What do you do if your school isn’t fulfilling a child’s IEP?

A friend posted a note in Facebook in frustration yesterday. Her child’s teacher is not fulfilling her child’s IEP. The child has dysgraphia and the teacher is supposed to provide notes of the lessons to the child after class. I believe the child is taking notes during class but when writing fast the notes can be illegible because of the condition. The parent says that the teacher doesn’t think the child needs the notes and is doing fine in the class. The teacher keeps pointing out how smart the child is.

This makes me crazy! The child had an IEP for a reason and it’s not up to individual teachers to decide what help the child qualifies for. I’m not sure how to get through people’s heads that children with high IQs can have disabilities and need accommodations and help. I sent my friend this page with some thoughts on how to deal with the teacher and the school, but I would love your suggestions.

So what should this mother do to get this teacher on board with the IEP? Why do you guys think a teacher would be resistant to following the child’s IEP? What are your experiences been with enforcing EIPs? How do you make sure your child gets what he/she is legally entitled to?

53 comments Add your comment

jarvis

September 9th, 2013
10:07 pm

Here’s a link to a very governmenty reading document that deals with filing a complaint.

http://rules.sos.state.ga.us/submit.asp?path=d:\docs\160\4\7\&file=12.doc

jarvis

September 9th, 2013
10:11 pm

Also, I’m not familiar with dysgraphia. Can this kid count cards or crack a safe?
I might know someone who’s looking for someone that needs someone like that.

Just a thought.

DB

September 9th, 2013
10:36 pm

@Jarvis: TWELVE pages of single-spaced regulations on dealing with complaints?! Good lord. Seems to me the quickest way to resolve the problem is to go to the principal or the assistant principal in charge of that grade/academic area and say, “This is not a list of suggestions — it is a carefully put-together list of items that this child requires in order to be academically successful. Why is (the teacher) deliberately sabotaging this effort?”

On the other hand, I can sorta see where the teacher may not have time to provide notes on everything in class, especially if the child isn’t high maintenance and is doing ok. Perhaps the IEP needs to be modified to allow for recording a lesson or allowing the child to take notes on a laptop. Most kids with dysgraphia don’t have too much trouble typing.

A reader

September 9th, 2013
11:38 pm

“Why do you guys think a teacher would be resistant to following the child’s IEP? ”

Um, maybe because 1/2 of the class has an IEP because each parent thinks their muffin is special and deserving of special attention?

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that many students DO need an IEP and benefit greatly from it. But I also think that A LOT of parents pursue an IEP when their kids do not really need it because 1) it labels the kids as “special”; 2) it garners extra attention to them via their kids; 3) it guarantees that their kid gets more attention from the teacher than other students. Getting an IEP for your child has become an art form in some communities.

I am also not saying that this particular child does not “need” and IEP. Perhaps it is justified. But the whole concept has become so water-downed that I imagine teachers are not willing to jump thru hoops, especially if the child seems to be thriving without any hoop jumping.

Mary

September 10th, 2013
3:39 am

The IEP is a legal document that the school district is required to follow. If the teacher has been contacted and still isn’t complying with the IEP, it’s time to contact the principal and the school’s special ed. department chair. It’s the job of the special ed. department to assist the teacher in implementing the IEP. The child may indeed be smart, but the IEP was exists for a reason.

derp.

September 10th, 2013
3:51 am

journalism tip: maybe actually define what an IEP is in an article instead of making a reader go find it on their own?

too many TLAs aren’t GFB, BTW. NBD tho.

A

September 10th, 2013
5:11 am

Thank you, @derp. My child has been in public schools for 5 years and I have no clue what IEP is. Don’t assume we all know these terms!

class80olddog

September 10th, 2013
5:45 am

“How do you make sure your child gets what he/she is legally entitled to? ”

Sounds like those lawyers’ commercials “we’ll get you the biggest settlement you are legally entitled to”. No mention here of what is best for the SCHOOL. No mention of how a teacher with 180 students is supposed to keep track of all the IEP’s of kids in her classes. No mention of how many funds are being diverted from educating the other kids in order to provide services for this “special” child.

catlady

September 10th, 2013
5:50 am

First, ask for a meeting with the teacher, principal, and,sped director. Be prepared with notes of your discussions with the teacher.

I suspect the problem for the teacher is TIME.

IEPsmand 504s can be modified, but it takes a group working together.

Does the child get help from an OT or PT? How old is the child?

Don’t file a complaint or get a lawyer till after the meeting. Take. Odious notes and request a copy of the minutes immediately.

catlady

September 10th, 2013
5:56 am

Copious notes, although they may be odious as well!

motherjanegoose

September 10th, 2013
6:35 am

@ catlady…funny! YES TIME!

I just learned that my husband’s cousin’s wife has 27 Kinders in her class with no help as the other teachers need the one assistant they share. Do the math. If 10 of the 27 children needed documentation every day and it takes 15 minutes per child WHEN? BTW, for those of you not in the classroom: you cannot do this while 27 children are there ( 5-6 year olds) . You cannot do it during your lunch hour because you do not get one. Break? You go potty and get a sip of water. Yes you go to the playground too. Planning time…do you have that? Using my math, that would be 150 minutes per day or more than 12 hours per week of the teachers time.

I am not saying the children do not deserve the help. I am saying WHEN? In a month, that is an EXTRA work week. In a year, that is perhaps 2 months of extra work, unless I missed something. Are you saying:…they used to have large classes! Yes and women teachers were not allowed to marry either:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/rules-for-teachers-in-1872-no-marriage-for-women-or-barber-shops-for-men/2011/06/01/AGTSSpGH_blog.html

TWG…will you answer this question…would you have 12 extra hours per week to handle this paperwork…how about 6?

motherjanegoose

September 10th, 2013
6:37 am

Oh my bust…let’s say only 5 need documentation. That would still be 6 hours per week etc. That is about 20% of a 27 member class. Not a stretch, in my book!

Mother of 2

September 10th, 2013
6:38 am

Dysgraphia is a medical diagnosis. I don’t understand why the teacher feels more qualified to diagnose this child’s condition. One doesn’t outgrow disgrahia, so the IEP will remain with this particular student through college. It’s an actual physical disability.

While I’m sure that many teachers have numerous students with IEPs, that doesn’t mean they get to pick and choose which to follow. Teaching is a difficult profession, but dealing with numerous IEPs is part of the job. Generally, teachers are present when an IEP is created. This is their opportunity to give input about realistic obstacles to what will be asked of them to provide an education to each individual student.

A teacher who is not following an IEP needs to be dealt with quickly. Email the teacher as soon as you realize that there is a problem with the IEP. If that doesn’t work, contact the student’s advocate – every student with an IEP should be assigned an advocate. If that doesn’t work, continue up the chain of command. Usually, once a teacher learns that parents expect the IEP to be followed, they fall in line. Some teachers simply think that they know more than the professionals who deal with disabilities.

Seriously...

September 10th, 2013
6:40 am

What is IEP and why is it important?

Gail

September 10th, 2013
6:42 am

I think IEP stand for individualized education plan or program.

Mother of 2

September 10th, 2013
6:49 am

An IEP is an individual education plan. I’m surprised that this particular student doesn’t have a 504 instead. 504s are typically used when the student’s issue is a physical one only. Both of my kids have 504s and I’ve never had a problem with a teacher. However, the teachers were always present when the 504 was issued and renewed. It is much more pleasant when everyone is on board!

catlady

September 10th, 2013
7:10 am

One thing u may be overlooking: it is unlikely THIS teacher was present when the IEP was written. It would have been written last year.

I agree about the 504. What other help does this child get?

dekalb parent

September 10th, 2013
7:17 am

504s are for persons with disabilities and the accommodations that are needed for that – such as a seizure plan. IEPs are required when there are specific educational accommodations needed.. Dysgraphia, among other things, means that the child has difficulty transcribing material – such copying notes from the board or smart board. This is a disability that requires educational accommodations. IEPs are very difficult to obtain – require a great deal of work (and money) on the part of the school and the family. What is written in them is law and needs to be followed. If the teacher cannot comply then they need to figure out an accommodation that will be reasonable for both teacher and students. The lead special ed teacher or the county psychologist that wrote the plan should be contacted.

FCM

September 10th, 2013
7:30 am

Is the information available on line in a blog or Edmodo? I know my older child gets a copy of the Power Point (PPT) used in class that way. She can save it to her personal computing device (sometimes in class if she has it with her) or send to a printer. Saving it as soft copy like that would probably be easier on the teacher than getting a single copy to a student. It would fulfill the IEP (Indvidualized Educational Program) and help other students.

As to what to do when it is not followed…start being the squeaky wheel in a nice way.

Real Life

September 10th, 2013
8:01 am

IEP’s are common for many students these days and are difficult for teachers to keep up with. They are not as difficult to get as in the past as school systems are fearful of the legal repercussions if they are not given.
I wonder why the school or parent does not provide a tablet or computer for note taking in class as it is considered the best way for a student with dysgraphia to keep up in class. And as the parent’s complaint is that the notes are not handed over and not that their child is falling behind (which is the most common complaint about students with dysgraphia) then maybe the plan needs to be updated to include a computer/tablet rather than notes written by the teacher. She does not mention the child’s age at all–a factor in determining if the technology might be better suited to assist her child.
IEP’s must be followed but they should also include updates and advances in technology that are widely available today. As a retired teacher, I do know the importance of these plans. But I also saw plans written that hindered the student’s advancement because they did not reflect changes in approaches to working with students with a particular disorder and did not increase student responsibility in the classroom.
If I was the parent I would certainly arrange a meeting about the IEP, but I would also look into options about the notes–tablets or computers–that will help her and her child take more responsibility in class at age appropriate levels.

MyThoughts

September 10th, 2013
8:25 am

Why do you guys think a teacher would be resistant to following the child’s IEP? The answer is time.

My sister was a paraprofessional. Her responsibility was to keep track of all the students that had an IEP in four different math classes. There were roughly five to seven students per class with an IEP. During the class hours she sat with the students to assist them with their work. She had a 20 minute lunch break 5 days a week working 8 hour days. Since she was assisting the children during her work hours, she had to complete each IEP daily on her personal time – no overtime. It took 2-3 hours daily to complete the requirements for the students IEPs. She was paid $15,000 a year salary.

If the student is in the general education population, in my honest opinion, a teacher should not be required to follow a child’s IEP. A teacher should be aware of the IEP and accommodate the child as much as possible, but if that means the teacher has to wait 5 or 10 minutes for a child to write notes from the board, or hand write notes for one student, then this is 5-10 minutes taken away from the rest of the students that doesn’t have an IEP. Considering that the average class is 1 hour long, the majority of students lose the equivalent of 1 class session every 2 weeks when they have to wait 5 or 10 minutes to accommodate 1 student. The purpose of including children with IEPs, 504s, etc. in general education is include them in the class as they should not require extra attention.

However, if the teacher is a special education teacher, then the IEP should be followed without question and a conference between parent, teacher, counselor, and principal needs to happen asap.

MyThoughts

September 10th, 2013
9:02 am

The best technology to use for children with dysgraphia is considered to be old technology… an overhead projector. The teacher can use the overhead projector to do all notes on transparency paper and take those notes to scan it on the computer and email the notes to all students or parents. This way everyone benefits from the use of the notes. However, still make it a requirement that the students take notes in class and grade it under classroom participation.

oneofeach4me

September 10th, 2013
10:05 am

The teacher probably isn’t following it because the child currently isn’t behind, so she may not see the urgency. Of course the problem with waiting until the child IS behind only causes more problems.

Parents with children who eventually get IEP’s already have to wait until the child is behind, failing, or really struggling academically to even get one and it takes a LONG time once the IEP is in place for the child to catch back up. Therefore, I can understand why the parent is distraught and irritated with it.

On a side note, people, please remember that not every child with an IEP has a parent that just wants attention or just wants their kid to be labeled special. I know for me, I just wanted my son to be able to read. It took lots of time, cooperation, communication, meetings, and aggravation to get through the IEP process that took right at two years. If I was that parent, and the IEP wasn’t being followed, and I had put in all that work (which people complain about how parents are NEVER involved) then I would be pretty pissed.

Someone mentioned that if the child is in a mainstream class then the teacher shouldn’t have to follow the IEP and I can understand that thought process. However, she is a parent not a policy politician, and ignoring the IEP is only going to hurt the student in the long run. Also, remember, that in middle school those small group sessions begin to disappear. So if the girl is older, there may not be a small group classroom option.

Mom needs to have a meeting and address what would work for everyone involved and update the IEP if necessary.

Lynn43

September 10th, 2013
10:11 am

First, I have a child who has had an IEP since she was in third grade. She is now a senior Biology major in college. I am also a retired teacher. Because I taught all the students in the school, I could observe every child. Some with IEPs needed them and some were pushed by parents for different reasons. The one reason that bothered me the most (and still does) was parents who didn’t discipline their children and were looking for a disability excuse for their child’s bad behavior. I have worked with parents who did not want their child’s disability to interfere with other children’s education, and I have worked with parents who think their child is the only one in the classroom and “to heck” with other students’ education. I’m afraid that very soon we will start seeing most or all students have an IEP because parents just can’t accept their child as he/she is or what they want their child to be. Incidentally, even though my child had an IEP, by middle school, she refused the accommodation of the IEP. She had the forethought to know that when she got into the real world, no one would care about her IEP and that she would have to overcome her disabilities on her own. Recently, in our discussion of this, I said to her “and I didn’t cut you any slack” and she said “no, you didn’t”. Parents, make sure you do your part.

MyThoughts

September 10th, 2013
10:22 am

@oneofeach4me I am not a parent yet. I was a student who had to deal with other students in the class that had IEPs. While I wanted my fellow peers to learn and become the best they could be, their IEPs affected my learning process since the teacher always had to do something extra for them that took away time from our class. What about the other students? Everyone always discuss those with special needs, but what about the needs of the average student?

oneofeach4me

September 10th, 2013
10:25 am

@Lynn43 ~ I agree with a lot of your statements. One thing though, that you should take into account, is that some children with “behavioral issues” exhibit this behavior due to the fact that they have a disability, feel stupid, and want to mask their inadequacies. We ALL know children can be extremely cruel to each other. So a lot of times the behavior lashing out is a protection mechanism that can be corrected if the child’s learning issues are addressed.

Ann

September 10th, 2013
10:29 am

@ A Reader – Approximately 12-14% of students have IEP’s. Your 50% figure is quite an exaggeration unless you live in a town with some sort of statistical anomaly. Most parents I now who have children with disabilities do not want their child “labeled” just for attention for the parent. Do you really think a parent of a child with Autism is “out for attention”? It is not that easy to get an IEP. A child has to be identified as having a special need and evaluated by a team of experts. At IEP meetings, the parent is usually outnumbered at least 5 to 1, surrounded by a teacher, principal or special ed director, psychologists and other support staff. Most parents that attend these meetings, unless they pay for a lawyer or advocate (which is not the majority) do not have the power to just demand modifications willy-nilly without basis.

oneofeach4me

September 10th, 2013
10:38 am

@MyThoughts ~ When I said “she is a parent” I mean the mother of the child who TG was writing the post about. Also, the majority does care about the other “normal” students. That’s why people always complain about the children on the IEP.

Just imagine, for one minute, that you were the student who could barely read and had a learning disability and on top of ALL that frustration you had to deal with everyone hating you because you “took away time from others in the class”? Please don’t be so naive to think that most of the children in that situation don’t realize that their peers resent them.

I don’t want my child to take away from other’s learning instruction in the class, but at the same time I want my child to learn. Unfortunately for me, him, his teachers and his peers, he does not learn the same as his peers, nor does he think the same way as his peers, and he needs additional instruction. This is why I actually advocated for him to be pulled out of the class for small group in the areas he needed assistance in. That way, the teacher didn’t have to do anything “extra to take away from the rest of the class”.

Budget cuts have caused most of these problems in my opinion. Every year the class size increases and it doesn’t take into account the fact that there is NO WAY that 32 six year old kids are all on the same page all the time in the classroom not does it take into account the fact that IEP and 504 kids are now mainstreamed.

Blame the politicians, not the kids who need help.

cobbmom

September 10th, 2013
10:42 am

The new “grading system” for schools has limits on how many students can be served in a special education environment. It doesn’t matter how many children with special needs are in a school only a very small percentage will be served in small group/special education settings. More and more children with IEPs will be placed in the general education classroom. More responsibility for the IEP is going to be placed on general education teachers while special education settings are phased out.

Ann

September 10th, 2013
10:44 am

@ motherjanegoose – I am not sure why you are doing all that math to calculate some sort of time that you think this would involve on the part of teachers. About 12-14% of kids have IEP’s and these kids are not all even in integrated classrooms. So, let’s say there are 3-4 kids in a classroom of 30 with IEP’s. The question in the blog was in regards to notes. If several kids need notes, the teacher would only have to prepare it once. You don’t need to multiply it out as if the teacher is doing it over and over for different kids. And, wouldn’t some teachers have lecture notes or outlines already prepared for their lessons anyway, for the benefit of the whole class? Yes, some things take extra time. But, to arbitrarily add up all these hours perpetuates myths.

Some are also making an incorrect assumption that IEP and 504 accommodations always require extra “time” on the part of a teacher. Some accommodations are as simple as: the child will have a desk in the front near the teacher, there will be a quiet place the child can go to when they need to get away from the noise, extra time on tests. There are many examples that do not involve extra teacher prep. Oftentimes, the IEP specifies the child leave the classroom for an hour for a reading specialist or speech or occupational therapy. This actually reduces the teacher time with that child. When issues are extensive, there is often an aide that works with the child. IEP’s often also list goals for the child to be accomplished over time, such as a 15 year old student will learn to balance a checkbook.

Ann

September 10th, 2013
10:57 am

@ My Thoughts – Good luck changing the federal law of the land that has been around for decades. Lest any of you think this is some sort of liberal agenda, the law was first signed by a Republican president, later expanded by another Republican president, with support and input also from Democratic politicians. One of the initial intents of the law was that, if all children received adequate education, they would more likely become productive citizens as adults and would not be a burden to society.

After spending many years in public school and college, the way I recall classrooms is that there are many children who take time away from the teacher and class. And, I am referring to kids that did not have IEP’s, some average, some gifted. You have the kids that are misbehaving, chattering, cheating or not paying attention. There are sometimes “bright” kids who like to comment constantly to “show off”. And, you have others who ask lengthy questions too frequently. Most kids need individual attention at various points in the school year for numerous reasons. Maybe they are experiencing personal or family issues or they just aren’t grasping a particular concept quickly. From reading these comments, you would think that if children with disabilities were totally removed from the classroom, all other kids would be “lock-step” on the same page constantly every day. Really?

WitchyWoman

September 10th, 2013
11:31 am

Just my thoughts. It IS the teacher’s and school’s legal responsibility to follow the IEP. The mother should talk to the principal and the teacher together BEFORE she goes all gung-ho and gets all lawyered up. It would be a waste of her money if the problem could be solved with a few words to the special education department. The funny part to all this is that even though schools and teachers have to sit through numerous meetings and follow all kinds of compliance measures, student can at any time decline whatever the service or modification with no consequence. It is completely possible that the child is telling the teacher that he/she doesn’t need the notes written for him/her and telling mom something different. NEVER discount the social aspect of this situation. What may have been fine a few years ago, could be embarrassing now. Also, there are other ways to get notes. There are small machines the student could use to type the notes or maybe he/she could use a tape recorder. Most teachers actually already have copies of the notes that they are going to give the students. In some cases though it does require extra time to write or type them in a format that the student can understand.

Based on what the mom has said, the child is doing fine without the notes. Is it possible that the teacher may start providing the notes when the information gets more complicated or in depth? We are only hearing one side of this…well two if you count Theresa.

Oh and a individual teacher can decide not to do a parts of the IEP if they can document(I mean show a lot of proof) that it is not benefiting the student, or if another better method can be used. THIS is how a lot of IEPs get changed and updated. They have interim meetings to modify IEPs all the time.

Ann

September 10th, 2013
11:42 am

The parent can get assistance and advice from the Parent Training & Information Center (PTI) in their state. These are federally funded support centers that help families of children with special needs to navigate the educational system. The centers are there to help parents learn about their rights and how to access services and support for their child. In Georgia, they are offer free workshops and assistance over the phone. Most of the time, these issues can be resolved with out lawyers. There are times, though, when lawyers are needed, such as the abuse case and coverup that occurred in Milton. The first place to start is at the teacher level. If that doesn’t work, then you go up from there. Stay pleasant, but firm, regarding your child’s needs. Listen and compromise when appropriate. Involve your child in the decisions when appropriate.

A

September 10th, 2013
11:45 am

Thanks everyone for the great explanations of IEP. Wish the original post had that much detail on what they are rather than assuming we all knew.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 10th, 2013
11:58 am

I am very sorry for not defining IEP — We have talked about them before so I assumed too much. Ann is right on!! I am with you Ann. Parents don’t want their kids labeled and they have to be doing terribly to get the IEP to begin with. It is quite a process to get one and is quite a fight for the parents. Many school absolutely fight against fulfilling their federal and legal obligations to make sure that every child is educated. It’s sometimes hard to know if administrators at schools are being malicious or are just uneducated but I am constantly shocked at how schools screw over kids and parents and do not fulfill their legal obligations in regards to 504 and IEPs. I don’t care how much time it takes. It is a federal law and all the children deserve protection and their rights. REally burns me up!

xxx

September 10th, 2013
12:00 pm

An IEP is what used to be called being a parent. Seems like its been outsourced.

Real Life

September 10th, 2013
12:18 pm

You are right TWG, ALL children do deserve protection and a good education. But those without IEPs or other such special needs in a mainstream classroom are often shortchanged so that those with the plans get the legally mandated extra attention. I have no idea what to suggest to solve this problem. But I did experience it before I retired. The majority of parental complaints I had my last 2 years of teaching were from parents thinking their children were being overlooked simply because they had no documented disability. It was and is a problem with no easy solution. You talk about screwing over kids with these problems but do not look at the other side and see that the kids without these programs are being screwed over as well.

catlady

September 10th, 2013
2:06 pm

Parents should also recognize that IEP/504s are,also legally bound by the terms. We have had apparent this year who has not done what,they agreed to do!

FCM

September 10th, 2013
2:10 pm

I know when the kids who are “gifted” go to TAG or whatever the various schools call it the learning in the regular classroom virtual halts. The regular teacher does not want to introduce new materials because of the students in TAG not being present.

THere are many sides to this issue. I have a daughter who tests very high on the CRCTS (very very high–in the 900s!) but has an IEP. You may wonder why. She is left handed …and believe it or not I had to put an IEP in place to say that she could sit so her elbow does not bump other people when she writes! I had it put on her paperwork from the start of Kinder but most teachers never read it (they told me). Her work improved almost immediately. When they are to do a reading comprehension test she sits at a table by herself where she can real “aloud” to herself the material without disturbing the other students. This is because we found she retains infomation she hears better than information she reads…this allows her to learn.

My other child has test anxiety. Her teachers (although she is not IEP’d) have her sit off to the side or in a different room to take her test. That way she doesn’t feel that her peers are “watching” her take the test.

It is about the kids learning and becoming productive parts of society. It is not about who is “special” whether it is due to TAG or IEP. It is not about putting teachers out…and honestly from the older child (without an IEP) and many of the teachers here, I learned tht teachers really do work with the parent if you try to work with them.

motherjanegoose

September 10th, 2013
2:12 pm

@ Ann….thanks for your input.

I deal with early childhood. These are not classes where the teacher can typically lecture or send copies of his/her notes home. Kinder children with different learning styles need things to be documented. My point was about a class with 27 Kinder students…someone I know personally. Their are children in those classes with IEPs too! How can teachers be expected to do all of this? I have no idea. Parents tell us they do not have time to read ONE BOOK to their child each night. It is the teacher’s job to teach and not theirs. Guess what…that may be correct but those parents who do muster up the time to read to their kids, have children who will run circles around yours. Just the facts.

I do know quite a few teachers ( my age) who had enough and retired. I believe Real Life offers a REAL version of what is happening too. Gotta hand it to the teachers who go through the wringer every day and still love their job. Not as many of them out there…that’s for sure!

I love reading the comments on this blog from teachers, former teachers, children and parents of teachers and those who are married to teachers.

motherjanegoose

September 10th, 2013
2:55 pm

oops…There…sorry…long day!

catlady

September 10th, 2013
3:25 pm

FAPE should be guaranteed to ALL students, not just sped.

MissMary

September 10th, 2013
4:14 pm

Wow…it always amazes me how quick some of TWG’s readers are to judge, pass judgments, and make assumptions (whether right or wrong). That said, in the spirit of full disclosure: I am the friend. The former neighbor, the mom with the child. So here I go; I want to make a couple of things clear (er) for some.
Yes, the IEP was done at the previous school. However, when a child is going from elem to middle, case workers from each school go over evaluations and recommendations before the last IEP is done at elem school. Yes, I have learned that teachers don’t often read IEPs. Yes, they may have a lot in each class. Yes, it is difficult to ‘deal’ with it. But should I remain silent and let my kid suffer? The answers will always be a resounding “NO!”
Now here is the fun part: yes, my girl has dysgraphia. But that was the last of her diagnoses! She Also has dyspraxia, ADHD, somatosensory disorder…in a nutshell, she processes things very differently from most, is constantly on a 3 second delay, has asbirgers-like tendencies, has extreme difficulty focusing, and cannot process (especially receiving and outputting) information like most do. It is weird, it is complicated, it is unusual to see these things together. Do you see the need for and IEP now? And, yes, we did function under a 504 for a while, but almost immediately started the 9-month long process of getting an IEP… To answer one post’s question: yes, she has had OT and PT the last 2 years at school, as well as a companion computer and keyboarding class the last year. Also, we do dance classes 2 hours to avoid more therapy (for the dyspraxia). This year she is in a (very small) elective class 2x a week for organization and peer development.
Kid is smart as a whip…would be in 2 advance classes if she could keep up with the writing pace. Has scored above the national average on CRCT last 2 rounds. Received the Presiden’s Academic Honor award last year. Kid is not stupid…she just has to get there a different way.
I know it sounds crazy to some, but she LITERALLY cannot write like most. And if she’s rushed, forget it. My 5-year-old niece writes better. And that is why I was SO fired up about the IEP not being followed. At her school, the teachers literally type their (own) class notes, so all they have to do is hit ‘print’… But science teacher “feels kid does not pay enough attention” when notes are provided. I have sent another email to the case worker, and have requested a meeting. if anyone is interested, I will post results in the future.

Kat

September 10th, 2013
6:13 pm

Your child has “Asperger’s.” Not whatever it was that you wrote, MissMary. If your kid has it, you should know more about it. One of my children has it and an IEP.

The parent is the best advocate, but should not be the only one unless the school is sub-par. If there are more concerns than the physical, special education should be involved. It doesn’t sound as if anything formal has happened with this teacher. Forgive me if I’m wrong. Meet with the teacher for this purpose, and insist that the school’s Special Education rep is there as well. If you are not happy with what comes from that, say so before the meeting ends. Tell them you don’t think things are set up properly, and say you will call the school to set something up with the administration. Things can (and should) improve.

Seems like there is a lesson plan that each teacher follows. To ask him/her to provide additional notation could be quite time-consuming from what others have said. If more than one student needs the same information, wouldn’t everyone get a printout of the same lesson plan? Does the information need to be managed differently for each child?

It’s possible that if too many accommodations are needed, then you would need to look into a different schooling option. We’ve been fortunate in that our school system, which we chose specifically based on our needs has been amazing.

Good luck!

Long time educator

September 10th, 2013
6:19 pm

As others have said, the IEP or 504 is a legal document and the teacher MUST follow it, unless and until another meeting is held and it is changed. Sometimes secondary teachers try to blow them off, but legally they are bound to follow them. Report this problem to the teacher’s supervisor or the special ed teacher who has your daughter on her caseload. They will help you because they do not want to end up at a Federal hearing which can affect funding for your whole district. As several have commented, it may be time to reevaluate the accommodations and make sure they are the best fit. I was an administrator in Georgia who listened to a friend with a similar complaint talk about the refusal of her son’s high school in another state to follow the middle school 504 plan. I offered to go with her to the 504 meeting as moral support because I knew that even if there were teachers who were uncooperative, there would be administrators who would be interested in following the rules if they knew they had a parent who understood her child’s right to have the plan followed. The teacher didn’t like it, but she was told in clear terms that she would follow the plan. By the way, the request was that her son, who had had SEVEN hip surgeries, and was in constant pain, needed to sit at the back of the room and stand up occasionally. The teacher said if she let him stand up, she would have to let everyone, and that would be disruptive. I couldn’t believe my ears, but she actually said that. My friend finally pulled him out and put him in private school where she had no trouble at all getting the needed accommodations. My district is VERY strict about IEP’s and 504 Plans and every teacher in my school is required to read and sign that they have read all IEP’s, 504’s and Health Plans before the students ever arrive.

WitchyWoman

September 10th, 2013
6:22 pm

@MissMary…So are none of her IEP accomodations and modifications being met or is it just this one? Has your daughter asked for the notes and been told no? Also, have you looked into any of the assistive technologies for writing and or note taking. Not just for this class, but for writing in general. The Livescribe Pen works wonders for some students. Would a technology be a distraction for her?

catlady

September 10th, 2013
7:02 pm

MissMary, when you only know PART of the story, readers try to fill in the blanks. Not judge mental, just seeking,to guess what goes in the blanks.

seminole

September 10th, 2013
7:22 pm

MissMary –
I am sorry that the teacher is not providing a copy of the notes – I am hoping that she doesn’t understand dysgraphia, but I hate that it makes teachers look bad. I agree with earlier posters that you try to resolve the issue by contacting the principal and/or special education administrator or dept. chair. I would encourage you to only hire an advocate as a last resort. As someone with lots of experience in this area, a special education advocate will ensure that all of your child’s teachers will dread teaching her (not because she’s a bad child, but because they don’t want to deal with your advocate). Advocates are paid by the hour and usually nit-pick documents to death over 4-5 hour meetings. While I have met 2 really good advocates in 15 years, the rest in metro Atlanta are quite contentious and sometimes downright nasty towards the school staff. Ultimately, a good, open relationship goes a long way!

TWG – PLEASE, stop the public school bashing when it comes to special education – I have read several of your columns on this topic and could not help myself from commenting this time. I have worked tirelessly to help students with disabilities, my co-workers have done the same, and my school system spends an incredible amount of $$ in this area (and its still not enough). An overwhelming percentage of parents are happy with the services we provide (we receive regular surveys and feedback from parents of students with disabilities). Are we perfect all the time? No, but neither are physicians, attorneys, or even newspaper columnists/bloggers. Your columns suggest that public schools overwhelmingly deny services and supports to students with disabilities. It is demoralizing to me and others who have dedicated our careers to helping these students.

MissMary

September 10th, 2013
9:48 pm

Thanks everyone! Let me clear up a couple of things…
Sorry I misspelled Asperger’s…I ALWAYS have trouble with that! She has been screened not one year but two. Does not have it, but does exhibit several attributes, such as social awkwardness, obsessive behaviors, etc. that is why she IS in a special education class for organization and peer relations.
She does have a PC companion, which she mostly uses for language arts, but has it in all classes. May ,ove to voice recognition technology at some point.
She does have a case manager, whom she sees every day in language arts class. Both the ‘regular’ and special education teacher are in there. Also sp Ed teacher every other day. And 6th grade asst principle is the sp Ed AP for the school. Whew!
Lastly, it appears things are being followed in all the other classes. Though she has a lot of ’stuff’ the accommodations that affect her ‘regular teachers’ are to have her sit I. The front of the room, provide notes//study guides, and not count off for spelling. Our local school system has been amazing to her and us…the team at the elementary school could not have been more supportive or more of an advocate for my girl. I think, in time, the same will be true at the middle school, but we have some bumps to work out. Heck, the AP called me, at home, the FIRST day of school to see if Inhad any questions, for crying out loud!! We are going to gets there…we just get there a little differently. ;)

beth

September 11th, 2013
1:08 am

This all makes me very nervous. We beleive my 2nd grader is dyslexic. She exhibits alot of the writing problems MissMary talks about, but she has not been formally tested. She is currently at or above grade level in most areas, comprehension thru the roof, but struggles with reading (phonics and decoding) and writing. Most of the time her horrible spelling and non existent word spacing and punctuaiton make her writing virtually illegible. But at the same time, she tested into our school’s gifted program. She is very bright, but can’t seem to get that out onto paper in any kind of legible format. And for the record… she is not a behavior problem. She is the opposite actually because she is very shy and she would be very embarrassed to be singled out for bad behavior. I don’t think she has ever gotten a time out in her life (at school/preschool).

Anyway… the school says they won’t test unless she is failing. The teachers so far clearly recognize that there is a problem and have been very understanding and doing what they can to help her, but I’m worried that 3rd grade is going to be the killer. We are trying to organize the funds to have her privately tested. I have to admit that I don’t really understand how IEPs and 504s work. I know that I don’t want to cause more work for the teacher. I want to help the teacher do her job.