OPWDD , webinars part 200.

Today was a full day and boy did I learn a lot! I went to a developmental disabilities council meeting all about children’s services. I then went to my SD ( Self directed ) launch meeting which was great!
Last I participated in a Parent to parent webinar that was all about part 200 commissioners regulations for NYS.
Where I learned that a major issue for NYC DOE parents is that the city guidelines really fail in their SOP IEP procedures manual and chancellors regulations to effectively translate the state Commissioners Regulations as far as defining what the special education continuum of services are that can be offered at IEP meetings.

It seems that often what takes place around NYS does not take place in NYC. We are left out because of our size which seems to be very unfair to our children. They are denied services and access to basic resources.
For example when is the last time that you saw a Special needs child offered a one to one Para for the district funded or PTO funded after school program? Often the special needs child is not allowed to participate or cannot participate because the ratio is too high.
The district does nothing to help these parents access after school options, which further oppresses a family. It does not empower them to be independent or successful.

I went to a conference at tweed where a special needs parent asked about special needs children and after school services which of course are available to all children at the participating public school.
The chancellor for special education who’s name I will not mention, failed to even attempt to answer this question. She completely avoided it and changed the topic. This is violation of IDEA and ADA at its worst, our children are clearly being discriminated against by not being able or allowed to access after school programs that are available to typical developing children.
Look out for the next Blog that will provide a list of helpful links to the updated Part 200 NYSED section, the SOP IEP NYC book and of course the Safeguards.
I also plan on developing a state complaint resource outline.

Know who your cluster and CFN are!

Parents and providers working with the NYCDOE should know who your CFN is and their cluster.
Go here for more info :

http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/schools/support/default.htm

These employees are directly responsible for providing support for the school and the special needs population. They can provide RSA’s transportation reimbursement such as (Form TRV-1) and vouchers for IEE ( independent educational evaluations). Be as familiar as you can with these individuals, the parent centers in NYC that are federally funded do not have the capacity or the knowledge to provide this info and I have gotten this info from other parents independently.
You must advocate for your child!

Independent educational evaluations

  1.    As a mom of a child on the spectrum, it was always hard to know if my child had a disability or not. The fact that public schools really do not care about a diagnosis does not help. Yes they will do evaluations and yes they will create an IEP, however they will not give you an independent evaluation unless you ask for one!
    Start by asking the school based support team, and then follow up with the supervisor of psychology for your school. The CSE most of the time can tell you who that is.
  2.   I would ask as soon as your child reaches school age.
  3.   Be sure that you ask for an award letter vs letting them choose a provider for you.
  4.   This can make all the difference. It is often better for you to call around and get a feel for the providers expertise and        knowledge of educational programs both public and private.
  5.  Will the provider do a school visit?
  6.  Will the provider make educational recommendations?

Often insurance will not cover these types of evaluations especially medicaid, you can wait as long as 8 months to see a specialist.

YAI now has clinicians that can do the ADOS, and they take medicaid!

Another thing that was not around when I first suspected that my child may have ASD, were videos. The amount of videos that are on youtube and Vimeo have grown over the last five years. I remember searching for hours to try and find another child like my own.

Today many brave parents have submitted footage of their children Stimming

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stimming and expressing themselves showing echolalia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echolalia.

These videos are hard to watch and I remember watching some and just crying non-stop after because of the frustration and confusion that ASD causes for so many of us.

It seems like a never ending battle trying to explain to parents, teachers and even principals that ASD is a real thing and yes my child has it, and yes it is why he does not always listen or get what you are saying.

While the evaluation (IEE) may not seem important, it can make a huge difference in advocating and finding the right placement for your child.

Impartial hearings and FERPA

It really does seem like parents with special needs children have to file for an impartial hearing every year in order to get results.
It’s a shame because it’s more money wasted on political and legal issues that should be spent on classroom instruction and training
Still I have a right to my child’s educational records under FERPA, and instead I am given a ton of things that I did not even ask for rather then what I need.
Look up FERPA here

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/students.html

It is amazing how quick the DOENYC is ready to waste paper, energy and time producing documents that they know I have already. They refuse to produce the ones I asked for or to document that they do not have them.
Not to mention that SEIS can only go back three years, so what happens when you need a document that is older then that?

The impartial hearing process has
seemed to be the only process that gets results especially when asking for student records.
I recently found out that soon all children in the DOENYC will be logged into SEIS check it out here,

https://sesis.nycenet.edu/userlogin.aspx

Seems to me that if parents are given access to ARIS then why not give access to SEIS?
Parents should not have to file FOIL requests or Impartial Hearings just to get access to records that the school should be able to produce within 45 days as the law states.

Will be creating a petition soon demanding Access to SEIS.
More to come..,

My Child’s Para did not even read his IEP

My child continues to have trouble in school. So for open school week I decided to sit in everyday. I could not believe how useless the para assigned to my child was!

He just kept saying to me. “I don’t know why he does not want to do the work? I mean he obviously can do it.” That’s when I looked at him and said “have you read my child’s IEP?”. He starred at me for a moment and then said “no”.

Thats when I just shook my head and returned to the class.

Inside I was thinking

It has been over a month and you have been struggling  with my son every day!

Perhaps it’s a good idea to at least read the IEP like DUH!

So I ask

What can we do about things like this?

I started by emailing the Principal and the CFN Special Ed support person,

The Principal promises me that he will make the para read it, but this is common sense stuff, and I really feel disgusted.