Here is a copy of my letter minus the personal information. This one may have some spacing issues or may not flow as nicely without the personal info in it– something to do with copying and pasting from word to wordpress gave me issues with spacing. The original was flawless, lol– at least in terms of spacing, haha.
This letter is to serve as a parent input statement, a ten day notice, and formal request, and is regarding my son, Liam and the special education services he has received while enrolled in _______________. As you know, my son, Liam, has been medically diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. He has also received a school diagnosis of a high probability of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
After our meetings and correspondence, it has come to my attention that _________________is unable or has failed to provide Liam with FAPE. In order for Liam to receive FAPE, it is imperative that he have one on one intensive instruction provided by the same teacher/therapist daily for a minimum of 25 hours per week with intensive behavioral instruction/therapy. This instruction should happen in a calm, quiet, environment with the least amount of distractions. It is important that the one on one be provided by the same teacher to maintain consistency. I have offered solutions to help the school offer the services Liam requires to provide him FAPE. I have done this both in email and verbally. I have made every attempt to participate in Liam’s IEP process. I was present at the table, have sent emails, had formal and informal meetings, and my participation has not made a significant, meaningful impact on the development of Liam’s IEP.
The district’s evaluations and personnel have agreed that Liam needs one on one instruction in a calm, quiet environment. The district has also agreed that Liam’s behaviors impede his progress, and intensive behavioral interventions are necessary to help Liam achieve academic success. Per our emails and meetings, the team agreed that Liam has severe behavioral issues that affect his ability to learn in the classroom. In the meeting that occurred, August 21, 2013, ___________agreed that Liam did have an intellectual ability to learn, and should not be underestimated, which supports _______________behavioral assessments from Hopewell.
The district’s ETR’s:
The IEP is in contradiction of the district ETR’s and recommendations made by the district personnel who have worked with Liam multiple years. ETR’s and progress reports that Liam’s preschool teacher and his preschool speech therapist provided during his May 15, 2013 IEP/ETR meeting both recommended one on one instruction in a calm, quiet environment with minimal distractions. This is an accurate recommendation. Not only did a teacher and speech therapist that both spent two years working with Liam make the recommendations, but his private speech therapist, and both of his developmental pediatricians made the same recommendation– that Liam needs intensive one on one instruction. The district did not consider any of these recommendations when writing and implementing Liam’s current IEP.
Individualized Education Plan:
An individualized education plan should be very specific. It should state who, when, how, what. It should have measurable goals and data to support it. The problems with the districts IEP and interventions:
- Liam’s IEP is vague, and does not provide detailed or specific information about the services required to provide Liam with FAPE. (He needs have one on one intensive instruction provided by the same teacher/therapist daily for a minimum of 25 hours per week with intensive behavioral instruction/therapy).
- The district failed to address the classroom placement.
- According to the current IEP, Liam would be a student in the MH unit at ________________. It is my understanding that this classroom will have at the minimum of 4 children with multiple handicaps, low cognitive functioning, and multiple special education needs, and that the class size could increase up to 9. This is not intensive one on one instruction. It does not matter if the people in the room are adults or children—too many people in his space make Liam overstimulated which impedes his ability to participate and learn. For example, during the 2012-2013 school year, there were periods of time when the preschool classroom size at _______________dropped to around 8 or 9 children. Liam did not show significant gains during this period, despite smaller class size, a certified special education teacher, and two/three aids in the room. I was told several times by preschool staff that Liam was only able to accomplish task when they worked with him one on one.
- The current placement fails to provide FAPE because Liam needs one on one intensive instruction with the same teacher daily for a minimum of 25 hours per week. The classroom the school is offering does not meet this need.
- The district did not put this in writing, but verbally offered to have staff—the teacher of MH 1 and an aid trained by employees of the school district in ABA strategies. The district only has to implement and comply with what is written in Liam’s IEP. Verbal agreements are not part of his IEP. The behavioral interventions offered are not intensive or adequate.
- “ABA strategies” is a loose term, and does not give specific explanation or provide the intensive, detailed academic program Liam requires.
- The district did not specify credentials of the trainer or when the training would happen in the IEP. Currently, as of August 28, 2013, there are no scheduled trainings, and per Liam’s teacher, _______, no one has discussed ABA with her.
- The current IEP does not include ABA provided by a certified professional in a one on one, calm, quiet environment with the least amount of distractions.
- The district suggested Liam’s ABA would happen in the current classroom. Once again, this is not a calm, quiet, environment with the least amount of distractions, which would impede Liam’s progress with behavioral interventions and his core instruction.
- The district agreed to provide Liam with a one on one aid at the May 15, 2013 IEP Meeting.
- It is August 28, 2013, the second week of school, and an aid has not yet been hired or trained to work with Liam, despite having over three months to do this.
When evaluating his progress report for preschool year 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, it came to my attention that Liam lost skills in some areas from the 2011-2012 school year and the 2012-2013 school year, which would suggest that he requires Extended School Year services or year round education. I have asked about ESY for Liam since the 2011-2012 school year. I was told he did not qualify at that time, and when I asked this year (2013-2014) I was told we would discuss it in the spring.
Liam has made no significant gains using the facility and teaching methods supported by ____________________. That is not a reflection on previous teachers or staff. I believe __________ to be highly competent, and that she takes a genuine interest and care for her students. Having said that, I do not believe the lack of progress is due to Liam’s intelligence or ability to learn. The environment was and continues to be too over stimulating for Liam– the class size was, and continues to be too large, and Liam did not get intensive one on one instruction, despite all of the recommendations from the district supporting one on one instruction.
In addition, I have shared my concerns, my opinions, and the information given to us by our specialists and (Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center) which supports Liam receiving one on one intensive ABA in a calm, quiet environment with the least amount of distractions for a minimum of 25 hours per week. Evaluations from Children have also revealed Liam has the intellectual ability to learn the same information as his five year old peers. Even though the school does not have to give merit to these evaluations and recommendations, as his mother, I am giving merit, not only to district information, but to all information given to us by Liam’s providers.
As you know, I am a special education teacher myself, and am pleased to report that Liam has made excellent progress at home this summer because of the intensive one on one instruction I provided him. One of the major gains is Liam is now potty trained. It was through the use of Applied Behavioral Analysis, one on one intensive behavioral instruction, detailed picture schedules, now and then boards, picture exchange communication that Liam was able to make this wonderful achievement. It is my concern that Liam will not continue to make gains if these interventions are not continued during the school year, and if Liam is not placed in an appropriate learning environment. FAPE is a free and appropriate public education provided to all students. Liam will not receive FAPE or LRE (least restrictive environment) if the current, suggested, IEP is put into place.
The first seven years of life are a critical, developmental time for children, particularly children with Autism. Research suggests that early, intensive interventions are necessary to help individuals with Autism reach their potential. This does not only impact their life at school, but has far reaching implications to the success of the child’s future all the way into adulthood. Applied Behavioral Analysis is the only FDA approved behavioral therapy for those with autism. It is the recommended behavioral intervention because Liam has responded to it. Receiving these services now is crucial for Liam to succeed. Liam is currently five, and still in a critical developmental stage of childhood. These interventions are going to be more effective now while he’s still rapidly developing than to wait until he’s older.
If ____________can not provide Liam with intensive one on one instruction that has been recommended on the ETR’s, if they are not considering the behavioral assessments from __________, or the recommendations of Liam’s doctors, it is my intent to enroll Liam in a private school that is capable of meeting his needs, and providing FAPE. ___________________is the closest school to our residence that offers:
- A behavioral and academic program specific to each individual child’s needs.
- Specific, detailed IEP with measurable goals, and supporting data for interventions.
- One on one intensive instruction in a calm, quiet environment with the least amount of distractions for as many hours per week as each child requires.
- Applied Behavioral Analysis, which Liam has responded wonderfully to over the course of the 2013 summer vacation, and that has been recommended by multiple providers.
- Year round schooling—also known as ESY.
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Music Therapy
___________________is capable of providing Liam with FAPE and LRE. _____________School District is either unable or has failed to provide FAPE and LRE. I will be expecting ____________ School District to pay for these services, and provide transportation to:
As you know, I did not sign the proposed IEP because I do not agree with it. It is my request that you attach this letter to Liam’s proposed, current IEP. I am doing the same with the copy I have at home. As I have always been an active participant in the IEP process, school functions, and Liam’s education, I will continue to do so. I am available for a meeting to discuss this matter, and will make Liam available for any further evaluations he may require.