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I had an upsetting couple of days. I've been very worried about my son, he's 10 and has ADHD. I tried for years not to have him labeled, I don't like labels and find them unnecessary. But, school was getting increasingly difficult and w/o the stinkin' label, you can't get any extra help. So, we had him evaluated in the second grade and got him an IEP in school. I was told that this IEP would help him because it legally protects him under the Disabilities Act so the school would have to do whatever it takes for him to succeed. I found something out yesterday that no one ever told me. There is such a thing as an "IEP Diploma." It is a worthless peice of paper that not even a technical school will accept for admission. Why on earth wouldn't they have told me this? Honestly, I have been unhappy w/ the set up at our school for special needs kids. My son doesn't have a lot of the problems some of the other kids have. He isn't a bahavioral problem, he's just wiggly and has trouble paying attention. They seemed to be trying to seperate the kids out mingle them in w/ other classes (main streaming), however, I was just filled in by the teacher that isn't going to be the case anymore. They are putting them all back into one room. I'm afraid what this is going to do to them socially, not to mention, how is my kid who already has trouble paying attention going to fare in this environment. Answer: not well at all.

I went on a couple field trips this year and what I was seeing with my son wasn't what I see from him at all at home. He seemed nervous and disconnected. He roamed and paced. His total expression was just different. He wasn't himself. I thought, maybe, that it was just because I was there or something so I asked the teacher. She said this is what she sees from him everyday. I was shocked, really. It has me thinking that the environment itself must be playing a part in this. It's very quiet in our home and he is a calm and much more focused person here. I think I have ADHD too and I can only work and function in a quiet environment. I don't think I could sit in his class and do well. I describe what I feel in situations like that as being in the middle of a noise tornado. I asked him if that's the way he feels and he said he does.

I made an appointment to have him reevaluated. The dr. was the one who filled me in on the IEP diploma clause. I was telling her that I just didn't know what was best for my child, leaving him in his current situaiton at school because of his IEP, pulling him out and home schooling him or enrolling him in a smaller private school locally. I also told her I have NEVER wanted to medicate my child, but seeing him recently, I just don't know if I'm right. She will be evaluating him soon and said that she'll help me sort all of this out.

Funny (well not funny), I went against my better judgement and let him be labeled so that he could have a saftey net and just found out there is no net at all. He could very well go through school and exit with nothing, not even a meaningful diploma. I just feel so helpless and sick about all this and I feel like we were duped!

http://www.advocatesforchildren.org/...d-06-02-05.pdf

http://www.vesid.nysed.gov/specialed...omadiscuss.htm
 

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I'm sorry to hear this, Treehugger. I would try for the smaller private school instead, at first. I'm not an expert in homeschooling, so I won't make an opinion one way or the other. I hope it all works out for the best for you, and your son. Good luck.
 

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My friend's son was diagnosed with ADHD last year. I went to all the doctor's appointments with them and did some reading so I could try and support her, and because I babysit both her boys. She didn't want to medicate either especially after all the bad press Ritalin has got in the press. But J (her son) was constantly getting into trouble at school and wasn't doing well at reading or writing. With her consultant's advice she did start to medicate - though not with Ritalin, but another drug in that family - and he's doing so much better! Things are much easier for her now, as a single parent, and because J is so much calmer his brother has also calmed down as he doesn't have to fight for attention. The medication has had no side effects except a decrease in appetite, but J has never been a very good eater so it isn't very noticeable. So to cut a long story short - medication can really make a positive difference to a kid with ADHD if that's something you want to try.

As for the IEP situation, that sounds awful! J's school had an excellent learning support structure and gave him a lot of extra attention, and now he's moved school and is still being looked after very well. A smaller private school might be very good for your son, kids with ADHD obviously need a lot more attention than if they didn't have the condition.
 

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Treehugger, are you able to talk to some of the other parents of kids who will be in the "special" class? Putting a bunch of children with ADHD, etc. together is not helpful, as they feed off each other's energy. Maybe the parents can have a word with the principal?

What does your son think about all of this?
 

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I am not sure if the laws for IEP's are uniform from state to state, but I think they are.

Where I live (Nevada), many students have IEP's that receive only a minimum of services. They, especially by high school, are in regular classes and receive the same diploma that everyone else does provided they complete all the requirements.

IEP's come in handy when the student needs a specific modification. For example, I have a student who is hard of hearing. This student carries an FM mic to give to each of the teachers that is directly linked to a hearing aid. This student is in my honors class. All of this student's classes are regular ed. and just needs some extra supports to earn and receive a regular diploma.

ADHD, alone, is not a qualifying disability here. A student must have some other disability to qualify for an IEP. Often that is the case though. We do, and I am not sure if this is a Nevada thing, have what is called a "504 plan" for students who do not qualify for special ed but need some supports.

Since your child already has an IEP, you can make the most of it. If it were my child, I would not want them in special ed classes unless there was no other option. Special ed classes, at least here, tend to have a disproportionate amount of students who are disruptive. They usually are teaching below grade level as well.

The best way to handle it is to be an active participant in the IEP meetings; they are required once a year. I would ask ahead of time what modifications they are going to recommend. That way, you will have time to think about them before the meeting. Do research and come to the meetings prepared with your own recommendations. Definitely, get to know the teachers, and their reputations, so that you can request the best fit for your son year to year. The most important thing is that you are an active participant in your son's education...even more than other good parents. Based on what you wrote, it appears you already are.

I knew of a teacher that had a child in her class that could not stay seated. Recognizing that the child was not defective, she implented a modification for this student. He was given two desks in the back of the classroom. Whenever he felt the urge to get out of his chair, he could go to the other desk. For that student, it worked out well.

This is the type of teacher you want for your son.
 

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Treehugger. I also live in WNY and have a child with an IEP. An IEP does not mean that your child cannot get a regular or even a regents diploma. It means that by law your child is entitled to extra help to help him reach his educational goals.

Make sure the CSE (committee on special education) chairperson at your son's school knows that the goal you have for your son is a regular or regents diploma.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by amhappy1 View Post

Treehugger. I also live in WNY and have a child with an IEP. An IEP does not mean that your child cannot get a regular or even a regents diploma. It means that by law your child is entitled to extra help to help him reach his educational goals.

Make sure the CSE (committee on special education) chairperson at your son's school knows that the goal you have for your son is a regular or regents diploma.
You are right in part, they don't necessarily HAVE to end up w/ an IEP diploma IF they are able to do regular work and get the regular one. I am mad that they didn't tell me the whole story though. An IEP diploma is a possibility. He is being allowed to work at his own pace, which in theory is great, but it's putting him behind.

The thing I'm worried about is that he doesn't focus well in this environment at all and what if, because of this, he doesn't do well enough to take and succeed at the other classes. Lots of what if's, I wish I had a crystal ball.... He just doesn't look or act like himself there
 

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I'm sorry.


It's hard to know what to do in a situation like this. Even an "individualized" approach to education has become a cookie cutter one.

I hope you and your school district can find an appropriate setting for your son.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh my gosh! I got an email today from my sons second grade teacher (my son is in 4th grade now). He had just gone to a conference and watched this video and thought of my son. I've seen this before, but really needed to see it now. It felt like a hug. And, how on earth did he just know that when I haven't seen him for almost a year???


While I was typing him a thank you note, I got a call from the director of special education. He talked to me about home schooling and said for some it is a good idea. He also explain the IEP diploma to me, it's not what I thought it was. It's for kids that really aren't going to get anywhere near a regular diploma, ones that are just being taught life skills and such. Big sigh of relief there. I told him I was so unsure as to what to do, change the environment for my son who just twirls in this one or to try to find a way to change the twirling itself. He understood and said that it's a hard decision and that I could call him anytime.

I still don't know exactly what we're going to do, other than finish our evaluation, but it does feel good to know that there are lots of people who will help us along the way with any decision.
 

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Hello I am curious on your sons High School progress and outcome. My daughter is entering high school and they are pushing Certificate....but she wants to go to college.

I am not wanting to accept this mainly because I see a chance where the school will tell her she is 18...and doesnt have to come to school anymore. In the IEP they already mentioned it.

I havent recieved any info regarding the children final outcomes...and career paths. I do see a Transition center...but it seems its for severely handicapped children.

my daughter wants to do more...i do feel i was duped into an IEP.

Thank you
Adrian
 
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