Parent writes request for testing and then can't ever come to school.

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by ecteach, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Jan 10, 2014

    Parent writes request for testing and then can't come to school.

    We had a parent write a letter requesting testing for special education the week before Christmas Break. I tried getting in contact with the parent before break, and no luck. (Documented, of course.) Then we had 2 weeks off. We were supposed to meet this week, and the parent didn't show. He did call and let us know. But, he couldn't reschedule because he won't know his work schedule until Sunday.

    I know it's wrong.....but.....

    Would I be totally, completely ridiculous if I asked the dad to write another letter with a different date when he does come to meet? That would give us more time to do the testing. It takes our psychologist and related service folks FOREVER to get evals completed, and I'm really scared we won't meet the 90 days.

    I really don't think the parent would care. But, you just never know. I thought about playing dumb, and just saying I misplaced the letter.

    The child really needs special education. She needs to be tested. The teachers have been very good about keeping data about research based interventions, because they feel so strongly about getting her services. (This RARELY happens.)

    What would you do?

    If we had met this week, I was just going to send an e-mail to everyone letting them know that this case needed dealt with in the near future due to losing a whole month of time to work with. But, now that we didn't meet......I don't know WHAT to do.

    I have no idea when he can come in, and I refuse to have a referral meeting without a parent.

    Thanks, in advance, for any help. It's Friday and I'm freaking out. When does this end? lol :dizzy:
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My gut feeling is to say no. Besides being unethical, you're asking a parent to agree to let their child fall even more behind by forgoing service for an extra month.

    I'd explain the situation to the psychologist and related service providers, and "lead the way" by getting your testing done quickly.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Why didn't you forward the initial letter to the child study team when you first received it?
     
  5. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    We are all aware of this, and have been trying to get the dad in for a meeting. The letter was forwarded from the IST Team to ME since the parent wrote a letter requesting testing. I am assuming that someone on the team "suggested" that the dad write the letter in order to expedite the process. The child hasn't gone through all of the tiers. Of course, no one will admit to this.

    The problem is...
    We can't move on with the process until the dad comes in and signs the paperwork for the child to be tested. Meanwhile, our 90 days are running out. The father either does not answer the phone, or has no days available to meet. There is paperwork that he must sign in the meeting. A home visit wouldn't even help at this point, as transportation isn't the issue. The issue is that the dad works almost every day.

    I should also add that I do not know this child. I don't even know what she looks like. I am the person who handles the initial referrals at my school. I had to gain all of the information from her teachers. No one else at my school can do initials, or they act like they can't. Last year my principal asked me if I could handle them all. Honestly, we don't have many at the middle school level. Most of the time a disability has been identified before middle school.
     
  6. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    When we have parents that don't show up for the initial referral meeting, we just decide as a team on the areas for evaluation and either send the paperwork home for the parent to sign or mail it to them. Can you schedule a meeting, send home a meeting notice, and then send the paperwork home if dad doesn't show?
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    That's what we do also. If the dad sent a letter requesting testing he's obviously on board with it, so I'd be comfortable having the meeting without him.
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Ask the father if it would be easier having the meeting where he attends via phone, then you either email, fax, or mail the paperwork to him. Or you could send the paperwork home with the child for the father to sign, then the child can bring it in the next day. If you email/fax, the parent could print (in the case of email), sign, then send back
     
  9. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I would also suggest a phone conference on his lunch break at this point.
     
  10. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I thought the time limit for evaluation doesn't start until the parent has signed? That's what we do. After that we have 30 school days to hold the IEP.
     
  11. Tutor

    Tutor Comrade

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    Jan 11, 2014

    We've sent the paperwork home as well. As the teacher I wouldn't be so worried about the timeline, that is the psychologist's problem. He/she will have to do some scheduling to get the eval complete. I've found that districts do all they can to meet compliance timelines. No one wants to get dinged by the state.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jan 11, 2014

    Quick question to your district's lawyer asking if the request for testing is permission to test should get your answer. All school districts have lawyers.

    As others have said, fax, e-mail, phone conference, etc.
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    FYI it's 60 days not 90, unless they've changed something :). Definitely do not ask the parent to write a new letter. You also may have some wiggle room over the holidays in terms of that time counting towards the 60 days, which by the way I believe is 60 school days - not 60 calendar days.

    If he'll know his schedule by Monday I'd probably wait until then. If you can't get in touch with him Monday, I'd send another letter with a rescheduled date. If he can't make it then I'd go through the proper procedures to have it without him. But, you could invite him to come in and meet with you, the school psychologist, the teacher (whoever - not as a group, just one on one) on an individually scheduled basis - perhaps before - to give feedback into the process.

    Still, there are set rules about what to do and how to do them - both on the federal level and then with your district/state. If this is up to you, I would read through all the rules and expectations, and definitely ask this question of whoever supervises the SPED process at your school.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jan 11, 2014

    eteach, is part of your problem that if the father's schedule doesn't fit your pre-defined meeting times the father can't make it? I know a few schools that only held meetings on certain days at certain times. They were completely inflexible to the schedule of the parents. Finding a mutually agreeable time when the parent can't take off of work on those pre-defined days was always seen as a problem with the parent.
     
  15. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    No, it's 90 where I live. I think each state is different.
     
  16. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    No. Dad is a truck driver. So, when he's at work, he's gone.
     
  17. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    There's actually no testing that I would have to do.
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Even still, it's not dad's fault that your psychologist has trouble meeting deadlines, and if the child is as in need of services as you're saying, I'd argue that trying to push back the timeline would only serve to hurt the child.

    Would dad sign off on testing for the purposes of letting you meet without him? Is there any possibility he could send a representative to a meeting (child's aunt, grandmother, etc)? Can you fill in the psychologist/other potential testers on the fact that the testing is coming and give them the deadline in advance so they could get the testing on their schedule now, even though it hasn't officially been signed off yet? I'm guessing your psychologist serves multiple schools... is there any way you could set up the meeting on an "off-day" and have your psychologist phone in?
     
  19. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    I know. Just like in the cartoons, I have the little devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. (You are saying what the angel is saying.) :wub:
     
  20. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Perhaps.
     
  21. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Time limit starts the second the parent requests the evaluation, otherwise, the time limit wouldn't matter - the district could just delay and delay signing of paperwork

    It is 60 days under IDEA, which cannot be superseded by a state law that makes it longer for a child to be evaluated.

    http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,QaCorner,3,

    Question B-1: Under the IDEA, what must occur during the 60-day time period after the public agency receives parental consent for an initial evaluation? Must a public agency determine eligibility and begin providing special education and related services within this IDEA 60-day initial evaluation timeline?

    Answer: Under 34 CFR §300.301(c)(1), an initial evaluation must be conducted within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation or, if the State establishes a timeframe within which the evaluation must be conducted, within that timeframe. The IDEA 60-day timeline applies only to the initial evaluation. Public agencies are not required to make the eligibility determination, obtain parental consent for the initial provision of special education and related services, conduct the initial meeting of the IEP Team to develop the child’s IEP, or initially provide special education and related services to a child with a disability during the IDEA 60-day initial evaluation timeline.

    Then see if there is any time you can come, even if it is the weekend, so a meeting can be held and papers can be signed.

    Try to do that.
     
  22. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    You're right - just looked it up out of curiosity and federal law does allow states to set their own timeline. I thought federal law required no more than 60 days, but that's not true. Sorry!
     
  23. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Our state has determined a 90 day timeline.
     
  24. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    bros, I'm reading the 60 day timeline rule as that the state can set its own length of time within which to conduct an eval.
     
  25. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    I promise you my state has a 90 day timeline. :)
     
  26. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Found it in writing in the "Policies" Manual. Replaced the state initials with ** just to be safe, as this IS a public forum.

    ** 1503-2.2 Initial evaluations

    (a) General. Each LEA must conduct a full and individual initial evaluation (including progress
    monitoring data) in accordance with ** 1503-2.4 through ** 1503-2.7 before the initial provision
    of special education and related services to a child with a disability under these Policies.
    (b) Request for initial evaluation or determination of eligibility. Consistent with the consent
    requirements in ** 1503-1, either a parent of a child, or an LEA may initiate a request for an initial
    evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability. Upon an oral request for an initial
    evaluation from a parent, the LEA shall provide assistance, as needed, in completing a written
    referral.
    (c) Timeline for initial referral.
    (1) Evaluations must be conducted, eligibility determined, and for an eligible child, the IEP
    developed, and placement completed within 90 days of receipt of a written referral; and
    (2) The IEP Team must determine--
    (i) If the child is a child with a disability under ** 1500-2.4; and
    (ii) The educational needs of the child.
    (d) Exception. The timeframe described in paragraph (c)(1) does not apply to an LEA if--
    (1) The parent of a child repeatedly fails or refuses to produce the child for the evaluation;
    (2) The parent of a child repeatedly fails or refuses to respond to a request for consent for the
    evaluation; or
    (3) A child enrolls in a school of another LEA after the 90 day timeline has begun, and prior to
    determination by the child's previous LEA as to whether the child is a child with a disability
    under ** 1500-2.4.
    (e) The exception in paragraph (d)(3) of this section applies only if the subsequent LEA is making
    sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation, and the parent and subsequent
    LEA agree to a specific time when the evaluation will be completed.
     
  27. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Actually looking that up actually gave me an answer....
    Exception. The timeframe described in paragraph (c)(1) does not apply to an LEA if-- "The parent of a child repeatedly fails or refuses to respond to a request for consent for the
    evaluation."

    Thanks, y'all. If he doesn't show, then perhaps we have more time? I'll have to get with my compliance person about this.
     
  28. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I have to handle initial referrals at my building too. It's the least enjoyable part of my job.

    Anyway, I wouldn't try to alter the timeline by asking the parent to rewrite his letter. That feels a little sketchy to me. I would, however, as others have suggested, document your attempts to contact him and schedule and reschedule, and then just hold the meeting without him. We give parents two attempts to show for meetings. If they don't show the second time it's been scheduled, we hold the meeting without them present.

    You'll need to send the paperwork home to get signed consent at that point. I suppose your state could be different than mine, based on what I've read here. However, in my state, the timeline for the actual testing to take place does not begin until you have that signed consent in your hand. So, in your current situation, we would only be under the 30 day timeline of determining whether or not we will test and sending home a notice of action either proposing or refusing that testing. Our 60 day testing timeline would not begin until dad had signed that notice of action and returned the piece of paper to us.

    Is this not how it works for you? Does your 90 day timeline include the response to the request for testing and the actual testing time all together, as opposed to two separate procedures under two separate timelines?
     
  29. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    It's calendar days for us. The district used to go by school days until they had a child complaint and got dinged on that. Now, "60 days is 60 days." Doesn't matter that we had a long break.
     
  30. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Yes. The 90 days includes everything. Our 90 days begins with we receive the letter.

    By the time the 90 days ends, all testing has to be completed, and we have to meet to determine eligibility. If the child qualifies, we also have to write the IEP.
     
  31. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Wow. That's a tough timeline to meet there. All of those things are broken up into smaller steps with individual timelines for us, but added together, we'd have a total MINIMUM of 120 days to do all of that. I say minimum because it could be even longer if the parent does not return the written consent to test immediately.
     
  32. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    So you are taking the term "written referral" to be the official school paperwork form, not the letter requesting evaluation.

    "Upon an oral request for an initial
    evaluation from a parent, the LEA shall provide assistance, as needed, in completing a written
    referral. "

    So, my question still remains one for the lawyers, if the parent decided to file due process, how would his written request be seen by a court of law. Would it be deemed similar to an oral request or would it be seen as equal to the written referral form?
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I thought you were saying the letter doesn't count, only the district form.
     
  34. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Nope. 90 days begins when we receive the letter.

    That's why I am freaking out. 30 days has already gone by. (A week before break, 2 weeks for Christmas break, and a week after.) But, I do have it documented that I tried to schedule and then did schedule a meeting. So.......we shall see.
     
  35. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Oh, gosh...no problem. My head spins trying to keep up with it all.
     
  36. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Yeah, I read some clarifications on that after my last post and apparently "days" means "calendar days" unless otherwise specified as "school days" or "business days" in federal law. Thanks :)
     
  37. bros

    bros Phenom

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    His written request started the clock.
     
  38. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Yes. We send paperwork home to be signed quite often.
     
  39. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    When the parents can't meet on a scheduled date, we reschedule the meeting for a time that is convenient for the parent.
     

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