Questions about IEP accommodations

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Caesar753, Dec 22, 2017.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    When it comes to listing accommodations on a student's IEP, are any and all accommodations fair game? Are there any types of accommodations that would not be legally enforceable?

    As an example, let's say that there's an IEP that lists as an accommodation for the student receiving services to have a "classroom buddy" for the purpose of copying notes. Is this type of accommodation typical? Enforceable?
     
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  3. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Not typical, and I don't think it'd fly around here. You can't make another student be part of the IEP. I've seen it where the teacher has to provide the student with notes or an outline, but, never requiring another student to be a "buddy" and certainly not in the IEP.
     
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  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    In my district, that would not find its way into an IEP. Like Zelda, I've seen teacher notes many times, but never something that would require another student to do it. I've been at IEP meetings where the director of special services was present, and the parents were demanding extra things in the IEP since as "unlimited redos of assessments" and "re-weighting of grades so that classwork counts for more than tests/quizzes", and the director refused these things even when the parents threatened litigation as they were not appropriate or reasonable.

    I think if someone already wrote it into the IEP, I would talk to them about rewording it to make other options possible.
     
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  5. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Those IEP requirements by the parents are ridiculous. Good grief.
     
  6. Waterborne

    Waterborne Rookie

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    If it works, it works. Any and all accommodations that the public agrees with are valid are legally enforceable because whatever is legally enforceable depends on what is society considers socially acceptable.

    The key to the example is understanding why the accommodation was written the way it was. The example you gave makes me wonder whether the student has a past of being afraid of teachers or if the writer was concerned about the student's transition to college. It may be enforceable, but it may be not. I am certain the student's parents or your staff would not be upset if you printed out notes for the student rather than having them copy them from a peer if you do not make the student responsible for asking you first. If you still aren't sure though, contact the parents and ask. As long as the parents feel that you are serving your child well, you can get away with unofficially bending the rules of the IEP without breaking them and you can potentially catalyze an improvement in his/her accommodations in the future by experimenting.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Umm, no. One doesn't consult 'the public' when writing an IEP. It's not about what's 'socially acceptable'. It's about what can be provided to facilitate learning. And IEPs are legal documents. One doesn't simply 'bend the rules'.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  8. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    As czacza pointed out, an IEP is a legal document. It can only be changed by the IEP Team. Even if it's a terrible accommodation, it has to be changed by the Team and they have to sign off on it. Calling the parents and asking if you can not follow the IEP and do your own idea instead is a legal nightmare waiting to happen. The Special Education Supervisor and Intervention Specialist will not be pleased. The parents will likely not be pleased. Please don't do this.
     
  9. Waterborne

    Waterborne Rookie

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    To clarify, I was referring to that one example in particular only because the difference is trivial. I believe in most cases, the answer would be a blatant "follow it" even if the accommodations seem absurd, but to me this accommodation could be a potential oversight.

    It is one thing not to give a student that has infinite redoes on an assignment the accommodation that is on their IEP because that will anger their parents, but it is another thing to simply request a small bend as long as you follow it completely otherwise. I strongly disagree that doing so would be a legal issue waiting to happen. Even if it were, the court would not take it seriously. I do not think any parent in the right mind would waste resources when the child loses absolutely nothing and you do not go over their heads with the idea.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    My understanding has always been that the student's needs should guide the IEP, and that whatever is written in the IEP is what is legal. In other words, the fact that it's written in the IEP is what makes it legally enforceable. Of course, that's different than what your district actually wants you to write in the IEP. The classic case, in my experience, is writing counseling into an IEP - that tends to be more expensive and obligates a certain person to provide services even if they aren't able to. This situation could be extended to just about anything, from 1:1 support to student buddies.

    I would imagine that another primary question would be who would actually challenge an IEP support. If the "district" (via the teacher/IEP team) is the one making the accommodation, how would they "challenge" themselves? If the student moved to a new district, the new IEP team could always meet and revisit the particular accommodation. Of course, the parent may disagree with the change and then challenge the district, but this wouldn't so much be a "legal enforcement" issue as it would be the district having to prove the accommodation isn't necessary.

    Perhaps another angle, related to the last point, is what types of intensive accommodations/supports a parent might be able to force a district to provide, and at one cost. For example, if "student buddy" idea were written into an IEP, the student/family moved, and the new district removed the student buddy accommodation, would they be allowed to do so on the grounds that the intervention were too costly or difficult to implement? Or that the district weren't set up to provide the intervention?
     
  11. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Trivial, yes. And printing out the notes is a better accommodation. No argument there. The accommodation should never have been written to include a peer in the first place.

    I believe you can always go beyond the accommodations in the IEP---provide them with those printed notes anyway--as long as you stick what is actually written in the IEP as well (in this case, peer notes) -- until the IEP is changed at any rate. I *could* be mistaken on this end, they like to change the law/rules every few years.
     
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  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I've seen deny the notes accommodation because they say the way they teach there are no notes and giving the student notes would be impossible because notes are student dependent. Using carbon paper was an idea others threw around to get around this. So, I can see where a student buddy might come in and it doesn't have to be the same student each time.

    Actually, in college, student buddy notes are one way of doing it where the professor asks a student (or two if another is ill) to take notes then they are copied and given to the student. Sadly, the buddy gets stuck with extra work of taking the notes to be copied to give to the professor to give to the student. Now with kids using computers for notes, it is easier because they can now be uploaded to the professor, but colleges are notorious for using other students and not paying them for the task.

    But you absolutely have to follow the IEP the way it is written. If you don't like it, call an IEP meeting, but if you are in a grade that uses multiple teachers, you may get push back by those who would rather use another student and carbon paper or photocopies due to the fluidity of the lectures.
     
  13. Waterborne

    Waterborne Rookie

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    There could always be an "and/or" clause. The goal should be to get the child the best accommodations possible to get them as close to equal opportunity as possible.

    Even photocopies though is a lot more reliable than relying on a peer to copy their notes for them.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I was just saying there may be a reason there wasn't an and/or.
     
  15. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    IEP’s should be reasonable and based on need. They should also be as limited in scope as possible.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    IEPs need to be what the student needs. Reasonableness is in the eyes of the beholder.

    I've seen lower grade teachers balk at organizational help with homework coming and going for severely ADHD students. I've seen other reasonable accommodations being denied as unreasonable for the reason that a teacher just doesn't believe in it. I've seen notes of any kind being deemed unreasonable. I've seen a reader for non-reading tests being said to be unreasonable for a severely dyslexic student who never received proper services. I've seen technology being deemed unreasonable for the severely dysgraphic student because the teacher didn't want it in the room.

    So, while I understand the general point you are making, I disagree that it could be held up as the measure of an accommodation.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
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  17. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Not sure how it is where you are, but in my experience, accommodations are dictated to teachers, not the other way around.

    My point is, the less that’s in an IEP the better. A teacher can volunteer or be voluntold to do extra things. What’s in the IEP is a legal document. Everytime it’s violated, you are asking for trouble. The more that’s in it, the more likely you are to violate it.
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I'm not sure what you mean by your comment. Teachers are a mandatory and legal part of the IEP process. Not all teachers are part of the meeting, but general education teachers and special education teachers must agree to the accommodations as well as the others present in the meeting.
     
  19. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Yes but they don’t decide what goes in it. The district as a list of modifications and accommodations. Some geniuses check off every box on the list. Others determine the least necessary to provide a thorough and efficient education. Most fall somewhere in the middle.

    In a well functioning IEP meeting, the fewer people who speak as representatives of the school the better. Less to get you in trouble. The teachers sign the paper saying they will do these things. They don’t dictate what goes into them. That sounds like a poorly run child study team if the teacher at one grade level in the student’s life has that much control.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    So notes via a "student buddy" is in your district's list of accommodations?

    Just because your district uses a list of accommodations most likely from a computer program doesn't mean that that is how IEPs are supposed to be run. Those programs allow for modifications of the accommodation starts. Just because your district dictates doesn't mean that IEPs are supposed to be produced that way.

    You are confusing a district that is failing to produce IEPs in the manner required by the laws with how IEPs are supposed to be developed. That would be similar to using a school that allows violations of the IEP as the model for how IEPs are supposed to be implemented.
     
  21. Waterborne

    Waterborne Rookie

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    This happens in my district too; this is why I advocate for IEPs to be written with flexibility.

    For example, a severely dyslexic student does not necessarily need a teacher to read something out loud when they can go to the library and run text-to-speech software.

    Or the dysgraphic student can be given an Alphasmart (no internet connectivity) instead of a computer if necessary to avoid fear of a student checking facebook during class.
     
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  22. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    An IEP meeting can be called at anytime. Last year's IEP can be modified.

    Actually, an IEP meeting where people aren't discussing the needs of the students and how best to implement them is a poorly run IEP meeting.
     
  23. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    No that would not be in it. It would ideally be a list that’s been vetted by our child study team, admin, and maybe even a lawyer (though I doubt most take that step).

    This way, before it goes in an IEP, we know it can be done regardless of teacher or aide.
     
  24. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Have you ever tried to redo an IEP and take things away... That goes over well with the parents.

    An IEP meeting is like a court room. Questions shouldn’t be asked in the meeting you don’t know the answers to, and all of the leg work and decisions should be done by the time you get there. There shouldn’t be a lot of, “What do you think?” Going on. It should be, “Based on the results of testing, and discussions with blank..., we have put together...”.
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Yes, I have. Sometimes I found the real reasons why an accommodation was written a certain way or the need for a goal that was questionable. Other times, the parent thought it was the only way to implement something because no one gave alternative options and it was previous year team members who came up with the idea.

    It doesn't always go over poorly with parents. It depends on what you want to remove and why it is needed. It certainly goes over poorly when the child needs something and the reason to not have it is teacher preference or unwillingness to implement because of their personal belief, especially when another teacher has previously explained why the accommodation is a good one and it worked well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  26. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sadly, I've seen flexibility used to the detriment of the student particularly when the phrase "as needed" is used with no qualification as to when it is necessary.

    I've also seen teachers adverse to technology even without internet because they view many accommodations as an unfair advantage of the student. Flexibility then allows this teacher to ignore the accommodation by finding a loophole so they can deny it.
     
  27. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    The IEP decisions should be made at the meeting with input of all attending. Ideally all regular ed teachers are in attendance as their input is important. (More teachers involved in high school.) What can be annoying is the teacher not attending and then complaining about the accommodations/modifications. They have an opportunity to contact special ed teacher before the meeting and also to have input at the meeting.
     
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  28. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Might as well just forge the parent's signature and all of the attendees signatures if everything is known in advance. No reason for a meeting.
     
  29. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Except for the fact that it’s a legal requirement and forging documents is illegal.
     
  30. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It was sarcasm because running an IEP meeting where it is all decided in advance and holding it for "procedural validity" to get proper signatures is a farce.
     
  31. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    As are most of the lawsuits filed in SPED cases.
     
  32. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Not even going there.
     
  33. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    That’s the only reason to be so formalized. If they didn’t exist, the process could be Shangri-La-ish as possible.
     
  34. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    The parents get an advance copy of the IEP to read before the meeting.
     
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  35. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I understand a starting point, but parents are supposed to be an equal part of the team for the development of the IEP. I've known some to ask the parents in advance about what they feel are needs of the student, but addressing those needs in the group will sometimes elicit additional information or even better solutions than one person's decision about what is best.

    Since one person at the meeting is supposed to know all of the available services throughout the entire district, the case manager working with the parent apart from the team may not come up with the best solution. But then again, in districts that give IEPs lip service, that knowledge doesn't matter because it most likely won't be utilized unless the family hires a lawyer or advocate who knows more about the district than the parent.
     
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  36. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Every service is supposed to be available so whether the district has it or not is irrelevant. They would need to outsource the service or the kid if they didn’t have something that was needed.
     
  37. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    And from experience, parents have such brilliant insight when it’s their children who are at stake. Most think their child needs a 1:1 aide regardless of their actual needs. They also usually want someone there to help them pack up to make sure they don’t leave things behind. This is only needed in rare cases, except when you ask parents.
     
  38. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    That is true. If a child needs a service then it needs to be made available or the child needs to addend an out of district placement to receive the service, but an IEP developed in advance does not contain all of the people necessary to make determination of needs, which includes the parents. So, that person who knows the service is essential when a parent or a teacher shows the child has a specific need.
     
  39. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    1:1 aide and 1:1 help for specific times are very different things.

    It is amazing when complaints fly about how much a child is struggling and making life difficult for the teacher and when a parent mentions an aide as an option the issues are no longer THAT bad.

    Seen it both ways Always. Parents asking too much and schools denying needed services.

    I've even seen student's grades skyrocket from failing to above average when a parent asked about how to get their child evaluated. It was a pattern.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
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  40. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    True. Often, there is a backdoor suggestion by the teacher to have them evaluated.
     
  41. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    I think it is necessary for the sped teacher to have some ideas as to services but that is not the end all of accommodations/modifications. It is a place to start and having any input or ideas as great.
     
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