should have goals to work on this.  It is important to note that the behavior must be tied to the disability and must be affecting his education. 

4. Yes, an IEE might help if the school is relying on grades to say he no longer needs services.  Grades are way too subjective to use to exit a child from special education.  It might tie in how not having "good social relations" can affect his access to an education.





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@Carolyn Rowlett  Thank you so much for the detailed response.  We did have a meeting to review the reevaluation and they told me at the very end after reviewing everything they thought he should exit.  I don't remember getting a Prior Written Notice of the exit - just that at the very end of the re-eval meeting on the documents they gave me they suggested the exit (I'll go back and look).  We had two follow up meetings where I tried to argue my side of why I thought he needed continuing social-emotional support only afforded by an IEP (explict minutes of counseling), but they did not budge and said happy to start the 504.  They flat out said that IEPs cannot be written with only social-emotional goals, which I disagreed with (and even sent them excerpts from some case law I found). They did tell me I had a year to do the IEE request.  I guess I'm trying to weigh if it would be worth the IEE and I'm just exhausted about the whole process after years of championing my son - yes he gets detentions a few times a semester and had 3 days suspension last year (but not this), and he has very few friends.  His grades aren't falling because of this (and he's doing shockingly well) so I don't know if the whole IEE is worth it at this point?  I just want them to talk to him 2 or 3 times a month to check in about social drama and teasing and the bullying he receives because it builds up to an incident, and yes I think it relates to his impulsiveness not just typical middle-school awfulness. I think the school should do the counseling because they know the other players and can take action if needed. 

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You have some time to think about the IEP.  It might be worth it in case it uncovers something besides ADHD that is causing his "incidents" and reactions to social drama, teasing, bullying, etc.

In the meantime, get started on the 504.  You can probably accomplish what you want within that document.  Put in an accommodation that when he experiences something and feels it building up to an unacceptable reaction (social drama, teasing, bullying, etc.) that he can go to the school counselor.  I would hope that would be available for all students, but you better get it in writing.

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In addition to what Carolyn said--

An IEP cannot be removed without your consent.

IEPs are NOT just for academics. IDEA and OSEP/OSERS have been very clear about this.

Lots more information on my site.



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