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Language therapy with a 504 plan


Christi Blunt

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Hi Christi!  I am in Missouri, also!  But my answer is based on federal law.

It depends on what the language therapy involves.  It can be considered "related services" under a 504 Plan and might look like pulling the student out once a week for therapy, to participate in a small group setting, etc.  But if the language therapy involves specialized instruction, for that, you would need an IEP.

Feel free to provide details of the language therapy in a reply, if you need further clarification.  Or contact me offline at crowlett@dyslexiaadvocates.net.  

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With an IEP, there are goals & progress monitoring.  You don't have that with a 504.  There are also gen ed services called RTI & MTSS.  There is a lot less paperwork with this & no evaluation is needed beyond what they do for all students.  This might be a route to take.  Just make sure that if your child isn't caught up by the end of the school year, that the school evaluates to see if an IEP is needed as it will provide a higher tier of instruction as well as the progress monitoring that is key to making sure the gap closes between a student with a disability & their classmates.

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Thank you all for your responses. The child is high functioning autism and high anxiety, and we are fighting for an IEP. I observed the child in her classroom. She needs an IEP but since she is in kindergarten, they don't think she needs one since it's play based. Next year it will be clear to the school. She has struggles with pragmatic language, social/emotional skills, and sensory needs. I'm trying to figure out the next step. The school only did an observation on pragmatic language but no testing.  The assessments the school did showed she was functioning at a kindergarten grade level. However, no input from the parents on the assessments. UGH!! Very frustrating how school do not know how to handle high functioning kiddos.

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I seem to always say the same thing with kids with autism.  They will struggle with pragmatics & social skills.  Has the school assessed pragmatics & social skills?  Seem that schools tend to skip the areas of need where they are most likely to qualify.  TOPL for pragmatics - they might need the optional extended assessment.  SSIS is one of the few (might be the only one) evals for social skills.  Were these areas tested with the eval the school did?

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You need to request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).  The school must provide this or take you to due process (so 99% of the time schools provide it).  The school also has to pay the cost of an IEE.  All you have to say is that you disagree with their evaluation.  They may ask you why you disagree, but by law you don't have to give any reasons.  Make sure the IEE is done in all areas you want assessed - including and especially any areas the school failed to assess or only did observations.

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