Why does everyone think I have a magic wand?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by bella84, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. bella84

    bella84 Connoisseur

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    Feb 13, 2013

    Long story short, I have a student identified with SLD in reading and writing who has suddenly taken a nosedive into a slew of repeated behavior issues. Although he does not have a history of behavior problems, he's been suspended four days this month. I've been approached by the principal and all three school counselors about re-testing him to see if he might meet the criteria for ED. I keep telling him that we need to see these behaviors over an an extended period of time and not just in the past month... that this boy is screaming "crisis!" and not ED. I guess they didn't like my answer because they went and asked another sped teacher who told them the exact same thing. I think what irritates me the most is that they think that by labeling him ED all the problems will be solved (hence the reference to the magic wand). Even if we did test, and even if he did show up as ED, he'd still have all the same behaviors, and we'd still have to find a way to deal! Adding a label is not a solution, it's not even a band-aid.

    Can anyone relate? Any advice for how to address this situation?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2013

    It sounds like your administration is looking for a way to pass the problem. Even if he still has the same behaviors, you will be the one dealing with the consequences and working to find a solution (not them).

    My administration works vary similarly, except they don't wait for a student to have an IEP to involve the special education team.

    Do you have a school counselor?
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Connoisseur

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    Feb 13, 2013

    Yes, we have three (well, technically 2.5). And, all three of them have suggested the idea of re-testing.

    Thankfully, the counselor for his grade-level has already been very involved. She's suggested community counseling resources to the student's mother, and she also recommended a psychologist. The student's mom is really trying to remedy this situation. She has scheduled an appointment with the psychologist for next week and is keeping in contact with the school. I suggested to the counselors and principal that, at the very least, we wait to hear what the psychologist has to say before proceeding with more testing. I still firmly believe, however, that this is a crisis situation and not an indicator of ED.
     
  5. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Feb 13, 2013

    I said this exact same thing the other day. The same exact words. It can be so frustrating, can't it?
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2013

    I'm glad that your counselor is involved and working with the student. I would just keep stressing that you need documentation over a period of time to proceed with the testing. Maybe even find the wording in the state law about this.
     
  7. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 14, 2013

    I can definitely relate bella84, and it sounds like one of two (or both) things may be at play - either 1) folks thing a label fixes a problem (which you've explained doesn't), or 2) there are services available for ED that aren't for LD. Legally, the IEP should follow the behaviors, so once through the "gate" of special education any and all services should be available. So, an child identified as LD should be able to be serve in an ED classroom if that setting best meets his needs. However, many districts set it up so that a child can only attend a certain class/program (which, as I think mopar mentioned, also might be at a different school and hence a different admin's problem) if the child has a particular designation.

    I suppose either way if they want to test let the psychologist respond to that. An ED eval would mostly come from the psychologist anyway, and if the psychologist is competent wouldn't advocate for an ED label based on behaviors a couple weeks old.
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Feb 14, 2013

    In order for most EDs to be diagnosed, don't the behaviors have to go on for a period exceeding six months?
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 14, 2013

    "Emotional disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance"

    Each state can define "long"
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Connoisseur

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    Feb 14, 2013

    Unfortunately, if they want to test, it will be on me. The psychologist doesn't work for our school; he's an outside provider. I'll be the one doing the testing, if they decide to go that route.

    Another unfortunate thing is that our district does not offer self-contained settings. It's all resource, with one room for students learning life skills, but even those kids are included in gen. ed. That sounds good in theory, but some kids would really be better served in a self-contained setting. I guess my point is that, even if he were to be labeled ED, the only additional service we'd prob give him is social skills for another half hour per day. It's doubtful that would help much.

    And also, my district is one of those districts that only gives services for the areas in which a student qualifies. For example, if a student is LD in reading only, they don't get math services, even if they struggle. It wasn't always this way, but it is now.

    Thanks for your input! And thanks for providing that definition. I'm glad to know that I'm on the right track with what I've told them.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Feb 14, 2013

    ???? A kid doesn't need an ED label to get social skills services. Related services aren't to be limited by the label. Once a child gets an IEP all needs are supposed to be considered regardless of the label.
     
  12. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Feb 14, 2013

    I'm reading this different then you are. I haven't seen where she said only an ED label gets you social skills. This child does not have an IEP. I think the OP is stating that the service he would get if placed on an IEP would be social skills. I'm thinking the students that are receiving social skills are not just ED students. Plus, this student has been having problems less then a month.

    Am I reading the situation right?
     
  13. bella84

    bella84 Connoisseur

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    Feb 14, 2013

    Somewhat, but not quite.... This student does actually currently have an IEP. He has been identified as having a specific learning disability in reading and writing, and he receives services in both of those areas. (As a side note, I'll point out that this student didn't technically qualify for SLD. His IQ is low but not low enough to qualify for an intellectual disability. When it was initially stated that he didn't meet criteria for any disability, his teacher cried, and the sped coordinator caved. Professional judgement was used for SLD, and here we are today.)

    Kids other than those labeled as ED do get social skills services, yes. However, in order to get services in any area, the disability has to be related to those services. This child's behavior is not at all related to his disability, so therefore, he doesn't get social skills services through the sped department. Again, this behavior is new, and there has never been a need to even consider social skills for this child until now. Regardless of whether or not the need is there now, we can't give him social skills services unless we can find a way to link his behavior to his disability. Considering his current label, there's no simple link that exists.

    In the past, the label didn't matter. An IEP truly was a gate to any and all services. That's not the case in my district anymore. We're being told by the higher-ups to only provide services that are related to the disability and the impact it has on the child. I'm not sure if this is the "right" way to do it, but it's how I've been directed to write IEPs by those above me. How is it done in other places?
     
  14. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Feb 14, 2013

    In my district the label really makes no difference. Once a student has an iep services are available, it is what is written in the iep. For instance I have a sld student qualified by a math disability. He struggles in reading so his iep has services for reading too. Your situation sounds very frustrating. Thank you for clarifying.
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 14, 2013

    bella84, I hear what you are saying, and it seems like in this case the ED label (and assessment) doesn't make any sense. The only benefit would be that if the child were to leave the school, you'd have played a part in helping him secure potential services in the new school, but when compared with the risks (e.g., stigma) of the ED label, it really doesn't make any sense.

    Are the admin not listening to you? Why do you think they are pushing it? What's in it for them?
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Connoisseur

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    I'm honestly not sure what they think is in it for them.... Except that, as mopar said, it will become my problem to deal with and find a solution to the behaviors instead of an administrator and counselor problem. At least in theory. Although, I can guarantee that if he goes running out of the building again, it's not going to be just my problem.

    This isn't the first time they've jumped the gun on testing. It happens very frequently that, as soon as there is a repeated behavior problem, they turn to sped hoping for a label, not realizing that a label isn't a solution. At least for now, I think I've convinced them to wait and hear what the psychologist has to say before going any further.
     
  17. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Well, good luck - you definitely aren't alone, but with no in-house team it definitely sounds like you have it worse than most.
     
  18. bella84

    bella84 Connoisseur

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    Feb 15, 2013

    Thank you!

    We do have an in-house team for cognitive, achievement, and language testing, but the behavioral part is on the teachers.
     
  19. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Feb 16, 2013

    So the teachers perform the FBAs in your district?

    I know that some districts like to have behaviorists come in - at least to do a short observation of the student
     
  20. bella84

    bella84 Connoisseur

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    Yes, we do the FBAs, the observations, a social history interview with the parents, pass out the rating scale forms to the teachers, tally the scores, and write the reports after all of that has been completed.

    We would love to have a behaviorist come in to assist (it would mean more time to actually plan and teach!), but it's all on us, unfortunately. We have two district level coordinators who will come in to assist in extreme or unusual cases, but it would be impossible for them to be involved in every case.
     
  21. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 16, 2013

    Bella---my district is beginning to follow yours. IEP services are only provided for the area where the student qualified for a disability. A student who qualifies for SLD in reading would receive goals and services for reading only (no goals in math even if the student struggles in math).

    That being said, we can add social work to an IEP of a student with an SLD label. Many students with a SLD also struggle with self esteem, self advocacy, self image, so we can often add a social work component if the team and testing shows a need. At anytime can be test or meet to determine if this eligibility is needed.

    Now, we do have a full RtI team, so students who struggle in math but don't receive special education services in math, will still get help in this area. All our students (students with special needs included) are able to receive RtI services in all areas (even areas where they have a disability) as long as they qualify by our school testing.
     

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