Sep / 04

What Does “Consent” Mean When It Comes to IEPs – Assessments and Releases (Part II) [IEP 044]

IEPcontent Podcast 0

If your child’s school requires you to sign a Release of Information, should you do it? Is it an all-or-nothing type of release? It all depends! In this episode, we discuss the circumstances surrounding consenting to a Release of Information and then, withdrawing consent (if you wish). We also talk about what you should look for before signing Assessments.

[DISCLAIMER] This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matters, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.


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Full show transcript found at the bottom of this post. 

What We Discuss in This Episode:

  • Assessments must be run in all settings before saying it won’t work
  • The importance of having a school nurse put questions in writing for the doctor
  • Can you limit your consent to a Release of Information?
  • Certain laws that are in place that allow school districts to bill Medicare/Medical for services for students that have IEPS
  • How a district billing Medicare/Medical directly can adversely affect a child’s at-home services
  • How school districts can “double dip”
  • To withdraw Medicare/Medical consent if you’ve already signed a Release, it must be in writing
  • Be sure to carefully read over the assessment information and who is providing it
  • Assessment plans are just like IEPs, they can be amended
  • What do you need to know about triennial assessments
  • Baseline data is a starting point for goals and must be accurate
  • The difference between consent and non-consent states for assessment plans

Resources Mentioned:


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Full Show Transcript

Vickie:                  Welcome to the Inclusive Education Project. I’m Vickie Brett.

Amanda:             I’m Amanda Selogie. We’re two Civil Rights Lawyers on a mission to change the conversation about education, civil rights and modern activism.

Vickie:                  Each week we’re gonna explore new topics which are going to educate and empower others.

Amanda:             And give them a platform to connect to change in education and level the playing field.

Vickie:                  Hi, welcome back. You know what you’re listening to. We’re gonna get-

Amanda:             I hope they know what they’re listening to.

Vickie:                  This is gonna be the part two of the Assessment Discussion … Sorry not assessment, Consent to IP’s. This week we’ll focus on assessments but we actually have a couple of announcements before we get into that.

Amanda:             We do.

Vickie:                  So we have our event that’s coming up in September, so by the time you guys hear this it’ll probably be the first week of September, so it’s just around the corner. Thursday the 13th.

Amanda:             Yes, please make sure you buy your tickets because there will be a increase at the door. So if you buy it up till the day before, you’re gonna get a bigger discount than if you buy it the day of, and I think we mentioned this. There is a VIP option where you’re gonna get a chance to get a meet and greet with our panelists, which is one of the things that we’re gonna kind of sneak peek today. So we’ve got a great panel of experts and so Grace Losada, who is the VP of Education for Fusion Academy, who we’ve had Fusion on the pod before, is going to be our Moderator for the event. So she’s going to really take into consideration all the issues that we’re wanting to discuss and make sure that we have a healthy debate going on on the panel.

Vickie:                  What’s the name of our event?

Amanda:             Oh.

Vickie:                  [inaudible 00:02:01] the topics.

Amanda:             Oh. I feel like we’re talking about this so much but you’re right. [crosstalk 00:02:05]

Vickie:                  Building the Bridge Between School, Learning and Mental Health. So the panelists that were curated for this even really had schooling, learning and mental health in mind. This year in particular, we’ve seen a lot with a lot of the school shootings, a lot of the crossover between mental health. And although mental health has been brought up, it’s not really the focus in the center so we wanted to have an event, and that’s why it’s saying “Building the Bridge”, right?

Amanda:             Right.

Vickie:                  Is to try and get these panel of experts and that’s why we think Grace is a perfect fit, because she was at Fusion but before that she was in the public sector as well and that’s why we think she’s going to be a great Moderator.

Amanda:             Yeah. I mean, we’re really focusing not just on having this conversation about the challenges between school and mental health, but really what are was going to to do about it? What can we do? The practical implications, how can we really create strategies and make an actual impact in our schools rather than just talking about it, right? Like we talk about how everyone’s on Twitter saying “Hopes and prayers, hopes and prayers,” and we’re saying, and a lot people now, hopes and prayers are not enough. What do we do from here? So that’s-

Vickie:                  I think the [inaudible 00:03:19] case sparked that, so that’s, you know-

Amanda:             Yes.

Vickie:                  Our little inspiration as professionals in the community, as knowing other professionals in the education, schooling and private sector we wanted to kind of bring all these people together and I think Grace is going to do a great job, especially with her background.

Amanda:             Yeah. So then on our panel we have Dr Matthew Koury from the Mind Health Institute in Newport Beach and so he has a great background in the mental health aspect. We then have Dr Sabrina Schuck, who is from the Department of Pediatrics at UCI and she has a plethora of expertise that, I mean if I … She talks about her [crosstalk 00:04:04]

Vickie:                  She’s been at UCI alone for like, over 20 years. She’s [crosstalk 00:04:04]

Amanda:             Yeah, if I did her whole CV I’d be here all day. And then we have Dr Jeannie Morgan, who is a licensed Educational Psychologist from the Anxiety and Depression Center of Newport Beach. So we’ve got a great panel with the hopes of really sparking a great discussion, not only on the challenges that we see in our schools right now, but also what can we do about it and everyone on our panel has experience both in and outside of the school setting. So I think it’s gonna be a great perspective for parents, educators, administrators, anyone that comes to really get an idea of what can we do to help.

So one great thing I will say, is that we will be recording the panel to have as an episode of the pod. So if you are not located in Southern California or you’re not able to attend that day, don’t fret. You’ll be able to hear this great conversation, but if you are free on that day and you’re close enough, we really hope that you take the time to come. Because even though yes, you can hear it afterwards on the pod, I think the great group of panelists and our sponsors that will be there will give you an opportunity to kind of bring that conversation to a new level if you’re actually there.

Vickie:                  We’re doing a couple of different things. Obviously if you’re local it’s going to be at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, which if you haven’t been to the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity it’s a really cool venue. It’s a really cool spot which is located in Costa Mesa off the 405, and you know, you’re going to be at this even to learn something, but also you will be there to do something because we’re trying to make it a fun night out.

It’s a heavy topic but there’s going to be a silent auction where the Inclusive Education Project over the last couple of months, has tried to get silent auction items donated and we have a lot of great stuff. We’ll talk about … We’ve been talking about some of the stuff, but we really tried to take the things that we get donated. For instance, like tickets to the Museum and we pair it with a bottle of wine that we get donated, or you know, even [Toothpick 00:06:15] that someone has donated to us this year in particular. And we try to make fun little packages for you to bid on and it’s not just you bidding on something that you want.

All of the proceeds, 100% of the proceeds go to the Inclusive Education Project and as you know, we seek to advocate on behalf of children with special needs in particular, but of course it’s inclusive, so we try to better all children. That’s the mission of the Inclusive Education Project and we’re really excited about this even because so many different people have reached out to us in wanting to not only express their gratitude for holding a session event, but like saying that it’s going to a good cause and we just appreciate the support. So hopefully you can support us, obviously Amanda and I will be there, so if we haven’t met, you can meet us there and yeah.

So the VIP ticket is $50 and what gets included is what Amanda has said, an opportunity to meet the panel. You get priority on the silent auctions, you get time when it closes to everyone else to put in your last couple of bids, two drink tickets. We will have alcohol at this event.

Amanda:             [crosstalk 00:07:26]

Vickie:                  It’s important. [crosstalk 00:07:28] Obviously [heavy 00:07:26] appetizers and as we get closer to the event, we’ll kind of let you know what those are, and obviously just a good time out.

Amanda:             And you forgot they get to meet us, too.

Vickie:                  That’s anybody that walks in the door is going to meet us. So the general admission tickets, $20. That includes one drink ticket so we’ll still get you through the door with a drink, obviously the heavy appetizers, though if you can get the general admission ticket online before at the door, which it will go up at the door. Go online and it’s just a cute little URL. It’s just www.b as in boy, i as in Irene, t as in Tom like [ 00:08:15]. So if you just type that in, it’ll take you directly to the website where you can purchase your ticket and yeah. Hopefully you guys are able to make it. I think it’s going to be a really good event and there’s going to be a lot that we can discuss even after the event.

Amanda:             Yeah, of course and we’re going to hope to get our panelists on the pod as well eventually. But if you tune in next week, which will be the Tuesday of the event. So two days before, we’re going to talk about our sponsors of the event. So you’ll get an opportunity to see who else is going to be there. If you’re an organization and you want to meet other people from other organizations. There’s going to be some pretty cool stuff in your swag bags as well. So that’s something that [crosstalk 00:09:01] Yeah, you get a pretty nice swag bag full of goodies and information from [crosstalk 00:09:04]

Vickie:                  Lot of events out there and we get it, like, where you put your time and your money. We try to be as creative and fun and educational as possible. So I mean you’re getting a swag bag, you’re getting a panel discussion. You know, it’s not just kind of one person lecturing at you. I’m sure it’s gonna be lively, I’m sure they’re gonna disagree on certain things. You know, you’re getting a silent auction, you’re getting a night out.

Amanda:             Look, we know that you’ve got lots of choices when you get a babysitter but we’re telling you now, this is going to be one even you won’t want to miss. And I feel like as a weekday you’re babysitter should give you a weekday discount, right?

Vickie:                  Right, exactly. It’s a Thursday. You only have to make it through Friday. It’s not going to be a super into the night event. Obviously it starts at 5:30 and we have an end time, we know, about 8:30. So although it is a very heavy topic, we feel it’s important to have that discussion. You know, we try to edge it out with something fun, so that’s the silent auction and obviously having drinks there. So hopefully you guys can make it and yeah. Next week we’ll get into the sponsors who, without them we couldn’t put this on.

Amanda:             No, we wouldn’t be here, so we do appreciate them and we’ll shout them out. And again, if you haven’t gone onto our Facebook and added yourself or requested to be part of our private Facebook group, please do so. We’re starting to have a lot more lively conversations. Actually I was on it this morning-

Vickie:                  I was, too.

Amanda:             I had … There were a couple of people who named us by name and asked for our opinion and so I was like, “Oh I’ll take a couple of minutes.” Know that we are on there trying to be active. We may not answer every single questions, we may not respond to everything but we do try our best to get in there and provide some feedback. So it’s another opportunity for you guys to be part of that conversation.

Vickie:                  And that URL is in case you can’t find it on the search bar for whatever reason, you can just take that in and it’ll take you right there and you can request to join. So-

Amanda:             Vickie’s got all the URL’s today-

Vickie:                  I got all the URL’s.

Amanda:             Because I did not remember to bring my laptop today. All I have is my phone, which-

Vickie:                  It’s all in my head.

Amanda:             Look, oh it’d be really, really funny if it was. All I’ve got is my phone today which I can’t bear to look at because I lost a sports bet and I have a Chicago Bears case on my phone. I am a die hard Denver Broncos fan, so I paired my phone with a Broncos shirt today because I have to counteract it and let people know this is not my affiliation. I lost a bet.

Vickie:                  Football, football, football.

Amanda:             Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Vickie:                  I’m gonna get into part two of our conversation. I acknowledge it. I acknowledge what you have said.

Amanda:             It’s important.

Vickie:                  And how hard it must be for you. So something else that’s hard for parents … Obviously we went through consenting in part and disagreeing in part two and IEP, but something else that we wanted to get into were assessments and top of that, two releases of information. We’ll get into releases of information because I think we’ll have a lot to say about the assessments. But oftentimes we’ll have a child in private therapy and the child may have some school-based counseling or there’s a regional center, there’s a wrap-around team, you know, a kid can have so many different things. Or the doctor is indicating that the child has this particular type of diagnosis and the District comes in and goes, “You know what? We really want our nurse to talk to your Doctor, the other outside provider. Can you just sign this release of information?” And Amanda and I, depending on the case, I mean, it’s a toss up. It really depends on what is happening.

Amanda:             Yeah. We’re gonna do that typical Attorney answer of, “It depends.”

Vickie:                  Yeah, it depends.

Amanda:             I mean, there are many situations where I find it very helpful to sign a release. Obviously if there is a medical need. For instance you have a kid who has seizures and a certain protocol needs to be followed. That school nurse needs to understand exactly what that protocol is to put in the health and safety plan in the IEP.

Vickie:                  Or dietary restrictions.

Amanda:             Dietary restrictions.

Vickie:                  Another black and white.

Amanda:             Yeah. Another big one is when we have ABA, Applied Behavior Analysis, at school and we also have ABA at home. It is imperative that the ABA providers at home and at school talk to each other.

Vickie:                  Right.

Amanda:             I was talking to someone about, I don’t even remember what event it was, but we were talking about how so many outside providers aren’t asking to be part of the IEP team. And it’s not just up to the outside provider, the home ABA provider to go to the IEP team, it’s also the IEP team, right? And so sometimes we’ll get parents who … Parents are telling me all the time that they’ve had home ABA for years, and the District has not once asked for the home ABA, like to sign a release, so-

Vickie:                  Or you get the general, “That’s home and school is very structured.” But there are certain strategies under Applied Behavioral Analysis-

Amanda:             It needs to be consistent

Vickie:                  That need to be consistent and that structure needs to be there, so if you’re getting two different schools of thought, really, then-

Amanda:             Right.

Vickie:                  The child gets really confused and [crosstalk 00:14:22]

Amanda:             Even like some kiddos, like you use specific language with them and if you’re using different language it’s so confusing.

Vickie:                  Yeah.

Amanda:             Or let’s say there’s behaviors that are happening at home but not at school or at school but not at home, that’s a typical example, right? And oftentimes it’s pushed aside as, “Well that’s home,” or “That’s school. Different environment, end of story.” Well it’s not the end of the story, because no matter if it’s a different setting, if there is something that works in one setting, until you try it in the other setting you cannot say if the different settings [inaudible 00:14:52] will not work. You have to try it first. So having those conversations-

Vickie:                  You’re being collaborative, you’re saying, “Okay. I hear what you’re saying. This is private information that you otherwise won’t have access to.” That’s the one hand, right? You are doing everything that you can to provide as much knowledge to the District because they have a genuine interest in it. Now the downside. This has happened several times to clients that have signed these things and then come to us, and what ends up happening is the nurse will have a conversation or the school based Speech and Language Pathologist will have a conversation with the private Speech and Language Path and they twist their words.

Amanda:             Or Pediatricians. Sometimes doctors it happens.

Vickie:                  Right, oftentimes, you know and the District staff may be asking certain questions that, you know, that’s really an IEP team decision and when the parent has a particular opinion from the Pediatrician, the District likely says, “That’s medically based and it hasn’t [crosstalk 00:15:54].” And when it’s helping them all of a sudden and so something … And that’s a downside to ever sharing information [crosstalk 00:15:59]

Amanda:             Right. So it can be taken out of context, it can be misconstrued.

Vickie:                  So something that we’ve started doing and it’s not in all cases, it just depends, but if for example for a doctor, you know you start getting chatty with a doctor and they say all sorts of things. So when there’s specific questions that the nurse has, that she put it in writing and that she provide it to the doctor and the doctor will provide written so nothing can-

Amanda:             Right.

Vickie:                  Like if the doctor writes it down then it’s written down, it cannot be misconstrued. Because what ends up happening is the nurse says, “Well the doctor said X, Y and Z.” Well then the parent goes back to the doctor. It’s a month later and the doctor’s like, “I guess I said that. I don’t really remember saying that,” or “No, I didn’t say that.” And so that kind of alleviates … And that’s something that I’ve just seen with one particular Pediatrician. He’s the one that gave me the idea. At first he was like, “I don’t speak to District because they always misconstrue.” And I was like wow, this has affected him and he’s like, “You know, if you put it in writing, the questions,” and I was like, “Oh, that’s a great idea.” I’d rather do that and get some information than get no information and that wasn’t coming from us. We weren’t saying, “You have to put this in writing.” But now that’s an option I give to doctors.

Amanda:             Yeah. Another idea that I’ve used in certain circumstances is limiting that consent to that release. So it may be you’re limiting it to only a month, right? So it’s not open ended forever. Let’s say there’s triennial assessments being done. So you have until that IEP date. Or you can limit the scope of the questioning. So a doctor and therapists have to follow [HIPAAP 00:17:38]. So if you put on the release that they’re only allowed to talk about the epilepsy and the protocols to which the students needs to be cared for when there is an episode, then the doctor can only talk about that. They cannot talk about their autism or anything else that they may have. They have to really limit their scope. So sometimes that helps as well.

Vickie:                  I had a student once. She had 16 different doctors. She had a plethora of just medical issues and Neurologists and this person and that person and ENT’s and it’s just like, “Oh my gosh.” So if we’re talking about her dietary restriction you need to talk to her Gastroenterologist. You can’t even really talk to her General Pediatrician because they don’t know the extent of the dietary restrictions. Like they could look at something and if they’re not in the same network for whatever reason because a lot of times they try to with medicality, keep everybody under but sometimes you have to go and see this person and this person and they may not [crosstalk 00:18:39]

Amanda:             Have specialists all over the place that parents have to travel-

Vickie:                  Right, right and to try and keep all of that straight and then it’s just like, “Oh well.” In a recent case that I had it was like the Neurologist was okay with having the child go back to school full time, but then the Pediatrician was like, “No’, or the ENT was like, “No, because full time is like when a lot of kids are [sick 00:19:00]” And it’s just like, “Okay. Now you have two doctors [crosstalk 00:18:58] so it’s like if the parent actually sided with the one that said no, she’s not ready to go back. Let’s try to modify. You wouldn’t necessarily want … Because that’s a parent decision, too.

Amanda:             Yeah.

Vickie:                  Like the Neurologist, that’s nice that you think that but let’s take it with a grain of salt. You might not know [crosstalk 00:19:15]

Amanda:             They’re not the specialist that would talk about that [crosstalk 00:19:20]

Vickie:                  Right or the child getting illness or-

Amanda:             Because then the Neurologist may have said something like, “Based on the conditions that I am treating, she is fine.” But the question wasn’t asked, “Are there any reasons?” Right? And so sometimes even something as simple as that, about the way that the questions are asked, and I am not saying it’s necessarily something that’s being asked on purpose to misconstrue. Sometimes it’s not on purpose, but I did want to mention something while we’re on the MediCal and consent all this. There is something that has been put on IEP’s and this has been the last couple of years.

There’s laws in place that allow the school Districts to bill Medicare or MediCal for services for students that have IEP’s. So there are some school Districts that are creating a separate form for that and then the parents are being provided this form and it explains what it is, but it doesn’t explain everything. But then there are other school Districts I’ve started noticing, that are putting it, the part on the signature page on the IEP, there’s a slot for consent to the IEP and then there’s another form, another little line, that’s for consenting. It’s a MediCal waiver, and that’s very tricky.

Vickie:                  I’ve had a lot of parents that have asked, “Well should I consent to this or should I not?” And I’ve had IEP meetings where I have been at the IEP meetings, like three different times and I have told the team that the parent is not signing it and they still shove it in their face every time. So essentially the schools say, “Look, this is just our ability to get more services for your child.” So it sounds great, right? Well, I’ve had a number of students where it’s actually had the opposite implication. If a child has Medicare or MediCal and is receiving certain services or may in the future receive certain services, ABA, Speech, whatnot. If the District bills Medicare or MediCal for your child, it can affect the services you get at home.

Amanda:             Right. The school District is obligated on their own to fund the services that are deemed appropriate and necessary under the student’s IEP. Just because they’re now allowed to bill MediCal, does not mean you have to consent to it and in fact I would say in the majority of cases I would not consent to that because we have seen an effect where students are then not able … They’re being denied services at home that they desperately need, simply because the District basically double dipped. They’re already getting funding for this, they don’t need MediCal too.

Vickie:                  Yeah, it’s interesting that they have the parents sign it each and every time, because like I’ve seen it where the District, like there’s no likelihood that the child would ever need MediCal and they’ll be like, “Oh, you know, you want to sign this.” Because they’ll even get them to sign it, it’s like not even applicable but they’re like, “Oh you just sign this so that if your child ever gets MediCal that we could use the funding.” And so that even that is just like okay, but you know that this parent, there’s never going to be a likelihood that this child will ever be on MediCal but you’re still not even explaining it. I mean, I’ve questioned them a couple of times and a lot of them don’t necessarily really know, they just [crosstalk 00:22:26]

Amanda:             No, they’re being told that this is gonna help, right?

Vickie:                  Right.

Amanda:             Because there’s that perception that schools don’t have enough funding. So a lot of parents think, “I’m being denied because they’re not money, so if I allow this to happen I won’t be denied.” Well, you know what? I hate to say it but it’s not going to have any effect for your child most likely. It’s gonna allow them to pay for the services that are already in the IEP and allow them to get off the hook and essentially double dip. And it could affect your ability to get services later on, whether you have MediCal now, or not. So that’s just something that … And we’ll get to withdrawing consent, I think, in a minute but if you’ve already consented to that MediCal waiver or Medicare waiver and you’re now thinking, “Hmm maybe that’s not a good idea,” you can write a letter to the District and say, “I signed this, but I am withdrawing my consent.” And it has to be in writing.

Vickie:                  Yeah and that’s something that you can evaluate and see but I had a client where she’s never signed that and MediCal was still being billed, so if she needed additional PT or whatnot, they were like, “You don’t have any more funding for PT.” And she was like, “What are you talking about?” And it took six months for her to go back, get the records from the school, because the District was like, “We don’t know what you’re talking about.” And she was like, “You need to handle this because you’re the ones that started billing fraudulently. I didn’t actually give …”

So just think about it and make your decision accordingly, and a lot of times when it comes to assessments parents just look at the assessment plan that’s provided and they just sign. They don’t think twice about it, they just kind of sign it. And it’s important to really look at each area, right? So [inaudible 00:24:16] not necessarily the IQ depending on your child, but you know, we’ll have the psycho educational evaluation[crosstalk 00:24:20]

Amanda:             Of cognitive abilities [crosstalk 00:24:22]

Vickie:                  Of cognitive abilities, the academic assessments that are typically done by a teacher. You know, read it because it’ll tell you who’s doing what. You don’t want an Occupational Therapist doing a Speech and Language evaluation, not that that could happen, but I had a deaf and hard of hearing child once and there are certain testings that you can do. Not necessarily like the health-based ones with the nurses, but it was done by just the Resource Specialist teacher and parents were like up in arms. And they’re like, “She doesn’t know anything about the hard of hearing.” And you know, under the IDA as long as she had a credential as a Resource teacher she was capable [crosstalk 00:25:03]

Amanda:             Yeah, it’s the … Anyone who has the qualifications who can make that assessment can, and just because someone has one title, doesn’t mean that that may be their only qualifications but it is really important. But also note that assessment plans are just like IEP’s. They can be amended. You don’t … It’s not an all or nothing thing. So let’s say they have checked cognitive, academic, speech and language. That’s all they have. But you feel the student has social/emotional issues, you feel that there’s fine motor. When you get that assessment plan we recommend is that you go and you check mark those boxes of those other assessments that you want, and you write … If there’s one that’s not listed, you write it in. And then when you go to consent, you either do it on a separate letter or on that signature line and say consent only with the added changes. At that point the District then has to amend or write a [prior 00:25:53] notice why they’re not amending.

Vickie:                  Right. And so then they can deny the request but that’s why you have a prior written notice that would say why. And that’s why it’s important to write down, you know, you’re not just saying, “Well I want this evaluation in this area,” and it’s like, “Okay well that wasn’t something that we thought you wanted. Give us a little bit more of an explanation.” Because sometimes, you know, I was just at an IDR and previously the child’s triennial was in January of this last year and there was a speech and language review, and we didn’t agree with it because it was just a review of the past triennial which was in 2015 and then any other records that they had. And so it was actually one of the District people that, you know, and this is an informal dispute resolution. This can typically happen with parents and the District but in our case we were obviously present for it, and we’re just trying to reach an agreement to an IEP that maybe there was a disagreement to.

And so, you know, it was nice that she was like, “Oh yeah, well we really need to do an assessment because for the triennial you should be doing assessments over again.

Amanda:             It should not be a record review.

Vickie:                  It should not be a record review.

Amanda:             There is very clear case law that says that triennial assessments must be a comprehensive assessment.

Vickie:                  But the parent agreed to it in the assessment plan.

Amanda:             Well if the assessment plan doesn’t say … Doesn’t have Speech and Language checked and they decide to do a record review, fine. If it says Records Review only, fine. You can set it to that. However, if it says Speech and Language then that means a comprehensive assessment.

Vickie:                  Right.

Amanda:             And also when we’re looking at, if they’re going to deny an area that you added, they have to have a reason, right? So in the IDEA when we’re looking at what does it mean for the District’s obligation to have to assess in all areas a suspected disability? It’s just that. Suspected disability. So if you, as a parent, have a suspicion that the child’s fine motor deficits are impeding their ability to learn because they’re not able to type on the keyboard and they’re required to do paragraphs on the keyboard, or they’re not getting enough content out writing because they’re fine motor deficits are causing that … So if you have that piece of paper and you say, “I’m asking for an Occupational Therapy assessment because I believe that there are fine motor issues. Even if you don’t say the words, ‘fine motor’ … You say, “I’m looking at their writing.”

Or let’s say social/emotional. Sally comes home and says that she has no friends and that she tries to play with friends and nobody says [inaudible 00:28:27] I don’t care if the school team says, “We see her going up to students.” If she’s relaying to you that she’s not having friends, then her going up to a student that’s been observed from across the playground is her trying to make friends and getting no feedback in return.

Vickie:                  Right.

Amanda:             So that is a suspicion of a disability that there is an impairment in her social skills that needs to be addressed through an assessment. That is enough, that is enough for an assessment.

Vickie:                  Right. And then I mean, it’s something along the lines of you are part of the IEP team and you may not be at school and you may get a “Oh no, we do see her.” And it’s just like, “Okay, well I need data. So why don’t you start collecting data?”

Amanda:             Right. That’s what an assessment is for.

Vickie:                  You know, and that’s what an assessment can provide. Now, it could be written in several different ways, but it’s one of those things … And then you can agree to it because it, “Oh okay. That makes sense. I want the Aide that’s out there to do a record of the data for the next three days and then we can review and see because we have all these other assessments or whatnot.” But it’s important for you to see if additional data is needed. Even when, and we kind of touched base on this with the IEP. You know, those baselines, that is your starting point, right? To those goals, so if you don’t even agree with those baselines, you need to say something.

Amanda:             Right, and you need to have them collect data.

Vickie:                  Right, and you need to have them collect data because it’s one of those things where you only know what you know. And the District has everything, we know teachers that have their binders and they’re all organized and they may be doing that to be organized themselves, but they do get sued and they do have to be prepared and when there’s an inherent distrust because for six years you feel like your child has been working on the same goals, because the parent that I went to the IDR yesterday for, that trust is gone. And it’s like we’re needing to rebuild it.

And thankfully she has a fresh start, we’re going into high school. It’s a new team and so we’re starting off strong, but she had to get Counsel for that. You know, they’re shaking in their boots because it’s like, “Oh okay.” And they’re being so nice and crossing their t’s and dotting all their i’s and so for you parents that are advocating on behalf of your children on your own, there’s so many resources out there and we know that our Facebook group is quickly becoming one of them where other parents share their experiences.

And that’s all that Amanda and I have ever said this podcast was about. Plenty of special education attorneys and plenty of reasonable people can disagree. There’s so many ways to approach it. We use a very collaborative approach because we’re not going to be attorneys for a child from three to twenty two. We’d like to [crosstalk 00:31:05]

Amanda:             In some cases maybe, but most of them we shouldn’t.

Vickie:                  No we shouldn’t and so then that’s why we have the podcast, that’s why we have the Facebook group, because you can be experiencing something completely different and Amanda and I have a range of [inaudible 00:31:17] experiences that we’ve had. We’ve had some really great IEP teams and we’ve had some really not so great IEP teams and then everybody else kind of falls in the middle. And so we’re hoping that the consent is just kind of giving you some food for thought and different perspective and the District may be giving you a different perspective of how to consent or why you should you be consenting or why they’re writing things, but that’s why you ask questions. “Hey, why did you send me this prior written notice? I really don’t understand it.” That’s okay to write back. Like, “I don’t understand what you’re saying because I saw A, B and C, and you’re not really even answering A, B and C. You’re just saying no.” And that’s okay. It’s okay to …

You know and we say in writing because you could have that conversation, you could have a great conversation and then it’s kind of done and over, but we hope that that was helpful wrapping up our part two of [crosstalk 00:32:09]

Amanda:             And remember with assessment plans just like we said with IEP’s, we are … California is a consent State, meaning that they cannot start those assessments until they have that consent. Now if you’re in a State that’s a non-consent State, then they propose that assessment plan? If you don’t say, “No, I don’t agree,” then they actually can get started on that. So just make sure you’re diligent with those and the case law differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so don’t … Like I say, we’re in California, we’re in a consent State. Non-consent States have their own Ed codes that apply it a little bit differently. So some may have different rules for assessment plans than they do for IEP, so please check out your local education code if you are not in California.

Vickie:                  And come to our event, September 13th. 5:30, Thursday.

Amanda:             South West has some really, really cheap flights to Orange County, so if you’re not in Southern California and you still want to come. That’s [crosstalk 00:32:54]

Vickie:                  That’s aggressive.

Amanda:             I’m just sayin’ [crosstalk 00:33:00]

Vickie:                  Actually there was like 39 flights, I did see [crosstalk 00:33:04]

Amanda:             If you’re in San Francisco, yeah, they were $39 from Oakland all over California. That was crazy.

Vickie:                  And if not, no worries. I’m sure we will be also social media’ed out that night and obviously we’ll be recording it for your listening pleasure. So hope you guys have a good rest of your day, week, month, year [crosstalk 00:33:24]

Amanda:             It almost is September, oh I guess by the time we [crosstalk 00:33:23] Yeah well it is September.

Vickie:                  So okay. Enjoy and we’ll talk to you later.

Amanda:             Bye.

Vickie:                  Bye.


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