Thursday, February 3, 2011

Special Education Services DENIED!

I sat around this small round table in an equally small room while 4 woman discussed observations that have been made about Muffin over the last 4 months (totaling about 3 hours of observations).

Their conclusion:  He is on the lower average of average, but not severe enough to qualify for Special Education services.  It was all I could do, not to let the tears flow right then and there.

I have had to explain all of my beloved sons shortcomings repeatedly over the last few months (for the last 2 years, actually!) to just about every "professional" that we've come into contact with.  It's not a fun experience to constantly discuss and re-hash what's wrong with your child, why he isn't normal, what he can't and doesn't do.

Of course I don't want there to be anything wrong.  No, I don't want him to have a disability of any kind.  Why must I beg for them to help Muffin.

It was only conceded that he needs gross motor sensory activity prior to school.  An intervention meeting has been scheduled for them to meet with his preschool teacher (again), school director, and us...blah, blah, blah...

Then they told me I was doing everything I could for him.  Gee, thanks.

I told them he's been evaluated so many times he knows "how" to do it.  I told them he can't even explain to me what he wants for his 4th birthday next week or who he wants to invite to his party.

It's like the system makes you hope your child fails their tests just so they can get help.  Parents should never have to hope for their child to fail...

I'm so frustrated.  I am not a professional therapist.  I can't help him at home the way he needs, the way he deserves.  I bet is he wasn't in private preschool and private therapy they would have ruled otherwise.  Maybe I'm just angry...but I feel like a bad mother, like they think I'm making up what I see...

I just can't believe this.


Cara G. said...

I am so frustrated for you! I can't even imagine how you must be feeling after fighting so hard for him. Is there somewhere you can go to complain or appeal?

What about speech therapy? Did he qualify for that?

Since so much of Maria's problems were "sensory", and the tests they have don't really pick that up, she didn't qualify on paper, either. But all the evaluators could see she needed help so the program (called Missouri First Steps) issued what they call an Informed Clinical Opinion. They took notes and observations from everyone involved (her speech therapist, the pediatrician, all the evaluators that came to our house, and my husband and I) and submitted them to their director. They used all of that evidence to determine that she indeed would qualify.

We couldn't have done any of this without the help of our amazing Service Coordinator. She really informed us of our rights after Maria didn't officially qualify and kept pushing until she got the help she needed. Maybe there is something like that they can do for you? Find out what your rights are and keep fighting!

I know every state is different but most of them should function the same way with their programs.

Please email me if you have questions about this.


CM said...

I can hear your frustration. I wish I could give advice, but since I can't, I guess all I can say is hang in there and don't quit fighting for your child. Sooner or later, someone is going to see what you see. Take care.

krayzid0rk said...

it pisses me off that people don't fight harder for kids.

Education is sooo important they say, but that's one of the first things they cut in WA state.

I called CPS to report possible sexual abuse on a child after I had done plenty of research and they won't look into it unless it comes directly from their mouth or a "professional" suspects it.

It makes me sick that people have control over what could help a child. They should have unlimited support and understanding in any situation and get any help they need.

Stay strong and keep fighting for your boy. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

Rebecca said...

This is very annoying and all too common. Yes, you're doing all you can, but what if it's not enough?

I was on board with your first commenter...many times they'll qualify a child for speech if they don't fit any of the other "parameters" for services. I'm not saying this is the best option either, but it is an option. There are advocates out there too, but I'm not quiet sure how much they run.

So frustrate for your research and don't give up. Something can help him (and you) we just have to figure out what it is.

Alysia said...

I'm sorry. I'm frustrated for you too.
But don't give up. We were told the same thing when our son was at a private preschool (when the teachers there were telling me there was no SPD, just a badly behaved kid). It wasn't until I was able to enroll him at the public preschool that they saw him enough in a regular (translated: non-testing) environment to know that he needed more.
We have to be our kid's best and most persistent advocate. It is exhausting. But it will pay off.

Patty O. said...

Oh, this is just WRONG! As a teacher, I believe it's better to err on the side of caution. Why not give a kid extra help, so that later on, maybe he won't need it anymore? I taught high school at an alternative school and had so many students who fell through the cracks. If they had been helped earlier, things would have been so much better for them.

Still, never underestimate what you are doing and the influence you can have!

Good luck!

Driven To Distraction said...

I am so, so sorry that you are having to go through this and that you are not getting the support that both you and Muffin need! I can only second what the others have said about being persistent and continuing to push for what you know he needs.

Has he been evaluated by your county's Early Intervention program? Would his current school be willing to work with him on an interventional basis? (I haven't blogged about it yet, but C.ooper was identified as ADHD in December. Rather than staff him into Special Ed and risk putting a label on him that he might outgrow, the school is going to first work with him on an interventional and accomodation schedule - if that doesn't work, we will re-evaluate.)

Gentle hugs to you, my friend!

Marie said...

Arggghhhh! That makes me so mad! Here is a child, who with minimal intervention, will make such strides and begin to realize his potential and they say no. I know logically they have to have parameters but still. Keep at it, Mama. It is an exhausting thought but keep at it. Try not to think of it as looking for a disability. Look at it as looking for a way to get him the support he needs.
My son was denied services by the public school system at 3. Same reasons as your Muffin. Low end but still within average. Really? The child couldn't eat without vomiting b/c of sensory issues, couldn't speak in sentences and would freak out if his routine was disrupted. I brought him to OT, PT and Speech through our insurance and made appts w/a dev ped and a neuropsychologist. A year later, with a definition of PDD-NOS and SPD I requested a re-eval with the public school and lo and behold, he now qualified. I hated to get him labeled/diagnosed but I had to put aside my hangups about him being perceived as nothing more than a label and get him the help and support he so badly needed. It's still not easy. I approach every IEP meeting with trepidation wondering what they're going to try and take away. I feel like our goal is to help him reach his potential but every time he begins to succeed they want to pull away the supports that are making the success possible. Just so frustrating. But the end result is a happy, thriving little boy. You can do it. Muffin is lucky to have such a strong advocate for him in you.

Niki said...

It is soo frustrating. And I totally understand your feeling of not wanting something to be wrong, but you know that your child needs services. I am living through this as mine is also scoring in "gray" areas, not enough to be average but not enough for services. SPD needs to become recognized as a disorder that children would then qualify for an IEP. It is through qualifying for language that then children can get OT when all other avenues are closed. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it fun? I just got the same rejection.

When he does bad on their stupid "all-imporant-grade-the-school-and-the-teacher" standardized tests and MAKES THE SCHOOL AND THE TEACHERS LOOK BAD then maybe he'll get an educational plan.

Danifred said...

Oh honey, I'm so sorry. Knowing what I know about the county, I hate to say it, but I'm not surprised.
You are doing all the right things and don't think for a second that any of this was a reflection on you as a parent. It is a reflection of a very, very, very broken system.
Next step- ask for a 504 plan for him. DEMAND IT! Or, ask if the school is implementing Response to Intervention and DEMAND services under that program.
I'm here for you- no matter what you need!

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Erika @ said...

I am so sorry. I know how nerve wracking those meetings can be. The thought that you want them to see your boy for his strengths, yet you have to point out over and over his weknesses, and Pray to God for them to help you help him...


I have an SPD boy, age 7, and a "seeker" not as severe as her brother) girl, also age 7. It's a blast, a challenging balst, to raise them!! Come follow along if you want!

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My Mommymoon said...

Hello, I am a new follower

I am so sorry to read this post. I cannot believe the system anymore, I figure that the value of education is only for some people. What a shame.

fiddlehead said...

Just wanting to send you support and a hug. I have sat on both sides of 'that table" as a school social worker and as a mother of son with severe speech and language delays. Ugh. I am sorry that to see they are coming to these conclusions after only 3 hours of observations.....that is not sufficient or professional to make these judgements. I know you are doing everything you can for your precious boy. My initial instincts are that the assessment isn't complete. And you must demand to have a 504 plan....this should have been presented as an option so that he can receive supports without the "label" within special ed qualifications.
Take are an amazing champion for your sweet boy and are on the right path in supporting your son.