Luke’s Journey to an IEP, Part 1: The Evaluation

I have been fighting for special services in the school for Luke for over two years now. I didn’t want him to be in special education for his ADHD, ironically, but for the writing disability I and his first grade teacher knew was a huge hindrance to his school success. Back in early 2009, in his second semester of first grade, he was denied special education inclusion on the grounds that he was too intelligent. His handwriting at that time wasn’t too far from where a first grader should be and we hadn’t yet discovered that it was more than just the handwriting.

Fast-forward to second grade. I was helping him complete writing assignments at home since he wasn’t able to complete them in the classroom. During the very first make-up assignment, I realized his problem was far more than just a struggle with handwriting. He has full-blown written expression disorder. He can tell a story verbally but then can’t organize his thoughts and get it down on paper. By the time I discovered this last school year, we were rounding the corner to the end and I decided to wait to see how third grade went. The teacher and school tried to help him but couldn’t do much outside of special education services which he didn’t have.

One day a couple months ago, Luke’s third grade teacher called me to discuss some concerns she had about Luke. Top of the list was emotional outburst which turned out to be due to a medication change. But we talked for an hour on the phone that day and she did bring up his writing problems. She said she spoke to the special educators and the principal to try to acquire services for him on her own but that the teachers can only submit a student for evaluation every three years and Luke had been submitted by his first grade teacher two years before. So I told her I’d make a written request for re-evaluation because there’s no waiting period on a parent request. That’s just what started the ball rolling for this second evaluation.

It started with a meeting with two special educators, Luke’s mainstream classroom teacher, and I. We went through a computer program they have to determine what particularly a student excels in and struggles in to determine if an evaluation is warranted. We listed his strengths (kindness, great memory, excellent math skills, gifted intelligence), and his weaknesses (writing, planning, organizing, focus, etc.). At the end they told me they would definitely evaluate him.

And that started their 60-day clock to evaluate. In both our experiences, it takes that long.

Monday I received an “Invitation to Conference/Prior Notice.” This is the form that officially invites a parent to a conference regarding their child’s special needs. It was familiar when I opened it, I’d been down this road once before. To my amazement, there was an additional box checked off under the purpose of this meeting. Not only is it to “discuss evaluation results to determine if your child is or continues to be eligible for special education and related services” but they also check” discuss and/or develop, review, and/or revise your child’s IEP.” Luke is getting an IEP and services! {huge sigh of relief}

Our meeting is this next week (we’ve rescheduled twice now due to snow). I have been holding my breath for days though. While I am so glad he has been qualified for services, I am afraid the technological aids he really needs will not be available to him. I am trying really hard to reserve panic for after the meeting, if necessary.

This is a new journey for Luke and I. We’ve never made it past evaluation except to get a 504 Plan for classroom accommodations. Since this is such a confusing and daunting process, I am going to journal the process here for everyone who is or may one day go through the IEP process as well.

Any words of wisdom for me?

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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adhd and school, NEWLY DIAGNOSED, parenting/FAMILY, Penny Williams, special education (IEP) ·

About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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