So you heard a portion of the IEP meeting on May 27th but let me explain some of the other things that happened at that IEP meeting and after wards to give you a better picture.
First off I provided the child study team with my typed parental concerns that I also read out loud to the team. However, when I had asked for a copy of the teacher’s reports that were shared at the meeting which then became educational records at that time under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act I was told I could not have access to them and that I should take notes.
Obviously the meeting continued and various discussions occurred. One discussion was that the case manager recommended certain assistive technology for my son that her and the child study team had found out about through a consult regarding my son with their assistive technology provider although I had not been included or privy to the consult. In any event, I requested that those same recommended services and or software be provided in my home and even offered that the technology be installed on my home computer to eliminate the costs of a laptop.
However, the child study team was unaware if they could provide the assistive technology at home. The learning consultant mentioned that it could be possible perhaps if the cost was minimal. The case manager stated that she would need to speak with the technology department. I had also requested parent training however, no-one on the child study team was aware if and how they could provide this.
The case manager had to read the occupational therapist’s report because although he was on the invitation he never attended the IEP meeting. The case manager was unable to supply me with a copy of his report or explain and answer any of my questions regarding the occupational therapist evaluation. Therefore, nobody was in attendance at the IEP meeting to interpret the results of this evaluation.
In addition, I brought up the fact that I was concerned about my son only making four months of progress in one full year in oral expression according to latest evaluation and comparing the new test results with previous ones. The learning consultant had claimed he did not believe his test result were accurate. Therefore at that time, I stated that I would like my son re-tested in this area if the “results were inaccurate” but according to the case manager there were no other tests that could test my son’s oral expression. ( As a side-note after the meeting in a quick computer search, I found other tests that could test in this area.)
I also asked for someone to explain my son’s progress in the Earobics program but again no-one was in attendance to be able to do so. I was only shown a paper with dots on it. I did not know what the dots meant or how that measures his progress nor did anyone else on the child study team.
Of course, failing to have someone capable at the meeting to explain the results of the Earobics or the Occupational Therapy Evaluation was a violation of IDEA and the N.J. Special Administration Code.
Then on May 31, I received a phone call from the case manager who was suppose to get back to me on the open items from the IEP meeting. She stated at this time that assistive technology would not be provided to my son in our home. When I stated this was not refused at the meeting by the team and asked why this was now being refused she stated, “We don’t believe it is necessary.” I repeated this back to the case manager and told her I wanted to write her statement down correctly. I then asked her for Prior Written Notice to which she replied, “What is that?” Yes, she had no clue as to her legal responsibility to me.
In any event, I then called the child study team secretary at the central office and another IEP meeting was set up for June 15th.
Upon arriving at the June 15th IEP I clarified that a few of the items written in the IEP Draft that I had received on June 2, 2005 were never discussed at the May 27th meeting. For instance, there was no refusal of assistive technology in my home by the “IEP Team” on May 27th as it was understood that the child study team would look into if, how and the cost for these services were to be provided. Additionally, I never agreed nor was it discussed that the occupational therapist would be assisting my son with his written homework or written book reports IN school.
Also at this time at the June 15th IEP meeting I provided additional information and research on my son’s disability. My son also attended his first IEP meeting on this day. He told the team how he had physical pain in his hand when doing homework. To explain why the occupational therapist had not known about his hand pain and cramping he also explained that when he had been on ADHD medication during school that his pain was alleviated when doing writing assignments. Remember he only had taken medication for a short period of his life and he was only medicated DURING school hours.
The entire team also viewed an approximately two minute video of my son doing written work at home. Within the two minutes the team all agreed that they witnessed my son had an unusual pencil grasp with a fist grip and thumb resting on top. They also saw my son put his head down to watch the tip of the pencil. They witnessed him putting his pencil down and shaking out his hand due to cramping. The video ended with him putting his hand to his head in frustration and sighed.
After the video I read a symptom list of people with dyslexia which described what they can experience when writing which listed ALL of the above mentioned behaviors in the video.
I also explained to the team that when my son was on medication in school that they may not see the same symptoms as we did at home since he was medication free at that time. The occupational therapist stated he never heard of any research documenting that a person would be in pain when writing without the medication. I then shared the research I was aware of which stated, “Apparently a small group of those with ADHD who find the right medicine for ADHD (historically a central nervous system stimulant/alerting agent) discover that the medicine tends to temporarily relax/calm some of their muscles and they can temporarily print or write a little better. Sources: Domeena C. Renshaw, M.D., Anita Uhl Brothers, M.D.” I then alerted the team that I was not willing to medicate my son at home to do written work when assistive technology could easily relieve this problem.
I also went on to share further research of the benefits of assistive technology for people with dyslexia. At this point, the learning consultant offered to give my son use of his personal dictaphone/ transcriber (one he had taken from the school’s dumpster) so that the team would not have to seek any approval from their bosses to grant assistive technology I thanked him for his offer but stated that I still believe that the districts offer of word prediction and organizing software was what my son needed due to his poor written expression, phonological spelling, and the problems a child with dyslexia would encounter in general The learning consultant and case manager were the only two members of the team that vocalized that they would not provide these services at home.
I then requested for a third time an assistive technology evaluation. I had actually prepared a letter to the team in advance which I signed off on in front of everyone and handed to each member of the team.
I then went on to state that I did not know why the district would spend more money on more testing to fight me on this service since the cost of the service would be less then the cost of an evaluation and litigation. I also made the district aware if they had refused he independent evaluation that they should have filed due process against me within twenty days to prove that the districts evaluations were adequate. In re-checking my records the twenty days had already elapsed from the time of my first request. Therefore it was my position that the district was obligated to provide the evaluation.
The district countered that they had not evaluated my son for assistive technology services so therefore I could not ask for an independent evaluation. But silly on their part then they were admitting that they had not tested my son in every suspected area of his disability.
Regardless, I did not believe an IEP without assistive technology at home and parent training would provide my son with a Free Appropriate Public Education or the same educational opportunities as his non-disabled student peers.
I went on to proclaim about the waste of tax payer money it would be to litigate the matter in lieu of just providing my son with the assisitive technology that I felt the data, video, etc… showed he needed.
With that the IEP meeting ended in a unilateral decision made by the learning consultant who stated he was ending the meeting because they would not put up with “my bullying” anymore. Yes, he called me a bully in front of my kid.
I tried to state that I would not allow the district to deny my child services he needed but was cut off by the learning consultant who said he had ended the meeting.
Yes, the child study team stormed out of the room and there sat my son and I……
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT