This week, Dar had his triennial IEP, something that happens once every three years to determine Dar’s ongoing eligibility for services.
One aspect was quite unfamiliar from previous IEPs – a psychologist’s report. Basically, I had to fill out a long questionnaire and so did Dar’s teachers. This was the first time we didn’t see eye to eye on Dar’s abilities. Granted, the questionnaire was tricky; you had to label Dar’s skills with a 1, 2, 3, or 4, and in some cases those are very arguable.
Still, the “psychoeducational” report we received a few days before the IEP was baffling to his mother and myself. We were certain it had to have been written about another kid, at least partially. We assume the person switched around (some of) her notes.
So I sent her this email. And to our shock, at the IEP she dug in her heels! But how could it be that Dar has ever said “please” or “thank you” when we know he hasn’t? The whole thing was crazy. I’ll discuss the actual IEP meeting next week (which we recorded, for the first time). Right now I’ll just catch you up on the email I sent to the Special Needs Coordinator at Dar’s school. I’ll remove the names for the sake of discretion.
Dear [redacted],
Thank you so much for letting us see some of the IEP reports in advance. We read them over and have a few concerns.
The Speech & Language/AAC Evaluation says on page 5 of 15 “Dar presents with suspected appropriate hearing and vision. There are no concerns with these areas at this time.”
The OT Assessment Report says on page 4 of 5 “Dar presents with a definite dysfunction in sensory processing, specifically in the areas of hearing and vision, which impact his social participation in the classroom environment.”
These last two items seem to contradict each other. I realize they were written by different therapists. But we need a resolution: does Dar have seeing and hearing problems, or not? Do we need to address these, or not? (That is, beyond the recent vision and hearing tests that we did outside school at our own expense.)
Separately, we found the Psychoeducational Assessment Report confusing in several areas. Please clarify:
Pg. 4 – section on Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, it says:
“Communication = 11 (ss)
Social Interaction = 11 (ss)”
Above that it says “scaled scores (ss) have a mean of 10 (±3)”; should we take this to mean that Dar’s communication and social interaction scores fall within (or slightly above) the mean? Of all children? (We doubt he is being compared here to only impaired children, based on other scores from the same chart.)
Pg. 5 – “According to parent responses, within the home environment, Dar does not engage in unusual behaviors, relates well to adults, does not engage in stereotypical behaviors, tolerates changes in routine well, and reacts appropriately to sensory stimulation, as compared to same age peers.” Please substantiate this sentence. Where have I or Dar’s mother written that Dar does any of this? Please show this data.
Pg. 5, next sentence – “In contrast, teachers ratings indicate that Dar has difficulty in these areas within the school environment. They reported that he frequently becomes fascinated with parts of objects and often spins or bangs objects.” This is the very first we have heard that he does any of the three things in the latter sentence. Please substantiate these. 
Pg. 5, next sentence reports that he “frequently…eats inedible objects.” Why have we not heard about any of these four behaviors (in these two sentences) until now? Please provide data and witness testimony.
This reads like it was written about a different child, and a clerical error brought it to us. 
Pg. 6 – “In the home setting, parent reported that Dar can…pay attention during family discussions for as long as needed, listens closely for at least five minutes when people talk.” Please show data/form. Parent does not recall reporting anything of the kind; furthermore it seems false.
Pg. 6 – “In the home setting, parent reported that, with prompting, Dar controls anger when another person breaks the rules in games and other fun activities.” Please show data. This makes no sense; Dar neither exhibits nor controls anger in such situations; his parents would not have made this statement.
Pg. 6 – “In the school setting, teachers and case manager reported Dar sometimes arrives at school ontime.” We would like this “sometimes” changed to “always.” Dar has literally never been late. By a pre-arrangement that began before his first day at Thousand Oaks (September 2015), Dar attends outside speech therapy every Wednesday morning and has consistently arrived at the exact scheduled time on Wednesdays, 9:10. Please correct this.
Pg. 7 – “In the school setting, teachers and case manager reported Dar…says thank you when given a gift…says when he feels happy/sad/scared/angry…says please when asking for something…” Why is this is the first we have heard of any of these three? Please substantiate with data and witness testimony.
Pg. 7 – “…travels with classmates and teachers to locations more than 50 miles from school (e.g. field trips).” This has never happened; the school has never taken Dar even 30 miles from school. I wouldn’t normally rush to correct what might be a typo, but it reinforces the impression that this report was written about a different child.
Pg. 8 – “…with prompting Dar can sometimes use school restroom alone…covers moth [sic] when sneezing/coughing, and cleans himself off if muddy or dirty.” Last time: why have we not heard about any of these? Please provide data and witness testimony. 
Thus, from page 4 to page 8 of the Psychoeducational Assessment Report, we read 22 metrics that look unfamiliar and strange, ranging from things that we have never seen Dar do to things we know he consistently does. If we were talking about three metrics, or even five, that would be less cause for alarm. 22? What happened here? Why does this child sound nothing like the child that everyone attending his previous IEPs has been talking about?
Thanks very much for your help, [redacted], I really appreciate it.
Daniel Smith-Rowsey