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    #100378 04/26/11 05:38 AM
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    My daughter has, basically, outgrown her IEP. We have the review tomorrow (and I'm not happy about the short notice but it's not a hill I'm interested in dying on), and will be discussing commuting it to a 504. Anyone have any thoughts, experience, etc. with doing this?

    Background-- she's 12, finishing 7th grade, gifted/Asperger's, though her actual qualifying category is OHI because of an anxiety d/o. This is her first year back after being homeschooled since the spring of fourth grade (long ugly story), and it's been pretty successful. She's not having therapies, and the special ed coordinator has stopped scheduling resource time with dd because of dd's lack of enthusiasm for the experience (you'd think she'd be familiar with middle schoolers, but I digress...)
    My concern is the transition to high school, and I don't want anything to happen now that will potentially screw it up.


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    eldertree #100379 04/26/11 05:50 AM
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    I am pretty sure I recall Pete Wright saying that given the option it is better to have an IEP. Check out the wrightslaw site--they might have some informatio there. Good luck!

    eldertree #100380 04/26/11 05:56 AM
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    Hi Eldertree,
    I am glad to hear that she is having a successful year transitioning back to the public school. How much of a part did her IEP play in this? What aspects of the IEP? When you say she has outgrown her IEP, are you referring to her lack of enthusiasm for the resource room? What is the issue with the resource room? Is it the peer grouping? Teacher? Instruction or lack there of?

    I'm posing these questions, because moving from an IEP to a 504 is a big deal. Maybe not in terms of the services, but absolutely in terms of the procedural safeguards and "teeth" that an IEP offers that a 504 does not. Given that she will be making a fairly large transition, I would be reluctant to give up IEP eligibility. And, from a purely procedural standpoint, one should not make an eligibility decision without a full evaluation - you don't mention whether or not this has been done.

    What would you give up by canceling her IEP?
    1. Procedural safeguards that regulate the need to have team meetings, stay put rights, dispute resolution, etc.
    2. Services beyond accommodations - content, modifications, performance criteria
    3. Protections for behavioral issues
    4. "Weight" of an IEP vs 504 from teachers' perspective

    Again, I don't your child, her capabilities, her challenges or the type of HS she will be walking into. But, if you have any concerns about the transition (and it seems that you might based on your closing statement), I would urge you keep the IEP. She does not need resource room services to keep the IEP. Perhaps she merely needs some sort of consultation between her teacher the team and an adjustment or guidance counselor to make sure her needs are being met. Maybe she needs to have a check in once a week with a trusted adult to keep an eye. Maybe you want a quarterly consult with a team chair to stay on top of things. These are examples of "services" that could be very helpful to her and could be in addition to or instead of her current resource room.

    Let us know how it goes.

    eldertree #100445 04/26/11 11:49 AM
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    I have mixed feelings, most of which are based on this school system's notoriety for randomly and inexplicably screwing ESE kids. And historically, having the weight of an IEP hasn't made a lot of difference, other than upping the ante to include attorney expenses.
    Based purely on my daughter, I would absolutely not hesitate to go off-paper. Realistically, she's not getting special services. There have been no behavioral concerns, at least none that I'm aware of. She will finish the school year with at least a 3.83 GPA (out of 4). Taking this year, independently, I would absolutely, unqualifiedly say we don't need the safeguards.
    BUT...(and we all knew there was one)...the last time she had a good year it was followed by a horrible one. So I'm not entirely comfortable basing anything just on this year.
    The conclusion I've come to, at this point, is that I'm not going to offer to downsize. And if the school suggests discontinuing altogether, I'm going to fight it. I'm willing to go for a 504, but I'm also planning to handwrite on the signature form that I am agreeing with the provision that we will convene to revisit the issue at the end of the first 9 weeks. If she's going to have issues, that will be when she'll have them.
    Not for nothing, I also emailed the ESE coordinator to say that if the gifted teacher cannot attend, I want the meeting rescheduled. (Having the meeting without addressing half the issue seems pretty silly to me, but I'd bet money that never occurred to the case manager.)

    We'll see what happens tomorrow morning. Or is it "stay tuned tomorrow..."? <g>


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    eldertree #100788 04/28/11 12:43 PM
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    I agree. An IEP is much more than a resource room. It is a guarantee that accomadations and modifications WILL be made. It is more of a legal document than a 504. If she still has aspergers than she continues to qualify. Just b/c she is not requiring much services right now doesn't mean that she won't later. Disabilities such as aspergers and my son's tourettes wax/wane in severity. The school should realize this gives them options if need be.

    eldertree #100803 04/28/11 02:27 PM
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    Well, I'm going to disagree with vicam here-- but only in the details. Not to be flippant here, or anything, but in my ten years as a volunteer parent advocate I've seen a lot of good, bad, AND ugly with both 504s and IEPs. It just depends on the district. A nasty, uncooperative set of school officials can find ways of being obstructionist under either one.



    A 504 is absolutely as much a legal document as an IEP.

    The difference is that identification under Section 504 can (though not necessarily "must") follow a person into college, and later, into the workplace. This is because it is backed by ADA (and ADAA).

    IDEA is specifically about education for disabled children. The motivations behind this law are different. With an IEP, measurable GOALS are always a part and parcel of things simply because of the way that they tend to be written. If the idea is to offer ongoing supports, and not necessarily to be phasing those supports out (as for, say, a student who needs the ability to test blood sugars at will, requires large print materials due to legal blindness, or to carry an asthma inhaler) then 504 can be a better tool.

    Presumably the provisions in a 504 plan (other than 'self-care like peers') which are there for static conditions that must be "managed" rather than "improved" are going to be necessary throughout the person's life. Not providing them results in exclusion and presents barriers to access and/or to learning.

    IDEA operates on a different kind of premise-- one that revolves around the child's unique, individual educational needs in an ideal sense, if you will. It also assumes that the provisions offered as part of an IEP will eventually fade, or that they'll eventually be rolled into a 504 plan. That happens because IDEA doesn't follow a child to college.


    Here are some additional helpful links on the differences between the two:

    http://www.ed-center.com/504

    http://www.heath.gwu.edu/resources/links/504-ada-idea-compared/


    This is a terrific explanation of the differences between the two:

    http://www.ldonline.org/article/6086

    Because of the procedural safeguards and the stay-put provisions inherent in an IEP, most parents would prefer that to a 504 plan. But both can work to provide a student with a disability with access to education that works well for them.







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    eldertree #100830 04/28/11 05:39 PM
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    Keep in mind, if one has an IEP, they automatically have a 504. There is no "official" or "regulated" form to capture the accommodations for a 504. An IEP would suffice.

    I think when vicar suggests an IEP document is more "legal", he or she is talking about the procedural safeguards. These safeguards are explicit and easier to access in most cases than the OCR which would hear ADA complaints. AND by having an IEP you can exercise your rights under both IDEA and ADA. Both a 504 and an IEP should be designed to give a child access. An IEP goes a step further and addresses related services, specialized instruction and or modifications that would be needed over and above the accommodations included in a 504.

    I disagree that IDEA operates under the premise that the need for an IEP will eventually fade. While it is true that IDEA does not apply once a child graduates or reaches age 22, other than the revelation and eligibity process, it does not not assume the IEP will end. It does assume that a child will make appropriate progress, access the curriculum and receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education. For some, appropriate progress might at some point bring a student to the point that services are no longer needed. But, for many, even if they make appropriate progress from year to year, if the progress is a result of the IEP, they would still qualify.

    Yes, IEPs end at some point for everyone - but this only because the entitlement for FAPE runs out at a certain age.

    While there are districts that ignore laws, regulations and are generally uncooperative, I think a parent has a better chance of exercising their rights with an IEP rather than a 504. Things like mandated time lines to convene meetings should the parent request, progress reporting, stay put provisions, need for prior written notice should the school decline a parent request, can be very valuable to parents attempting to exercise their rights to hold the school accountable. These safeguards come with an IEP - not a 504.

    And yes, a 504 can be enough for some students. My dd has a 504, my son an IEP. Both are appropriate solutions for their individual needs.

    Last edited by mich; 04/29/11 05:08 PM. Reason: auto correct spelling
    eldertree #100975 04/30/11 01:01 PM
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    Are you saying you had to incur attorney expenses to get the IEP? Is this because they initially denied it? If you, I absolutely wouldn't give up anything you have.

    An IEP is something to hold onto, although it is true that the document is only as good as those who are implementing it. In a good, caring, supportive school, a 504 could be just as good.

    If your daughter is not getting special services with her IEP, you can change that. Rather than get rid of the IEP or "reduce" it to a 504, improve the IEP! Get really specific stuff in there to support your daughter in school. If she has "outgrown" it, new goals should be added. Transition to high school might be a big upcoming issue, new social demands, organization of homework and study materials (executive function issues), etc.

    One thing you can do (if the meeting is/was postponed) is go back to every teacher who has worked with her, all the way back to kindergarten. Create a form for them to fill out, where they can easily check yes, no, or maybe boxes (or do a scale of 1-to-5 for responses). Ask them how much support they feel your daughter needed, ask them about specific issues your daughter deals with, and if they feel IEP support has helped her access the curriculum, etc. Bring copies of all those filled-out forms to the IEP meeting as your evidence that not only do you need to keep the IEP, but you need to improve it since your daughter has "outgrown" the current one.

    eldertree #101500 05/05/11 07:57 PM
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    I'm a school psychologist and mom of a 2E - my advice is to keep her on a monitor IEP.
    Reasons:
    -she crashed before after a good year and she does have a disability that'll crash;
    -she hasn't even made it to high school but is close; her gifted classes should become more challenging, one hopes;
    -re-entering school at the beginning of the year and exiting sped at the end of the year - that is too short a time frame to guarantee it's going to be in her best interest;
    -since 504 is unfunded and IEPs are funded, you tend to get access to help if needed more quickly than with 504.

    I hate to think about this talk about attorney's fees, and I say that as one who has paid 'em and gotten help thru OCR. Not my favorite way to decide between IEP and 504.

    I'm more concerned about what's going to help this child. By the way, "good" girls with internalizing disorders get almost no mental health services in public schools, while as adults they are the largest category of patients. Could your daughter benefit from help with language pragmatics, self advocacy or stress management? Anxiety disorders do benefit from psychotherapy, which is something I have provided quite often as a school psychologist. There's a huge nexus between mental health issues and sensory issues with ASD, so a good occupational therapist can be part of the IEP services.

    Now I don't know your daughter, but I've always said emotional disabilities are chronic and fluctuating. You have to be able to stay ready for the next high and the next low. Not get to the high and exit the child!


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