Friday, September 17, 2010

What Are Related Services?

Q: I am a mom to a child with severe sensory issues. What are related services and how do I get them?

Answer: Related Services are any service that you need to help your child benefit from special education including transportation. "IDEA, 97"

Examples of Related Services:

Therapies: Speech, Occupational Therapy,Vision, Physical Therapy, Audiology,Augmentative/Alternative Communication
Psychological Services: Counseling,Social Skills Training,Rehab. Counseling, Social Work and Parent Consults
Health Services: Health Plans, Services that will carry out health treatments
Orientation and Mobility Services
Recreation including: adapted art, PE and music

Do Not Confuse Related Services with Accommodations. Accommodations are things like:

Sitting Student Closer to Teacher
Providing Test Material Verbally
Using a Sensory Diet in the Classroom
Having a One to One Aide or Nurse
Giving more time for testing
Having a person to assist with homework organization
Or any type of thing that can assist the student in meeting the curriculum.

Step One: The child needs to have evaluations before deciding on what related services they need. Ask for the testing results two days prior to the IEP meeting. At the meeting once the goals are set then add the appropriate related services to meet those goals.

(If in your mind you know you want your child to have social skills training you first want to write a goal surrounding social skills. Once you have the goal and the team decides on the steps to meet the goal you then can add that it would be a good idea to have social skills training).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Year, Another IEP

Its so nice when an IEP goes well. It usually comes after years of advocating and stressful meetings. Sometimes the team just agrees that there are issues your child is struggling with and is willing to provide services to help. What a surprise after cutting services year after year.

This past year we had a good meeting for my son with ADD. He definitely has inattentive ADD not the hyperactive type. At times he can't focus and he is very unorganized. Other times he is right on. A lot of talk about Executive Function and how his is very poor. His Evaluation from his Dr. actually said: "adults in his life have to act as his surrogate frontal lobe". That's pretty bad. Here are some of his issues: tell him more than one direction and he's lost, comes home sometimes with his papers and others forget it and you never know when those time will be, his teacher tells the class to open their book to page ... and he just sits there, sometimes he doesn't think before he acts, unless its straightforward like write your spelling words three times, homework is a nightmare. He can bring me to tears trying to teach him new skills. Despite these issues he's a very loving and adorable, polite boy.

A couple years ago I applied for him to get a scholarship for a Neuropsych. Eval at a local University. It's amazing that it becomes more and more accurate as the years pass. I always can refer back to this when we have questions about his performance.

We agreed on some classroom accommodations like: Sitting close to the teacher, testing accommodations, cuing for organizing his homework and papers. He also gets two sessions of SPL (Speech and Language) mostly to help with listening and processing multi. step directions. He has two sessions of OT for his writing which is very poor due to fine motor difficulties and also to work on organization. He does not need academic support at this time since he is on grade level with his work.

Next year we brought up the possibility of an integrated classroom but the team felt he would do better in a regular classroom with the above supports.

Overall, I felt the IEP was right on. He is not getting services above and beyond what he needs..he is just getting what he needs to meet his goals for the school year.

Two people on his team were particularly helpful. The IEP administrator and SPL. You could tell by the way they spoke that they were very used to working with kids just like Nick. There must be a lot of boys who have ADD and present like him. They even mentioned that at around 10 years of age they can become a little more organized. They said that you can compensate for poor executive functioning if you learn the tools.

One down and one more to go... Kate's IEP is more involved since she is severely disabled.

I also have taken on another Foster Child as an IEP Parent Surrogate. I will not give out his personal information of course but his case should be interesting. He is currently in jail. Every time we are about to sit down for a team meeting he gets arrested. It's sad because he's almost 18 and pretty soon he'll be on his own. We are all pulling to help him but sometimes it doesn't matter at all to them until its too late. We'll see how it goes.