IEP’S AREN’T EVERYTHING! WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF I COULD SHOW YOU A WAY TO ASSURE MORE CHILDREN RECEIVED SERVICES IN THE US?
IEP’S AREN’T EVERYTHING! WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF I COULD SHOW YOU A WAY TO ASSURE MORE CHILDREN RECEIVED SERVICES IN THE US?
Hello, This is a start of a blog, essay and letter to you. Why? The same reason you do what you do. Although I will most likely not devote my life work to this cause, it is still extremely important to me. However, it might become my life work after all.
I want to change as many lives as I can; so they don’t have to go the path that I did and discover most of the ways to help my son by myself. I learned of all the help out there (not all because I did do my homework….as much as I had time for) due to a wreck that left me out of the work force for years.
Yes, I have bought a book or two. One is From Emotions to Advocacy. I don’t know the name of the other book and it is not in my possession as I loaned it out or donated.
Yes, I subscribe to your newsletter and now your Facebook page.*** You may enjoy this. That is why I am writing this in MS10. I hit a wrong key and lost my writing on your suggestion box page. I need to get some of this down on paper anyway.
Let me start with the issue of the IEP and writing it. Do you agree that there are a finite set of resources in most school districts? Why should the children whose parents can yell the loudest (often this may be the poor), or that have money to push for services get all of the $ allotted for the services? I believe those in the middle often suffer more.
Before you get on my case..I have a long history of volunteering. I feel it is my responsibility and what God has set before us to do. Besides I enjoy it and get more back than I put in to the effort. You feel good about making people feel better or just getting the basics to stay alive in this world. No one once to see people, especially kids go hungry or barely survive in this life. Bottom line the mental and physical health boost people get from volunteering is worth far more than the economic dollar value of the donation added to what can be considered dollar/time value every time.
Because they work part time and look up information on how to help their children during the off time. Often doing learned therapies at home. Those that do not work get more help from social services. This is what I have seen in my lifetime. Or, sometimes those that are in and around the services and or “in the know” obtain them.
You may want to know a little about me. I am a pharmacist with a Master of Science in Management. I taught school for 1.25 years and as the new teacher was given the most kids (children) on IEP’S.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the kids. I spent a lot of time out of school trying to help them. I realized that my toddler was suffering and a pharmacy job came open for part time (more money less time…you get it.) Here I must acknowledge all the help I got from teachers and the school system. Overall, this is where the most gains came from in our system for my son and our family dealing with special needs. OKLAHOMA MUST FIND MONEY TO PAY OUR TEACHERS!! This teachers often dig up money to pay for resources out of their pocket on top of having one of the worst salaries in the United States. And, does the Department of Education do their duty in reporting to teachers about all the resources that are out there? Have they been inviting the teachers to the Joining Forces Conference all these years? Or, have they been letting some of these things slide? I wonder if they really to inform the teachers about all the resources that are out there. How many Oklahoma teachers know about http://www.cast.org? This site has a number of free assistive learning tools. Free. I might be able to tell you about a few other secrets.
Did you know about a ten year report about best evidence on autism? This report deals with health first. The latest review and findings has a report on best evidence for education interventions. Did the Department of Education notify the teachers about this?
** THE PROJECT IS CALLED NATIONAL STANDARDS PROJECT @ THIS LINK http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/national-standards-project/
I had 240 kids the last year, and about 180 the year before. The IEP is important but it causes a lot of friction between teachers and parents, and teachers and administration. This document is danced around in so many ways. This is the process known as earning your stripes. Part of the learning curve. I have no problem with this either, except that is way too many kids for a teacher. (And, yes, I know KIDS in an improper term but a colloquialism I use and is often quite acceptable).
A thirty page IEP is often un-executable by the person on the bottom of the totem pole, the normal classroom teacher or other that does not have the resources to do so. Teachers and counselors….are afraid to ask for services that he/she may think may cost the school district services…
You know this dance. I will get back to the “think so” part later. Here is where my healthcare background helps me. I am going to make an assumption here so if I am wrong let me know. I will bow to you or other’s expertise in this area (Here is a question for those “experts!” “Can you prove this though?”)
There are many state agencies that provide workshops on how to write IEP’S. What really bothers me here is the people that are doing so have never taught a class or they have worked with students either one on one, or one on three.
I will guess you have heard of management styles where job exchanges are done to help people understand each other better. There are also retreats that are mandated where sessions supposedly are not monitored and ideas can be freely exchanged.
I WOULD HAVE ALL THOSE THAT TEACH THESE WORKSHOPS HAVE TO EXECUTE THESE IEP’S IN THE CLASSROOM WHERE IT IS A RATIO OF 1:25 OR 1:40 for about a week.
Then perhaps there would be some real workable solutions. I will say I am sorry here. I am trying to shorten this but there is so much that can be done to really gain change.
It just makes me mad. Part of my answer for you is to influence all the disability law centers to do their real jobs. They need to look at all the contracts their state department of education has with external parties.
What lead me to this was so simple. I wanted an outside consult with a service called PEAK. The service is out of OU Health Science Center. The teacher thought if she asked for it the cost would be extra. Fear of job loss can be a very strong disincentive. This did not deter me.
I called PEAK wanting to know the cost of the service and if they had a contract with my school district. Getting information from them was like pulling teeth. Actually, I had the right to ask for the consult as a parent without permission from the school.
I called the district finance office to see if they had a contract with them already and asked if the contract was a per use cost or a capitation contract. Which I am sure you know means the school pays one price and can be used as many times at no additional cost.
The teachers may need to be educated too. Well it was a capitation contract. The lady in charge did not like having questions directed to her.
These contracts and consulting groups need to have their own IEP (Independent Evaluation (of) Provider).
I suggested that they should have to list the districts they had contracts with on their websites. Diane Mathis, head of Peak, also stated that I could not ask for a consult on my own.
I had some suggestions that might help with costs….Like opening up to parents to pay the costs(what a bargain compared to private costs we could see are tax dollars at work through grants back to the states when our insurances did not over these).
I thought offering the services to Homeschool Coalitions would be a good idea. Of course, just like some school administrators, Diane Mathis balked at the idea.
Back to listing the districts she has a contract with, this is important if a parent asks and the districts says no. It would allow a parent to verify the answer.
So after the big exchange of words, I called to get copies of her contract with the state department of education and some other contracts to read. I wanted to if they were meeting the contracts.
Guess what? They couldn’t. It was like a thirty page IEP. And, they were not given enough money to do what was stated in the contract.
Does this sound familiar? Yet, they could list the districts they had a contract with. You see a lot of issues I have with my son deal with misinformation.
I called the state twice about the 0 to 3 program and was told it was based on money. This meant we made too much money. But with an income of 1.5 a pharmacist pay we could not provide all the services my son really needed.
Thus we did the pick and choose method. We did OT, Speech and etc. at different times throughout his life. Yet, that is still a blessing over many where both parents work and don’t have the time to go to social services to check on services which might have been open to us.
Or, they make a couple of phone calls get the wrong information and give up on that avenue. When I picked up the contracts the receptionist said just have what you wanted stated in the contract for next year.
I really did not come up with all of the ideas. Some yes. But by talking to everyone at each step of the process I gained insight. Part of this is common sense, some is my management degree where I learned about marketing and a great deal is just not looking down on people or getting excited that someone makes wads of money.
That does not impress me (well yes it does when they build a business from the ground…but it is that and not the money). A big reason I am writing you is you can make a difference.
You might think I am crazy. Okay if you do and do nothing then I have lost nothing. But if you say something and change occurs I have won the 50/50 coin toss. I approached the Oklahoma Disability Law Center. They would not listen.
The mentality is write it in the IEP…write it in the IEP….I asked them what their purpose was. Wasn’t it to see that as many children in Oklahoma get services…..
Also, wouldn’t reviewing the educational contracts with third parties that deliver these contracts be of a legal nature and make sense. I got nothing. When I first called I thought I would at least get a paralegal. I asked what the person’s background’s was and it was psychology.
I also asked why the Disability Law Center what supporting workshops on Positive Behavioral Supports but could not do this. Deaf ears are where the question fell. I
know this is long…I am sorry but I feel I have a very valid point that will help lots of children. I also said I thought it should be written in the contract that the services could request the emails of all the special ed teachers and should email them explaining the contract was a capitation contract. I have a lot of other ideas that would require agencies to use free….yes free advertisements to place workshop times and dates.
I want to state that I am not totally against psych testing but there needs to be a government agency that regulates it.
Right now it is regulated by the American Psychological Society. Let me see, a self-regulated industry? The FDA has had corruption ……do you think letting a fox guard a hen house is a good idea? By the most test meet the definition of a diagnostic tool….to be regulated by the FDA. The makers of the tests and the publishers are getting by with so much compared to drug companies…..I just don’t understand…no long term studies on the adverse effects of these tests…..no liability….
Some deep pockets that lawyers are not hitting. Not traumatic or worth it….yes it was traumatic for me to be asked about a nonexistent sex life on the MMPI at the age of 18 or bathroom issues that I was taught were private things not to talked about. It was like a privacy rape.
But it was required to be deemed fit to enter the practice of pharmacy at SWOSU in 1980. Many other pharmacy schools I am sure. I was acceptable….but what 40% that was usually wrong turned to alcohol and drugs because they didn’t follow in the family business as was expected?
There are some fallacies in the testing that are not addressed and parents are never told. The MMPI is only 60% accurate. This test dashed a few dreams of people that wanted careers in teaching and pharmacy years ago. It is not used now.
If you want to read more on my ideas about this my blog is: http://ollamok.blogspot.com/2011/09/psychological-testing-surely-goverment.html. I
It can cause trauma to an individual…think of the children that are given these tests and feel insecure after taking these tests. Or, tests that say one has low working memory….may have been that way all their life…and adapted….every heard of the pencil…..I had adapted by always writing things down…..well too much to say.
Aren’t we supposed to be the smart animals for using tools? I know sarcasm now but….a point? If you have read this far I am very thankful…I could say extremely or a bigger word…..whatever you choose….I mean it.
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Basically by writing things in the contracts we assure that parents which do not have time to go to workshops but do research on the net can verify information.
Knowledge is power. Also, by giving the providers of these services a dose of their own medicine; maybe they will come to the table in a less condescending manner.
I assure you those I spoke to when I asked questions knowing the answers did not like it. Working in an environment of fear isn’t good for anybody and the kids are the ones to suffer.
Following the Golden Rule and being open to new ideas are the only things that will really change the face of education in this country.
Also, decrease the debt. With early intervention the better chance all children have for a better future. I will always feel like I didn’t peruse the 0 to 3 services enough and wonder what if my son had gotten them. I do not want another mother or parents to feel like this. So the more information we can get out there by contracts…..the better future all children will have. Thanks for listening.