Special Education Case Study With Iep Anywhere

(see Topics L – Z)

A: Accommodations |  ADHD | Advocacy | Aides | Assistive Technology | Attorneys

B: Behavior | Braille | Bullying

C: Child Find | Class Size |Classification | Complaints | Compliance & Implementation | Confidentiality & Privacy

D: Diplomas |Discipline | Discrimination | Documentation | Due Process | Dyslexia

E: Eligibility | ESL | ESY | Evaluations | Extra Curricular


G: Goals | Grades

H: Homebound

I: IDEA 2004 | IEPs | Independent Educational Evaluations IEE



Even more answers – in this topic listing



Mari:  I’m a regular ed teacher. I have two students that need accommodations for ADHD. In both cases, the parents have been told by physicians that their child has ADHD, but because they didn’t want to medicate, nothing was put in writing. My district refuses to put them on a 504 plan until the parents bring in a written doctor diagnosis. I have been very firm with the Special Ed Director in insisting that it is our job to determine their disability. Meanwhile the year is ticking away and these kids will leave me and be out of my reach. My district would very much like to fire me. Am I right or are they right? My parents are unable to afford a trip to the doctor and I don’t think they should have to. Help!

Morning:  Mari, I want to applaud you for being such a strong advocate for students. I know of many students with ADHD who are not on medication with documentation from their doctors. What can you do for these kids? I would encourage you to educate the parents on how to navigate the school system and refer the parents to state resources to help them. Many parents that I work with have had great success this way. It does not involve money but it does involve an investment of time by a parent or guardian. Once a parent is empowered with information, they can better advocate for their child. Sometimes, parents are the change agents in this type of scenario. I admire your persistence—

Jennifer:  Mari, while I feel your pain, I have never heard of a school being allowed to diagnose ADHD. There surely are some resources that can help these parents obtain the services they need. Teachers can certainly recognize the symptoms, but they cannot diagnose. Willingness or unwillingness to medicate should not stop the diagnosis from happening. Maybe they need a different doctor.


Mary:  My 16 year old son has Aspergers, ADD, Anxiety, and Depression. His school does not want him to have a 504 because he he gets good grades even though they have made unofficial accommodations; whereas we and his health providers believe we should make those accommodations official (such as reduced workload when overwhelmed and flexible scheduling). It sounds like they are going to refuse us, what are our options?

Sandy:  Good grades are NO reason to deny a 504, especially when accommodations are already being offered. Push for the official 504-tell them you want it for use with ACT/SAT, college, etc. (so they feel less defensive). If they refuse, you can request a special education evaluation under IDEA and 504, which will take them more time and effort than simply giving you a 504. Hope this helps!


Emily:  At my sons 3 year reevaluation the fairly prestigious school he attends advised that his paper pencil accommodation (listed on his IEP since 3rd grade) for state testing was no longer valid now that he is in middle school. His documented disability is aspergers syndrome and he has a documented delay in processing. Parent advocate is also telling me that I can‚Äôt do anything about it. My child has been very very successful when given accommodations of both ET and Paper Pencil based tests. Can anyone tell me if I have any recourse for this action? I am an educator and accommodate students daily, did I miss something?

Chuck:  Emily, are they saying that the accommodation is not valid for state testing, instruction or both? They should have a district policy or state rule to show you what supports their statement. You can request a Prior Written Notice from them explaining why they cannot, or will not do this. You could make a complaint to the state education agency or request mediation. Contact your state parent training & information center. They should be able to help you.

JG:  Emily,  Did the Team explain why the accommodation was no longer valid? One potential reason I can think of is the use of that accommodation on statewide standardized testing.

For a student to receive a particular accommodation on statewide testing, he should routinely be using that same accommodation during in-class testing. For this reason, many IEP Teams will not include a testing accommodation anywhere on the IEP if it is not allowed during statewide testing.

It’s possible that the accommodation your son received previously is only an approved accommodation through a certain age or grade. You could check with your state’s testing manual to check this.

Whatever the reason, the Team should discuss whether a new testing accommodation is needed (the testing manual can be helpful for this).

You can ask that any new accommodation be tested out for a certain period of time. Then the Team can meet again when this time period is up, to determine if the accommodation is working or if a new one should be tried.

If you feel strongly about the use of the accommodation, disagree with any new one that is selected, or disagree if the Team selects no new one, you do have access to dispute resolution options. You could ask for mediation, or could request a due process hearing.

Accommodations:  OHI-SPED

Gina:  My daughter is currently under the 504 plan for OHI however we are needing a bit more help other than the current accommodations. She has qualified because of some seizures. I will not go into the specifics. I would like to try to qualify her with SPED is this possible?

JG:  Gina – If you think the 504 plan is not meeting her needs but *could* be revised to meet her needs, you can ask the school to do so. You can also ask them to reevaluate her, so they have current information about her needs (Section 504 requires periodic reevaluation).

If you think the 504 plan is not meeting her needs and revising it would not change that, you can certainly ask that your daughter be evaluated for eligibility for special education. Here’s a sample letter requesting an initial evaluation: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/evaluation-2/.

You can connect with your local parent center for info on your rights regarding both Section 504 and evaluation under IDEA: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/.

Sophie:  Since advocating for an IEP may take some time, I would suggest that in the meantime you work on strengthening her 504 plan. The single thing that helped me the most in strengthening my son’s 504 plan was that a local special education lawyer told me, “I’ve seen very detailed, lengthy 504 plans, where the list of accommodations went on for several pages.” After hearing that, I started asking for every specific accommodation I could think of that might help my son to be more comfortable and successful in school.


Lauren:  How should I proceed if ACT has granted multiple-day accommodations to my child over a 3-week period in order to take the ACT exam and the school is not cooperating with providing a schedule that works for my child (given his needs) and also refuses to secure a proctor that is available?

Sophie:  Lauren, I don’t have specific experience with this, but my first idea would be to contact the folks at the ACT Program, including a copy of the IEP or 504 plan. Also, take a look at these instructions for homebound students: http://www.actstudent.org/faq/confined.html

Because ACT is a private organization I am not sure that the accommodations they approved can be enforced. My son does have a 504 but our school has stated that it is is a courtesy that they administer the ACT and are under no obligation to do so, and, that it is a loss of revenue for them each time they do. That is somewhat confusing since ACT pays the proctors. I called ACT special testing and they said I might need to find a different school for him to take it at but that would be difficult to arrange being that he is not be their student.


Holly:  My seventh grade son is dyslexic and dysgraphic. The Special Educator blames my son for everything. My son has tracking issues and cannot take scanned tests. He was given one yesterday and I emailed her. Her response, “XXXX was asked by both the teacher and the paraeducator if he would rather write on his test then take the scantron and he refused. This was documented.” I feel like responding with this…”XXX was asked by my husband and myself to do his homework but he refused and this has been documented.” I get it that my son doesn’t want to be different. Is there any legal recourse for requiring my child to accept these accommodations? Or is there any way I can word the IEP differently?

Morning: If you think about it, special education and you have tracked and carefully planned his education. He had little or no say in the process or did he? I ran into a similar issue when my son was in middle school. My son was given choices and we collaborated with the teachers and administrators. The issue of “looking different” deeply pained him. His voice was heard and he advocated for himself. His self advocacy boosted his confidence and motivated him to continue to achieve. He “owned” and significantly contributed to his IEP goals, use of AT, etc. He is doing well and headed for college. I also think the teachers are as frustrated as you are. Students sometimes shut down for various reasons.

Chuck:  FYI – For Parents: 5 Things Your Middle-Schooler with Dyslexia Can Say to Self-Advocate
Middle school can be a tough time for kids with dyslexia. Your child probably doesn’t want to feel singled out, so it’s important that he build self-advocacy skills to get what he needs. Rehearsing common situations with your child can help him know where to start. From our partner, Understood.org.

Sophie:  Are we talking about the bubble sheets? Does your son test in an alternate location? If not, please get that, since your son would feel less self-conscious when he’s not right there in the classroom with everyone else during exams. // Perhaps you could compromise with your son and ask him to write in the test booklet AND fill in the bubble sheet, and then ask the staff to check for inconsistencies, and ask him for clarification if needed. For that, it might be helpful to have an extra time accommodation. // My son got a big boost from going to a camp for children with his disability.


Kristin:  My daughter has IEP. She is getting a D in a class. She has A’s in this class but is failing assessments. The teacher has not communicated via email, sometimes does not respond.

Retakes of tests and modified tests are accommodations. The teacher said a retake would not include the existing curve. I popped in to visit the teacher unannounced since he wasn’t responding to email. He said he had read the IEP early on, but not since. He acted surprised about the accommodations, said he would revisit the IEP again. His service coordinator is looking into it.

What actions can I expect to improve his grade now?

As:  If your teacher is willing to work with you on things, then great. I have had various alternatives given to show a child’s understanding in a subject area, incl. written reports, dialogues between teacher-student (oral tests or discussions), project boards, retakes, video documentaries, etc. it would depend on child’s age, class, abilities. If the case worker is looking into it, keep working with them on finding a good solution for your son, and possibly being specific on alternatives for the future.


Janet:  Modification or accommodation? CALIFORNIA

JG: Janet, Accommodations are designed to provide a student with equal access, and do not fundamentally alter standards or expectations.

Modifications are designed to provide a student with meaningful access, and do fundamentally alter the standards or expectations.

Depending on how much the work load is reduced, this could potentially be an accommodation or modification.

If the student is working at the same grade level as other students and learning the same content, but (for example) has to complete half as many math problems as other students, this is likely an accommodation.

Janet: Where is that line? What about the rest of his classes? To much busy work.
Thanks for your input.

JG:  Where that line lies is definitely subjective, but I’ve seen reduced workload used most often as an accommodation. If your child needs that adaption, it wouldn’t matter what you call it as long as it’s provided!

I’m not sure if this child has an IEP or 504 plan, but  IEPs can and usually do include both accommodations and modifications (modifications is the “special” in special education). We usually think of 504 plans in terms of accommodations, but nothing prevents a 504 plan from also including modifications.

In any case‚ if you have questions about whether your child is getting the support/services that they need (and they have either an IEP or a 504 plan), evaluation is a great tool for providing clarity and direction.

Janet:  JG, thanks. Anthony has an IEP. My concern about modification verses accommodation is last year I was told that He would not get a diploma. This year I was told he would get a diploma,but there would be a M ( modified) on his transcripts. He is in college prep classes.

JG:  A very valid concern. You *can* request a due process hearing regarding this issue, whether it’s an accommodation or modification. That little M can potentially have a large impact on his future.

You can also contact OCR at the federal Dept of Education about the legality of the M. It generally can only be used if it does not indicate that the modification is due to disability. See here: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-qa-20081017.html


Suzanne: We made a decision as to an accommodation during an IEP meeting and it was not included in the IEP that was printed and sent to me.Whatever do I do????

Jennifer:  As a parent, I would ask for another meeting to clear it up.


Paul:  I have been told by a teacher that in her classes, RSP students who have accommodations can’t get higher than a C grade. I’m told it is because the other students don’t get these accommodations, so a C grade is fair.
I think this is wrong, but can’t find any info to support my view.

Chuck:  I believe that this would be considered discrimination under Section 504 by the Office of Civil Rights who enforces that law.


Tamyron: Son is 9th grade high school student w/ADHD, high function Aspergers- when he was in Middle School & below, accomodation of “provide advance notice of major assignments and tests.” Until now, didn’t realize this needed clarification-teachers always communicated with me, unit calendars always in print or online. Now, in 9th grade, two teachers are stating that the changing nature of their curriculum doesn’t allow for them to create a unit, or even semester, calendar- they say things like, “we write everything on the board, all your son has to do is copy it down.” I have absolutely no way to support, help organize, or even know what he’s studying. Can they refuse to give a class assignment or semester calendar like this?

Chuck:  Tamyron, it is not uncommon for MS & HS teachers to find reasons for not following accommodations. If the campus principal(s) understand the accommodation & agree that it can be implemented, then they could direct the teachers to do so without an ARD/IEP meeting. I would suggest starting with the principal. If that does not help, request an ARD/IEP meeting. I work for the TX Parent Training & Information Project & we can assist you. The main office # is 800-866-4726 & http://www.partnerstx.org/


Shavonne: My austistic son has been denied restroom access on 3 separate occasions which has caused him to urinated on himself in a class of 25+ students. What can I do? How do I not respond with anger and ranting?

Wrightslaw: Shavonne, you write a letter to the Director of Special Ed, copy to the Superintendent, describing what happened at school. {Someone} denied him access to the bathroom. He urinated on himself. He reacted by xxx, yyy, zzz. This needs to be resolved immediately. Please advise when my son will have access to the bathroom as needed.


karyn: My 7 year old son has Sensory Integration Disorder as well as Chronic Lyme disease. He has an ARD in place (we are in Texas) for Speech issues. The common issues associated with Sensory Integration are present and acknowledged in his ARD as well as being frequently tardy to school due to both chronic exhaustion as well as issues with task completion (unless it is hand over hand). 90% of his tardy arrivals involve being less than 5 minutes late. He has had several absences simply due to illness. These are “excused”. The late arrivals are not. The school has filed charges and I have been summoned to court for “failure to attend school”. This is how I discovered that unless his ARD specifically is about the Lyme or SPD then the input/accommodations I always discuss mean nothing. Any similar experiences? Advice?

Chuck: Karyn, I work for the TX federally funded Parent Training & Information Center. We have staff through out the state. You can find the person serving your area at: http://www.partnerstx.org/ or contact me at: cnoe59@hotmail.com You need to provide the judge with information about your son’s condition & anything in the IEP paperwork that relates to his behavior & needs. We can assist you in addressing the tardies with the ARD/IEP team. You can also let the judge know that you will be doing this, since the school is required to address & meet his needs.

Accommodations:  ALLERGY TABLE

Jill:  We have several students with severe food allergies at our school. They carry epi pens to lunch with them. There are designated tables (No Peanut Table, No Dairy Table, etc) Other children may sit there, as long as their lunch does not have the specific food. The teachers at lunch (myself included) specifically check the lunches at these tables to make sure they are safe. (Also-there are about 160 kids at lunch and 2 adults on duty and I work in a K-4 building)
This year, we have had several parents request that their child, with severe food allergies, not sit at the designated tables. They do not want the child to “feel different”. So, if the child sits where they want, at the parents’ request, and has an allergic reaction, who is liable-the parents or the school?

Patty:  Are you certain these parents (that don’t want the kids at the “allergy table” are the parents of the kids with the severe allergies? My child only has intolerance, so I might be inclined to be like one of these moms. If they are severe, moms and kids might benefit by knowing that other kids would be more angry if they couldn’t bring a food because of another child’s allergy.


Susan: My daughter attends a private school and was independently evaluated in 7th grade for ADHD and a math learning disorder. After her evaluation she began taking Vyvance and has received (1 1/2) extended time on tests and PSAT. The school requires re-evaluation every 3 years and she was recently evaluated by the same independent psychologist.

This time the psychologist informed us that because she “did so well” academically and on her evaluation she would probably lose the extended time accommodation. My child cannot finish her math and science tests without the extended time due to her visual processing disability. She is bright and studies hard but cannot work faster. What is the rationale behind denying extended time if she makes good grades (B’s in math and science)? What rights do we have?

K.Ball: Susan, you should explain that the only reason she did so well was because of the extended time. A re-eval should encompass more than just the psych eval, it should also take into consideration parent, teacher and student input.


Mary: I am a Special Education high school teacher who has had three special ed administrators that I have worked under. The first two administrators would not allow the Team and/or special education teacher to add an accommodation at an annual team meeting. However, we could remove an accommodation not used by the student as long as it was agreed upon by the team. We could add accommodations only at a three year reevaluation because the testing would backup any/ all new accommodations. My new administrator states that I can add accommodations at an annual team meeting without three year testing. Is this legal to do? What if I felt a student needed an accommodation that a regular education teacher doesn’t agree with, can a special education administrator over rule this decision? I hope this isn’t too confusing to understand.

Wrightslaw: Mary, maybe I am confused. The student’s needs – based on the strengths and weaknesses in the present levels – drive the IEP. These strengths and weaknesses help the IEP team (the whole team – not just one teacher/administrator) decide on the individualized accommodations that are appropriate for a child. The present levels should be updated every time the IEP team meets. http://www.wrightslaw.com/howey/iep.present.levels.htm

A parent can request their child’s IEP be revised at any time. A parent, teacher, or related services provider may decide that a child’s IEP needs to reviewed/revised early, before the annual review, certainly without waiting 3 years. There are any number of reasons that could trigger a revision of the IEP (including accommodations noted in the IEP). Chapter 11, Wrightslaw: All About IEPs.

You are receiving confusing/conflicting information from administrators, sometimes they just don’t know. As a special ed teacher you need reliable information about the legal requirements for IEPs.

Use these resources.
IEPs at http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/iep.index.htm
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law at http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/selaw2/selaw2.htm, 20 U.S.C. 1414(d), 34.C.F.R. 300.303, 300.320-324.
Wrightslaw: All About IEPs at http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/aaiep/index.htm
Don’t hesitate to use the search box on any Wrightslaw.com page.

Sorry if I have misunderstood your question. If the admin could share the section in the statute / federal regulations about the requirements for adding accommodations only at certain times, maybe it would be clearer to me.


Patricia: My daughter’s 10th grade World Geography teacher posted a 1st semester exam review with 140 questions on his website. I think he should he also be posting a modified exam review (with fewer questions) for those students taking a modified version of the exam. Is there any policy or law that supports my thoughts? I sent him an email asking if he was planning to do so. What should I do if he refuses to do so? Thank you.

K.Ball: Patricia, no the teacher does not need to modify the test only because your child is taking a modified state test. The modifications/accommodations page of your child’s IEP is what would determine whether or not the modified test needs to be provided. Also, remember that the goal of SPED is to get the student’s back to gen ed, not keep them in SPED forever.


Kendra: My ADHD high schooler has an IEP and gets extended time on tests. The teachers give her the tests one page at a time in case she needs to use the extended time. This is embarrassing to her. It really does not seem right to me.

SharonL:  Kendra, my children also got extended time but got the test all at once. In college my son takes his math tests over a 2 day period because of the stress level. It has helped reduce his stress but the test is not delivered one page at at time.
That does sound ridiculous.

Morning:  The first place, if you have not already done so, is sit down with your child and role play a discussion with the teacher about her concerns and suggested ideas. This promotes self advocacy. She must go in with a plan with alternative solutions which are comfortable for her. I know teachers who use the one page at a time but if it is not working for your daughter have her work with the teacher or you can talk to the teacher as long as you have alternatives to bring to the table. Seems like the teacher is trying. Sometimes, it is simply just a conversation.

ASDmom: Send e-mail to teacher that this is embarrassing and causing undue stress/anxiety. Go up the chain of command if needed. Recently dealt with similar issue – teacher ignored request to stop embarrassing child (she knew better) then backpeddled in the end.


Tracy:  My son receives time and a half on all tests as an accommodation in his IEP. He has dyslexia and needs the extra time to successfully show what he knows. He has an above average IQ and does great in math. He is taking the CogAT test to determine if he qualifies for a high ability class next year. Does his school have to give him time and a half on the CogAT since that is an accommodation in his IEP? Or because it’s a high ability test can they chose to not allow any accommodations?

SharonL:  Tracy,  my children got any accommodations that were listed in the IEP on ANY test they took. After all the disability does not go away on certain tests therefore they needed the accommodations on every test.


Shevon:  I am having difficulties with my daughters school. She has an IEP for SLD where she receives services for Reading, Math, and Writing. She should be getting 10 hrs of small group, 5 hrs collab, and 5 hrs support (para). Her Spec ed teacher has been out for the past 3 weeks and she has not received proper accommodations. I have spoken with the gen ed teachers as well as sent a follow-up email to the Spec ed dept chair advising of my concerns. Her grades are reflecting the lack of services and accommodations. I have tried to speak with the teachers and was advised they didn’t have time to follow all accommodations and was not getting the support from the other teachers. What can I do to ensure my daughter gets what she needs to be successful, especially with her being in the fifth grade and preparing for CRCT. Please help!

Sandy:  Have them put in writing that the teachers do not have the time to provide the accommodations, and then file a state complaint for non-implementation of the IEP. Or at least let them know that’s what you intend to do unless IEP services start immediately, with compensatory education time for the time your child lost. Just my advice. Hope it helps!


TJ:  Our daughter is dyslexic, in a public school, with an IEP, doing extremely well. We were very aggressive with the accommodations in her IEP in middle school to ensure we were prepared in advance for her HS transition. She is now 3 weeks into 9th grade and the school is sharing that they feel some of her accommodations are modifications rather than accommodations. I disagree – I spent a lot of time with the middle school counselor that I felt really did work on our behalf to ensure this was all in place. How do I verify the difference between an accommodation that will not hinder her diploma and college entrance chances and modifications that will hurt her in the long run. To provide an example: her IEP says that when spelling is not the focus of the test or quiz, there needs to be a word bank for her to work use for fill in the blanks.

SharonL:  TJ, it sounds like your IEP is right on track. You can request that they put their concerns in writing to make it clearer. Otherwise the IEP will stand until someone makes a change and they cannot do that without your involvement and consent unless they want to go to due process.


Shay:  I am the mother of twin, pre k boys in special education pre k program. The boys have 24/7 nursing services but the school will not allow their nurse to accompany them to school. Do you know of a district in Texas that has allowed this? Looking for the written policies/procedures they may have in place as examples to share at ARD.

Chuck:  Shay, I know that there are schools that allow this, but am not sure which specific schools. I suggest that you go to the Partners Resource Network website (the TX Parent Training & Information Center), http://www.partnerstx.org Find the Regional Coordinator for the Region that you live in. They should be able to help you. Someone in the spec. ed. dept. of the ESC that serves your area might also be able to help you. If you have difficulty getting help, contact me at: cnoe59@hotmail.com & I will try to assist you.


Laura:  If children are on a 504 or IEP is the school required to provide them with meals that meet their dietary restrictions documented by a physician? Both of my girls have several allergies and intolerances and the school is being difficult even though they both qualify for the free lunch program and one is on an IEP and the other is on a 504.

JG:  Laura – the USDA’s regulations regarding the free/reduced meal program requires participating school districts to accommodate the dietary needs of students with disabilities. Schools who do not abide by this can lose their funding.

The USDA issued this guidance to assist school districts with this requirement: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/special_dietary_needs.pdf. Although this document is older, it is still helpful – you may want to forward a copy to the district.

If you continue to have trouble with the district, consider contacting either your state’s Dept of Education or OCR at the federal Dept of Education.


Kathy:  I have a 4-yr old grandson who has 40 hour per week nursing due to G-tube, lung weakness, etc. He has started trying to eat and chokes very frequently. The public school will not allow him to have his nurse with him at school. We are only asking for her to be there shortly before noon to be sure he doesn’t choke during meal time. Is there anything legally that says they must allow him to have his nurse in his special ed class?

Miranda:  Kathy, perhaps your grandson’s doctor could attend an IEP meeting to speak to district personnel about his health, eating, and safety needs.
Also, perhaps the doctor could write a prescription for the nurse to be present. Also, ask district personnel to put in writing their rationale for refusing this service that presents no cost to them and provides a safety measure for your grandson’s well-being.


Rebecca:  My brother has on ongoing informal grievance with his State College for failure to accommodate appropriately, professor error not providing extended time.

He requested that I participate in a meeting with a school official, that is a required part of the process. I am his support person so I would participate by phone, since I live in a different state.

The college refused to allow me to participate by phone. Is there a part of the OCR 504 code that can help me convince them they should allow me to participate? thanks!

Chuck:  Rebecca, I do not believe that Section 504 rules address this. I imagine that the college’s issue is over confidentiality. If your brother gives them a signed consent to allow you to hear information discussed, you should be allowed to do so. If they refuse to agree, your brother should push for a written answer on why they are refusing. Their reasons for refusing could be the basis for a complaint to OCR.

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Janice: My 9 year old son they say is adhd and the school is trying to force me into putting him on meds. I did put him on Concerta for one school year and he ended up with elevated liver enzymes. I will not put him on meds again and what to do when this is all they talk to me about?
Unapprove | Reply | Quick Edit | Edit | History | Spam | Trash

Chuck: IDEA regs say that a state “must” prohibit district staff from “requiring parents to obtain a prescription for substances identified under schedules I, II, III, IV, or V in section 202(c) of the
Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C.812(c)) for a child as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation …, or receiving services under this part.” 300.174(a) This rule covers ADHD medications & is to address situations like you are dealing with.

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Patty: I asked the district for review of my Type 1 Diabetic son’s 504 process. Review is conducted and district has offered to meet with me–if I DON’T bring anyone with me. So it will be 3 district reps and just me. I already have had a hard time dealing with the district–never told of 504 plans during 1st year of diagnosis, denied a 504 process when first requested one, some items still not allowed on plan like after school activities. What can I do to get the results of the review–but not go to what I think will be an unfair meeting?

Sharon: Patty, You have every right to bring someone with you to any meeting at the school. Check with the board office on the policy on how to do that. Maybe they want you to have the person sign in or fill out something but there should be a way for people to join you in meetings. If they refuse again ask them to put their refusal in writing. I bet they will not do that. Remember there is an IEP called OHI (other health impaired) IEP. You can get the information from the board office on how to have your child possibly qualify for that. This way your child can be on a real IEP.


Kara:  Where do I find that one page regulations page that Pete advocacy classes to print front and back on cardstock paper to pull out during an IEP meeting?

Wrightslaw:  Kara – sorry you missed Pete, he is out of town for a training conference. Here’s the page he tells his conference attendees to copy. http://www.wrightslaw.com/idea/comment/0.cover.page.pdf It is the cover page for the Federal Regulations. He says to copy this one page on both the front and back of a sheet of heavy card stock. Trim about a 1/4 inch from around the sides of the page so that it fits nicely inside your law book and is always available (it might slip out at the appropriate time).

Links to full Regulations and Commentary can be found here: http://www.wrightslaw.com/idea/law.htm


Kristin:  If anyone can please help me find an advocate that is reasonably priced, or better yet, free, I would GREATLY appreciate your help!

JG:  Kristin – I would suggest that you contact your local parent center: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/.

They may keep a list of advocates or attorneys in your area who may work for free or on a sliding scale. They may also be able to point you to other local organizations that can offer assistance.

Wrightslaw:  Kristin – not sure where you’re located. Find your state in the Yellow Pages for Kids and look for an advocate in your area.

Sophie:  Also, you may be able to find someone connected an organization connected with the type of disability. For example, Tourette Syndrome and epilepsy have organizations with advocates.


Karen:  As a teacher, how do I handle a proclaimed advocate who continually sabotages the school’s effort to provide services for students? They are the ultimate loser when the system becomes a target of wrath.

Morning:  Such is also an education for the parents who have hired an advocate who is “over the top and sabotages.” In such cases, the advocate gets paid leaving the parents to deal with a broken relationship with the school district. All adults should focus on the child, regardless!!!!! Hopefully, the parents “wake up” and realizes that wonderful relationships are being broken with a paid advocate who does not understand collaboration. Most advocates do not act like this. In many cases, the parents are “holding the bag.” Parents, know the law for yourself and carefully make it clear to advocates that it is about the child and collaboration. More, the advocate is working for you and sometimes you have to give them their walking papers. I consider such unethical type of behavior.


Wendy: Are there any laws of ethics or regulations against or in favor of a CSE Chairperson also being a paid special education advocate?

Ryan: Wendy, I don’t know about the legal end of it, perhaps wrightslaw can comment on that piece, but I think it is unethical for a CSE chair to be a paid advocate. Getting paid for being a district employee as well as a paid advocate profiting from both sides of the table and using struggling parents cases to help a client who is paying them advocate. Benefiting from being well versed in Education law and knowing exactly what the CSE can and is willing to do for personal gains. Shame on your chairperson. Obviously, this person is not doing it for the the benefit of enabling children with disabilities to have equal access to a free and appropriate education.


Karen: My child is in 3rd grade. He has an IEP. His IEP includes goals to help with creative writing and help with organizational issues. On testing, he appears to have significant learning problems. His short term memory is poor and he does not score well. I am having trouble with the school because they pull his cards for behavior because he is not listening they call it. Maybe it appears like he was, but he was tuned in to something else.

With my older child, they would use her name while they were teaching, and walk by and tap her. Do those things still work? How can I gently talk to the teacher about punishing him for not listening. I don’t feel like she gets him. He does not remember her telling him things. Frustrated.

SharonL: Karen, I had those accommodations put into my son’s IEP. This way the teachers have to do it.


Jen: If you are a paid child advocate for a family, can either the family you’re working with or the school district sue me or threaten a lawsuit if things don’t go their way. Is their a particular type of insurance I need to purchase to protect myself? Thank you in advance

Wrightslaw: Jen – much depends on whether you are a paralegal, what state you live in, if you work under the supervision of an attorney. Suggest you use Google – I did and learned that the right answer is “it depends.”


Jayleen:  I need help finding an advocate that could come to a 504 meeting with me in Kansas City MO.

JG: Jayleen Your local parent center may be able to help you locate a local advocate, or at least point you to another organization that can.

The PTI serving your area is Missouri Parents Act (http://www.ptimpact.org).

jane: Look online for parent advocate in your area. If you have time do your research.
Be a out spoken advocate for your child. Never sign anything until you are 100% sure it is right for your kid.

Sophie: What are the disabilities? I was able to find an advocate through the Tourette Syndrome Association. I found one for a friend through an epilepsy organization.

Wrightslaw: Use the listings in the directory on the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids to find help in your area / state.  http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com


Lorraine:  Do educational advocates all cost money or are there advocates that attend and help with IEPs at no cost? Money is tight and we are desperate.

JG:  Lorraine‚There are certainly some advocates out there that work for free or, at the very least, on a sliding scale. Your local parent center is a good place to start looking: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/.

Some parent centers have advocates on staff that can work directly with you. Others offer training to advocates that includes required pro bono work. Yet others might simply keep a list of advocates (and attorneys) who have worked pro bono in the past, or can point you to other organizations in your state that may be able to help.


Miriam:  The school district refuses to answer the following questions:

1. We want to be explicitly told what the ASL interpreter’s hours of service provision are for our son. What time does she start interpreting for our son and what time does she stop interpreting for him each day during the regular school year?
2. Describe the plan school staff have developed for coverage regarding staff in the classroom when multiple needs arise
3. On only 1 out of the 8 goals in our son’s current IEP rough draft indicates that it will be addressed during ESY. Is that true? Yet, we were led to believe during IEP verbal discussion that ALL goals would be addressed during ESY.
4. Please provide the names of all individuals who will be providing interpreting services for all periods of the day as well as their qualifications.

What should we do?

Sharon L.:  Miriam, if the school refuses anything they MUST send you a prior written notice letter explaining why. In the past when I have reminded them of this sometimes they will get the information we need as they do not want to write things down. Sometimes it was not big deal to write the letter. I have received many PWN letters. It allows you to take the next step to get what your child deserves hopefully more discussion.

Miriam:  Thank you, Sharon, that’s a big help!


Sara:  When do we need a lawyer? The school seems more interested in finding an excuse to kick our son out for his academic failure and truancy than they are in implementing or changing his IEP. I have asked many times to schedule a formal IEP meeting by email not by printed letter. Does this qualify as “in writing”? In any case, they haven’t responded to that request.

Chuck: I suggest that you read & follow the suggestions in today’s blog item. Also learn what the state rules are regarding requests for IEP meetings. In TX schools must agree to requests or ask the state to set up mediation. If you have not done so, send a letter or email to the special ed director. You can ask your state Parent Training & Information Center (PTI) for assistance. This website has a listing of the PTIs for each state.


Aimee: I was told I need to get an advocate to help me with my sons school. I was just diagnosed with cancer and I am not able to handle all the stress anymore. Do you know where I could get a list of advocates in my area?

Wrightslaw: Aimee: Check the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids in your state to find help in your area. http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/

Today we published an issue of the Special Ed Advocate about the Yellow Pages for Kids. http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/14/nl.0527yp.htm

Are you on our mailing list? You may want to subscribe to receive a free, weekly newsletter on special topics, alerts, caselaw, legislation, and special offers. http://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm


Peggy:  How can a school support a child whose parents have teamed with an advocate who is not following any of your guidelines for a positive advocate/school relationship? This advocate started calling the district office asking for information about the student. We had no release from the parent and did not know who this person was. Her requests were unclear. The district office contacted the school and suggested we call the advocate. I contacted the parents and sent them a release. The advocate has misstated laws to the parents and told them not to talk to us. We set up requested meetings and she cancelled the first two at the last minute for personal reasons. She is requesting an IEE before testing began. Now she is requesting a full eval knowing that school is out in a few days. We said yes. How do we get a win-win here?

Morning: I am speaking from several reference points–as a parent who hired a advocate for six months and as a parent who has attended PPTs with parents to offer support.
1. I hired an advocate because my child’s rights were violated under IDEA. Instead of hiring lawyer and making a complaint to the state, we chose to collaborate with school system. It was a great success. I wish I did not have to hire, but some school districs aren’t following IDEA and they know it. Parents feel bamboozled.
What you can do? Follow the IEP, IDEA, etc. and ensure that the staff is implementing services with fidelity. Make sure that the child is happy at school. Think about why the parent hired the advocate. Sometimes, it is a teacher who refuses to accommodate, no progress, failed FAPE, etc.


Allie: I would like to participate in a particular student’s ARD/IEP meeting. I have to administer meds to this student and provide additional services on a daily basis. The school diagnostician has told me “the district is your priority” and not suggest any services that may help the child. The diagnostician has also told me that it is a violation of FERPA for me to attend the ARD meetings, except for 2-3 minutes at the beginning. Is this fact? or am I being strong-armed to save the school money?

Chuck: Since you address needs of the child, you have a right to attend the meeting. I am not aware of why it would be a violation of FERPA for you to attend for all or most of the meeting. You can ask where in district policies or FERPA rules that it addresses what you were told. TX rules say that school nurses are to develop health plans for all children & to present it at an IEP/ARD meeting for those with a disability. I work for the TX federally funded PTI & can provide you with additional info, cnoe59@hotmail.com

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Paula:  Obtaining services for my 8 yr old son diagnosed w/ PDD post chemo treatment 5 yrs ago was a nightmare. I have had to armor myself w/ facts prior to each mtg & this yrs mtg is this Wed. I am thinking of having him placed FROM a sp ed rm w/ 4 staff to an inclussion class. His biggest challenge to date are social/emotional. That being said, he will not benefit from this move w/out a 1:1 aid. How do I request this move & justify the 1:1? I was told the school only provides a 1:1 when it is a safety concern. He is not a runner but when in the halls & if a fire alarm went off he would not know what to do. He would panic & instinctively run to his familiar class rm. & not the nearest exit. He is hyper sensative when things go “wrong” in his mind & has trouble focusing on tasks w/out help. Does he qualify for a 1:1 in an inclusion class?

Chuck:  On the Wrightslaw home page do a search for “One to One Aide” and you will find an article on this by Wayne Steedman.


Jaim: Hello, my son is in a self-contained kindergarten class and we signed him up for after school care with a one on one aide provided in September. This is in his IEP but no time restrictions are written. He has been staying until 4:30-5 pm and now I notified the teacher over 2 weeks ago that we need until 5:30 pm since I finally found a full time job. I have verbally and written in emails said I would need it until 5:30 pm once I found a full time job. Yesterday I get an email from the program’s director that they can’t provide after care after 4:30 pm. Can they do this? Now also concerned they will take out of IEP for next school year. If I didn’t need to work full time, I wouldn’t! We pay for the after-care (same fee as all the other kids).

Chuck: If they are serving other students after 4:30 p.m., then this could be an issue of discrimination. Discussing this with the sp ed office might be more productive than dealing with the campus. If this service is provided by another agency & not the school district, then you need to deal with that agency also.

Sophie: Jaim, I don’t know about the legal side of this ‚ but have you considered finding family day care instead, or having someone care for your child after school in your home? A good, compassionate caregiver is worth her weight in gold.

For your other question: even if they succeed in declassifying your son for next year, he will still be entitled to extra help for, I think, three more years. However, it would make more sense, if they think his needs are significantly less than they were originally, to decrease the one-on-one hours gradually, monitoring his levels of performance during that process. Your son can have an IEP even if he doesn’t have an aide.


Kathy:  At a CSE Annual meeting, if it was determined a student must have a 1 on 1 TA, must this be shown on student’s IEP?

JG:  Kathy – Nothing prevents the district from providing supports that are not listed on the IEP. But nothing prevents the district from NOT providing supports that are not listed on the IEP.

If a support is listed on the IEP, then the student has a right to receive it (and options for compliance if they do not). If a support is not listed on the IEP, then the student does not have those rights and options.


Veronica:  Can a paraprofessional be assigned to replace the Special Education teacher when the teacher must attend meetings (partial day) or when the teacher is out sick (full day)? Or should a credentialed substitute teacher be assigned to cover for the Special Education teacher? If someone knows and/or can point me to the Education Code that addresses this I’d appreciate it.

CHuck:  The answer would depend on the state education code & district policy. Your state parent training & information center should be able to assist you.


John: A new teacher’s aide accidentally caused an injury to two special needs students on two separate occasions in their P.E class. The incidents were investigated but, we never heard the outcome of it. The aide continued to behave recklessly in P.E class. This continued behavior was reported to the principal by another person in the school who saw the teacher present in the gym (on the 2 injuries she was not there) while the aide was playing recklessly with the students and the teacher did nothing to correct her aide.

Marita: It’s doubtful that the sped teacher could be held responsible. In my district, aides are assigned according to seniority- and they receive zero training. This is on the district, not the sped teacher. However, if the aide works with the children without the supervision of the teacher, and that was not approved by the special education supervisor, then the sped teacher bears some responsibility.

Lack of training is against the law, but is never addressed. It should be! In California the Ed Dept. allows aides to work alone with students in separate locations, sometimes miles apart from the supervising sped teacher. Why we allow untrained people to be alone with students is far beyond my understanding but it is common.

John: To add some info…The P.E class is supervised by a gen ed P.E teacher. The sped teacher is usually not present. The first incident happened when the aide accidently threw a ball hitting the student on the head and caused her to have a seizure. The parents were notified of the seizure, but the aide did not mention the ball part. It was discovered by the parents a month later from a gen ed student that witnessed it. The aide never denied it.

One day the sped teacher was in the gym while reckless behavior continued and did nothing. There is proof of the sped teacher being there this time. Although no one was injured, is that a reason to believe the students safety was being neglected by the sped teacher?


Tom:  My wife and I have a 10 year old child who is autistic. He is often non-compliant and aggressive, especially when things are asked of him. He is in a functional skills classroom. During the first half of last year, there were six kids in his class and he did well. The last half of the year, the class size doubled and his behavior became very negative and he hit and scratched several students and teachers. We requested one on one with in aid, but this request was denied. We are fearful that the school district is going to propose sending him home and sending a teacher by the house a couple of hours every day in order to discharge their educational obligations. Can they do this? Any thoughts on how we should proceed?

JG: When was your son last evaluated? An aide would be a major change to his program, and such changes should be backed up by evidence. Evaluation is one of the best ways to create that evidence.

I would suggest either requesting an evaluation from the school or arranging for an independent evaluation. You mention behavior and the ‚”fit” of his classroom as problem areas, so you would want these evaluation to target these. You may also want to ask that your child’s communication skills be assessed (including the potential use of AAC/AT), as problem behavior often results from lack of means to communicate.

With evaluation results in hand, it’s much easier to make the case for what your son needs, be it an aide or some other support.


Stephanie:  Hello! I think my son will need one on one support to begin Kindergarten. Is it his right to have it? Thank you, Stephanie

Chuck:  A child with a disability has a right to have their needs addressed/met. This may include 1-1 assistance for some. Wrightslaw has good articles on this. http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/relsvc.index.htm & http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?tag=related-services are two. You can google 1-1 aide on the homepage to find more.


Matt: Must aides in special education classroom have spceific qualifications? In Ohio, have grandson with autism.

Wrightslaw: Check your state education and special ed regulations – the requirements vary from state to state As a general rule, aides are not required to be trained or certified. Paraprofessionals who assist in Title 1 programs must complete two years of college or pass a test. The test should assess their ability to help classroom teachers in reading, writing and math instruction. See more at: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.parent.guide.heath.htm


Jaime: Any suggestions on how an afterschool program (which is run by the school and we pay a tuition for) be handled if child needs a 1:1 for his safety? It is in my son’s current IEP, but the school does not want to put it in for next school year since it’s technically not educational.He has a 1:1 during school due to history with elopement and for redirection. The school plans on changing the structure of the afterschool program, but I still feel that for his safety, my son will need a 1:1. Thanks

Chuck: Is the school wanting to take out this service for just the after school program or for his entire day? If he gets this service during the school day, it would be hard for them to deny it under the IDEA rules for extracurricular, nonacademic services. Supplementary aids & services do not have to be “educational”.

Jaime: They want to take it out during the afterschool program only. He will still have a 1:1 during the school day. Which is just plain silly to me. If he needs a 1:1 during the day, why wouldn’t he during an afterschool program!!?!?

Chuck: You can challenge this through the district complaint process, & IDEA, state dispute resolution processes: mediation, state complaint or due process hearing.

Jaime: Thanks. We did file for mediation but have not had the meeting yet. We will next week.

JG: Jaime – What information did the Team use to determine that your son no longer needs the 1-1 during the after school program? Did they conduct an evaluation? Major changes to the IEP should never be made without evidence (i.e. evaluations) to support the changes.

If no evaluation was conducted, I would suggest asking that they assess his safety during the program before removing the aide.

And do make sure to assert your child’s “stay put” rights, clearly and in writing, while you resolve this.

I do not know what state you are in, but many states also have guidance for school districts on the use of 1-1 aides. Try to find if your state does, as it may help you with your dispute.


Eve: My health insurance provided behavior therapy at home and at school. The therapist is his one to one at school, as well. However, the school is not allowing her in the school. But they won’t provide the service. Is this allowed since I’m paying for the aba services?

Wrightslaw: His need for a one-to-one therapist should be included in his IEP – that would help. If not in the IEP, the school is not required to provide and/or allow.

Have you written to the principal / special ed director to describe the problem and ask why the school is refusing to allow the therapist into school? When you do write, be sure to include info about how not having this therapy at school will harm your child. Having experts address this issue is more powerful than your opinion.


Akt: My best friend’s son has Aspergers and ADHD. she is pulling him out of special ed and transferring him to regular classroom.Based on his diagnosis, Can he get an aide?
Please help.

Wrightslaw: An aide is a “related service” under IDEA. The answer depends on whether he *needs* an aide, not his disability category.


Pamela: I am an sdc aide. I was just told that I would be working one-to-one with a student in a secluded room (small sensory room) for the whole school day with no supervision. I am confused. I thought instructional aides must always be supervised when with students. When I brought it up I was told it was okay as long as I am not instructing the student.

Sophie: I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to your specific question, but I wanted to bring up a troublesome aspect of this — where’s the education in this? Where’s the inclusion?

Could you check the student’s IEP to see what level of inclusion s/he is supposed to have?

Could you check what District and state policy are about time-out rooms and aversive interventions? My district’s policy (which mirrors state regulations) says, “A time out room is an area for a student to safely deescalate, regain control and prepare to meet expectations to return to his or her education program. Time out rooms are to be used only in conjunction with a behavioral intervention plan, in accordance with a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).”

Also — at my son’s school, only a certified occupational therapist may take a child to the sensory room. It’s a safety thing. There’s a ball pool and a special swing.


Denise: My 7yr 2nd grader with Speech & ADHD son was suspended from the bus because of his behaviors… I requested a Behavioral specialist to help with his “non-structured time” behaviors since the team was wanting me to go to the bus barn for bus behaviors. I want to request a temporary para but not sure of his rights. He has rode the bus Kinder & 1st grades w/out been suspended & I do not want him on the specials bus…

Sophie:  I’m afraid I don’t know the legalities for a para on the bus, but I’ll try to contribute something here. What I have noticed is that the bus is the LAST place PBIS gets applied. My son was getting very discouraged because he felt that the driver was picking on him (and a friend of his, who is pretty objective, told me a few observations, things he had noticed on the bus, that seemed to give some confirmation of that). At the same time, I had no doubt that the driver was ready to tear her hair out. It was just not a good situation. I asked to meet with her and the director of transportation. Funnily enough, we ended up meeting in the driver’s bus, between runs, and I think this was helpful — they felt more comfortable there than in an office or a classroom! One thing that made the conversation difficult was that in the meeting, she swept all the problems under the rug for most of the meeting. I had to work pretty hard to draw her out and get a little bit of honesty from her — but that was important. We had to have some problems on the table in order to be able to brainstorm some things that might help. The other thing that was extremely frustrating for me was that she immediately nixed EVERY SINGLE IDEA I brought up. The best I could get was the agreement that on a day my son behaved well, she would give him a good behavior slip of paper to bring home, and she agreed to have someone in the office notify me by phone if there was a problem with his behavior. This was very important to me, because what had been happening was that she would just get more and more negative in her interactions with my son, instead of telling someone there was a problem. Maybe it was her pride as a veteran driver. Anyway, at least they were able to see that there was a loving, devoted family behind the annoying kid. (He has Tourette Syndrome and ADHD.)

These two things helped. I didn’t get everything I was hoping for, but the two things were enough to get through a few months. (Who knows what the warmer weather will bring….)

Good luck — sorry I don’t know about your para idea.


Elisabeth: I believe my student’s case manager has certification for special education – will double check that; however I am certain that the para educators have no qualifications or certifications to teaching my special ed student. These instructional assistants teach my student during the entire school day. Can a student on an IEP receive all their instruction by non-certified/licensed personnel?

Chuck: The NCLB law sets qualifications for paraprofessionals. States typically have state rules that they encorporate with the federal rules. Paraprofessionals working with students should be operating under the direction of certified teachers. The rules may also say that they can not introduce or teach new material or skills, just reinforce material introduced or taught by the teacher.
Check your state education website and/or check with your state parent training & information center for the rules in your state.

Wrightslaw: Elisabeth, this article by Sue Whitney should help. What IDEA 2004 says about Paraprofessionals at http://www.wrightslaw.com/heath/parapro.qual.htm

Elisabeth: Dear Chuck and Wrightslaw, thanks for your response to my recent question. After looking at my student’s school schedule, it appears that all of his learning is done with various para educators and only his speech/communication time is with an SLPA. None of his day is spent with an actual teacher. I will share my new knowledge about qualifications for Para Educators and also share my concerns that none of his time at school is spent with a special education teacher. Many thanks


Rebecca: Can you comment on what questions should be asked by parents of a female student, when the parapro is male? Parents want to make sure that the female student remains safe and that her modesty is protected.

Wrightslaw: Rebecca, you should read Pat Howey’s article on Male Aides for Female Students. Not sure of the details about the specific female student, but this article will provide some talking points for the parents. You will see how creating sensible goals, objectives, and benchmarks in the IEP can help the parent/school team focus on specific concerns and address practical issues, including modesty and safety.  http://www.wrightslaw.com/howey/malepara.hygiene.htm


Kim J: Yesterday, my daughter was sent home from school because her PCA couldnt be there. She’s not very hard to manage at all, she follows directions. But they still told me I had to pick her up when her PCA had to leave. This is a private preschool that we pay tuition for. Its upsetting to me.

Morning: Is there another PCA available for your daughter at the school? Do they have substitute PCAs. If not, staff may not be comfortable or not enough staff to service your child. It is a private pre-school and sometimes they have workers out of high school. Depending on the needs of your daughter, I would ask some questions so this does not happen again and collaborate with them on a back-up plan. Remember you want someone working with your daughter who is willing and competent. Do not force the private school to do a service if they do not have a back-up staff member who is willing. This is a great time to discuss options and how the much the school is committed to serving your child. It is too bad that such was not made clear by the school before this incident.

Mari: Dear Kim J, as usual, Wrightslaw has a great post concerning the topic:
http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/ltrs/kids_sent_home.htm. Although it is true that you cannot expect the school to have all the answers when they are short-staffed, it is also true that no school, public or private, may discriminate against a child because they are disabled. Essentially, they said, “Sorry, we can’t accommodate you today.” That’s not okay.

You are well within your rights to say, “Okay, you were caught off-guard once. But now that you realize that your staff member may not always be there, we would really appreciate a back-up plan.” Be sure that they understand that “really appreciate” does not mean optional. Education is not optional.

Morning: Mari, thanks for the additional feedback. As a former paraprofessional myself, parents should always advocate for a trained staff members to work with the specific needs of their children. I caution parents to press this issue as not just any para or PCA can work with a child with special needs unless they are trained, I have seen far too many instances of staff not being fully trained or not even having a desire to work with certain students. The label of para or PCA may or may not qualify that person to work with your child. Ask the tough questions and research the Wrightslaw’s website to truly get a sense of how parents and advocates work through this situation. There are many ways to navigate this and inform the school that you know your rights.


gurdy:  I live in Ohio and my son has an IEP. In the IEP he has a one to one aide. I’ve learned that they are sharing his aide with another student and the aide told my son that she can no longer help him because she is this other child’s aide. We have not had a meeting to get rid of the aide. Can they share his aide and not allow her to help my child who she was originally hired for?
My son has a field trip coming up and I was told that his father or myself had to go on the field trip because his aide will not be able to be with him because she will be in charge of giving medications out to the children for that day who take them during school hours. His father and I may not be able to go with our son. Can they not provide my son an aide and deny him the right to go on the field trip?

SharonL:  gurdy, be sure to check the exact wording in the IEP. Sometimes it sounds one way & can be looked at other ways. I am also in Ohio & I normally get a DRAFT copy of the IEP before the meeting & after just to be sure it reads exactly like I think it should. One time I thought my son was supposed to have a 1:1 aide but it really was not written that way. We reconvened theIEP meeting & had it changed. If you have checked the IEP & it really says 1:1 aide they cannot do what they are doing so you will have to meet with them to discuss & take necessary steps to get it accomplished if necessary.

Morning:  From what I have been told, some school do not include 1-1aides on IEPs due to budget issues,, etc. I worked as an aide for two students who had 1-1aides listed on their IEPs. The parents were never informed. The poor classroom teacher hand’s were tied and we made due to the end of the year. I would advise parents to stress the indivdual needs of the child in order to justify having an aide as opposed to “my child needs a 1-1 aide.” I do believe that the kids I worked with needed their own aides but the parents did not have a clue. Their programs were not being fully implemented. You may want to review with staff on how his IEP program is being implemented with fidelity with or without an aide. Aides have to be careful as they can lose their jobs or be put in difficult situations.

Yve: I am commenting on the portion of your inquiry that asks about your child wanting to attend an activity but cannot. Your child’s school must provide FAPE, so anything the general population is getting is what should be offered to your child. If your child needs support off-campus, especially for an event during school hours with educational benefit, it is their responsibility to provide the support, not yours. They also cannot require you attend unless they have asked the same of the other students. See Wrightslaw Special Ed Law 2nd Edition, look up FAPE and extra-curricular activities.


Katherine:  The school is saying it is fine to have a paraprofessional provide direct 1:1 IEP mandated time. They even quoted IDEA from 1997 as the reasoning. We are not a Title 1 school. The original goal of the 1:1 time was to build foundational skills not review skills which is what the paraprofessional is doing. Can they use a paraprofessional for 1:1 direct instruction and how do I determine if the paraprofessional is certified or just an instructional assistant?

Wrightslaw:  Katherine, use the information in the following links about paraprofessionals in NCLB and IDEA to find answers to your question.

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) includes requirements about the education, training and duties of paraprofessionals.


Jennifer:  I am a mom of a 12 year old daughter who has high functioning autism. She’s verbal. We live in MN. I have a problem with her bus company, MTI bus company. They have been placing a male para on the bus with her on her special needs bus. I am Not OK with this. Is there anything I can do to fight this? They state that they can’t make any special rules for us. I want to fight this!! Please held me with this issue, thank you!!

Morning: I understand your concern. I am also a mother. I was a para and male paras were few and far between and much more needed and still not enough in the field. Has he done anything to your daughter that would warrant suspicion? Is your daughter also on a bus with behavioral students? If so, a para (male or female) is very helpful. I have seen many behavioral students on the bus also with students like your daughter. My bigger concern was the behaviors of those students with other students. I saw kids from behavior disorder classroom on the same bus with non verbal kids. I was always concerned with student to student behavior. A para was helpful and an extra set of eyes. If this helps, remember–there are two adults on the bus. The driver and the para.


Lisa: I have been a one on one paraprofessional for the same child for three years now. She has Down Syndrome and requires a one on one. I was told recently that I now have to be a one one one with another student in the same class. So now I have two students with different disabilities that I am responsible for. If it’s in their IEP that they need a one on one how can I be shared? If the parents aren’t aware of this how do I or do I say anything? Thank you

MORNING: “Hear nothing, see nothing and say nothing.” I was para at several schools in the same district. The last school where I worked I was a 1-1 for TWO and sometimes THREE disabled students who not only needed a lot of 1-1 care but they were only in kindergarten. I had to sometimes ignore the needs of one to take care of another. The teacher wanted me to inform the parents secretly as the teacher was so upset about the matter. The teacher did go to the principal as their individuals IEP stated 1-1. The district was not sending anymore paras to the school. So, what do you do? Lose your job for speaking up? Do you struggle all day to take care of kids who need so much more than one person can handle? I quit, for other reasons, but I am so glad that I quit. Parents must open their eyes.

Pam Wright: Morning is right. Parents must open their eyes. After a child is found eligible for special ed services, parents often breathe a sigh of relief. They assume experts will handle their child’s problems so they turn their attention to other things. This is often a big mistake.

As a parent, you represent your child’s interests. You cannot leave this job to others.

If you pay attention to what is happening at school, you’ll know if your child’s special ed program is not being implemented and take steps to remedy the problem quickly.


Paula:  Our daughter is being transitioned to a new school. What type of wording or phrasing can we use to emphasize the importance of her current para moving with her. She is mostly nonverbal and we are fearful of her moving to the new school with no one familiar with her and her communication methods. Transitions are so challenging for her and we feel like this consistency of staff is the only crutch they can provide to help ease the difficulty. No one in the new school will know her at all.

SharonL: Paula, transition is critical. It would be great if they can keep the same person however I am not sure they are legally obligated to do so. If they will not keep the same Para perhaps a transition can begin from one para to a new one well in advance of the move so your daughter can adjust to a new person before the move. I know this may be tough but what if the para got ill or moved you would be in the same situation. At least get the school to agree to some kind of transition. That is a must.


Lee:  I’m an “Instructional Assistant” for an NJ district. I have K-5 and TSWD certification, but my contract stipulates I do not work under certification. I assist a classroom teacher to carry out the IEPs of 4-6 classified students, and supervise students during lunch/recess.
My concern: All assistants’ hours were cut from 32 hrs/wk to 28 hrs/wk so we are not eligible health ins.benefits, As we are required to do lunch duty, this takes us out of the classroom for 45 minutes of the students’ instructional time. Previously, we had a 30-minute paid break, but most of us rarely use this due to the many different needs of the students. Can a district that uses Federal special education funding use instructional assistants for lunch duty at the expense of academic time – and ensure that we are not eligible for health insurance benefits?

Sophie:  Lee, the part of your question dealing with cut hours is not something I can address. As a special education administrator in the Midwest, when I found out a paraprofessional was being pulled out of instructional duties, I always called the principal to ask which regular education salary fund they wanted to use to fund their 1/8th (or whatever part of the day) to pay the aide. Every single principal decided to return the paraprofessional to their instructional duties. Sorry I can’t be of any other help.


Theodore: If a public school has an afterschool activity held on school property such as a sport, learning how to play an instrument…then is the child with the shadow/all day (required by her IEP) to be provided a shadow/assistant to be with them for the school sponsored and paid for afterschool activity or activities. Is there a law that requires the school to provide the shadow/assistant?

Chuck: I believe that 300.107 (Nonacademic services) of the IDEA regulations addresses your question.

Wrightslaw: Theodore, DOE Guidance on Legal Obligations for Extracurricular Activities and other articles that you should read.
IEP Pop-Up Question 9. What about extracurricular activities in the IEP?


Patty:  My son is receiving a temporary para at school. We are pushing for shared para for him. They are testing the waters … So to speak. They will gather the data and let us know if para is really needed. I sent a note to have para contact me since I have no idea who this person is. I simply wanted to tell her more about my son’s issues.
I was informed by vice principal that goes against district policy. Is this the norm?

Sophie:  Patty, I don’t know, but I’ve had this problem too. I recommend that you make an appointment to observe your child in his classroom, and see if an opportunity presents itself for you to speak briefly with the para. Maybe you could give her your card with a note such as “it was such a pleasure to see how you work with my child. Could you give me a call sometime this week, please?” and then just hope she doesn’t give the card to the principal….

You can also try to arrange for an in-service (training for staff working with your son). Even if it’s only for an hour, staff can benefit a lot. Talk with the trainer ahead of time to alert him/her to your son’s particular situation and then the trainer can tailor the workshop to your son’s particularities.

Morning: I was a para for a few years. I had a sincere parent approach me several times about her child as I was the 1-1 for that child. The parent was sincerely concerned but inappropriate. My job as a para was to work with the supervising staff (teacher, counselor, special education staff, etc). Parental concerns and issues should go through the right channels. Many paras I know have felt harassed by parents. We care about students and want to see them make progress. The school administration had to set some guidelines for that parent as that parent’s behaviors were distracting. I understood the parent’s concerns but paras report to the staff not the parents and crossing that line is not good. It puts the para in a compromising position.

Lauren:  Patty- it can be a problem for Special Ed teachers when the parents and paras are communicating without the teacher, as the teacher has to document concerns, establish expectations for the para, etc. However, it seems reasonable to ask to meet with the para and teacher/admin together. Or, at least, to be able to supply the para with written information about your son that may to be a part of his IEP/formal records.


Krista: School is offering a shared aide but I want them to specify the aide won’t be shared with more then 3 kids including my son while in the classroom. School says “they don’t put that in iep’s” Has anyone dealt with this before?

Chuck: Decisions like this are to be based on the child’s needs. The decision needs to be clearly written in the IEP so that anyone can understand the needs to be addressed. If there are specific times and situations when the aide needs to be available that needs to be stated. The issue is not how many students the aide is working with, but do they have the time & training/skills to address the child’s needs appropriately.

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Tiffany: I am an advocate. I am working with a family, the child is non-verbal and school is using an augmentative communication device at school. The parents requested the device be sent home, the school agreed to send it home and it was written in the IEP. The school is now requiring the parent to sign a waiver before the device can go home stating that they take full financial responsibility if anything happens to the device once it leaves the school building? Is this legal?

Chuck: Recently a court ruled that it is legal for a school to do this. Whether this ruling applies to all areas of the country, I do not know. School attorneys will certainly argue that it does.

Assistive Technology:  NEED ASSISTIVE TECH (AT) GOALS

Denise:  I want to make sure that my student with quadriplegic CP receives the AT he needs to meet his goals, as he has not received any AT in the past. Do I need to add a statement to each goal stating that “the student will need AT appropriate to his needs to help him work on this goal”?

Chuck:  Denise, IDEA regs say schools “must ensure that assistive technology devices or services, or both..are made available to a child with a disability if required…” 300.105 After reading the complete section, I suggest a written request for an IEP meeting to discuss your child’s needs for AT devices & services in order to receive FAPE.


Kim:  My 9 yo 3rd grade son has an IEP for ADHD and Autism. Primary goals involve a severe deficit in executive functioning skills, focus and attention. Several county schools were involved in a pilot program last year for neuroscience (brain training) software to help with these issues. The county has since approved the program for use throughout the county.

I have done a fair amount of research and believe the software could be life-changing for our son. Upon inquiring about the program to our son’s school I am told they “currently have no plan to implement the software program.”

Could such software fall under “assistive technology”? (Code reference?) Is there any other WL section (or other means) which could be used to attain such software for my son’s use?

Many thanks!
Frustrated in VA

Sophie:  Kim, I’m not an expert, but I think the answer is yes, the software could be considered AT. Has your son had an AT evaluation?

You may be able to get a copy of the software free of charge from the publisher, by describing your son’s needs. It can’t hurt to try.

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Supermommy:  I have a few concerns: 1) the district has their compliance officer (a lawyer) attend the IEP meetings. I have never had a lawyer and feel that her presence is to intimidate the team into not making the proper decisions for my 5 year old w/ ASD. Can they legally have her attend? Can I request her not to be there, and if so, will they comply? 2) It was in the IEP that toileting should have been done in the summer program. It was not. I have not been told why, as no one seems to want to take responsibility. My son was toileted at home in the summer and made progress. He began to lose this skill at school because of no one working with him. After 3 months, they are beginning to work with him, but nothing is in the iEP. His 3 year is in Jan. 2012. Thanks for your help!!!!!

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