Sunday, April 3, 2011

Squeaky Mommy Gets the Grease

Below is the letter (slightly edited for privacy reasons) that I sent to our Board of Education regarding Handsome Man's botched assessment and their denial of services. I sent a copy to Mrs. G., the woman who so blithely told me on the phone 'no further action was required' and also told me, when I asked if the assessment could be challenged or re-done, 'no there is no way to challenge it, the assessment stands.' Bullshit. I contacted a parent advocacy group and found that she was flat-out lying. They gave me a form letter to start from that I used to pen my little missive here, requesting a comprehensive assessment. I also sent a letter to the director of the Special Ed Dept. (her boss) and a few other key people in the mix.


Dear Ms. G____:

I am the parent of {Handsome Man}, who will be turning 4 years old this month. On November 17, 2010, your secretary, Miss H_____, took my initial application for an IEP assessment over the phone and at the same time, {Handsome Man's} psychologist, Dr. _____, faxed you her clinical assessment pertaining to {HM's} ADHD and co-morbid ODD. The file sat on your desk for over a month. At the time he was attending preschool at ________ Nursery School. Not only did I request and IEP for {HM}, so did the school, with great urgency.

In January, he was assessed by Mr. J_____ through your “Child Find/SELPA” program to determine eligibility for an IEP.

During the assessment, {HM} was displaying his typical problems pertaining to his disability. He could not sit still, listen, take direction, or answer questions directly. However, Mr. J__ went out of his way, taking {HM} outside to run up and down the hill, in between each question or task to get him through the sequence of testing. He even told me at the end of the assessment, that no other assessor would have been able to get him through the tests. He took at least twice the allotted time to get {HM} through the tests. To be frank, I feel that the bare test results are not a fair depiction of the challenges that {Handsome Man} faces. While I feel that Mr. J__ would be a wonderful instructor for {HM}, it seems that by giving {HM} special treatment in order to answer the questions, Mr. J____ “threw” the test. After the assessment was completed, I called you the following week (as I had not received anything from your office--{and still have not to this day}--) and was told that {HM} was not approved for an IEP and that “no further action is needed.” Ms. G____. I ask you, how a student who cannot sit still, cannot focus, take direction, interpret questions, or socialize with other students or teachers in an appropriate manner can possibly be able to participate in a school environment, and therefore learn and become educated along with his peers? If he cannot sit through a three-hour preschool program, or do the preschool curriculum, how is he expected to move on to Kindergarten at age 5? In fact, since your rejection, I have had to take {HM} out of his preschool because his teachers simply could not continue to teach {HM}, not because of any failing on their part, but because his behavior became too unmanageable and was a disruption to the rest of the class.

It is my understanding, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that children with ADHD and related issues, need to be considered for eligibility under the ‘Other Health Impairment” category.

I am requesting a comprehensive assessment in all areas related to suspected disability to determine whether {HM} is eligible for special education and/or related services either under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (including the Other Health Impairment category) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

I am requesting this assessment because as stated above, {HM} cannot participate in basic preschool curriculum and is therefore going to be (if not already) behind his peers, educationally.The following interventions and accommodations have already been tried: Attending class with a parent, special accommodations by teachers to give him more time for transitions, sitting next to teacher during circle time, warnings, time-outs, extra exercise, and medications for ADHD, and dietary changes. However, my student continues to struggle in school with sitting still, taking direction, interacting with students and teachers, following through with tasks, appropriate behavior in the classroom and on the playground, impulsive behaviors, disruptive behaviors, and emotional outbursts.

As stated above, {HM} has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD by Dr. _____, a licensed clinical child psychologist.

It is my understanding that I will hear back from you in writing within 15 days of this request. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you and your staff.


{Angry Mom}

Boom! Take that Mrs. G!! You could say I was a little pissed and it probably showed. But, guess what? I've got the department speech therapist and the department child psychologist coming to my house in two weeks to do two assessment of Handsome Man. I have not heard from Mrs. G. but I suspect her boss instructed her NOT to contact me, because I was already pissed enough. I have received phone calls from her boss and another coordinator within the department with apologies. I was amazed at how fast things started to happen once I sent the letter. The only reason the assessments aren't happening sooner is due to the two week Spring Break happening right now.

I am Angry Mama Bear--Hear ME ROAR!!

Now just crossing my fingers that we do get the desired result from these upcoming assessments: help with Handsome Man for school and at home!!!!