Can the school system refuse to acknowledge a professional's diagnosis of mental problems in a child?
I know of a child who the neuroligist has said has Torretts syndrome, he has been tested by mental health and they say he has a mild form of retardation. However, the school system refuses to acknowledge this. They feel that they have done their own testing and it does not show the same results, so therefore are doing nothing. Is this right? They even told my friend that they do not have to cooperate with or go by what the health professionals say. Please respond, I need to know an answer
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for there to be disagreement between a school district's findings and the findings of an independent mental or physical health evaluator outside of the school. To a certain extent, the school district personnel are correct. They do not have to cooperate with the findings of the independent evaluation, but your friend does have options.
Per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the school district is required to provide your friend with information about next steps if she does not agree with the findings of the school district. If they have not provided this information, your friend should ask for it, and they will pass it along. Although these steps should be a last resort, your friend can file for mediation (your friend and school personnel sit down with an impartial third person), due process (your friend and school personnel present evidence before an impartial third person), or your friend can file a complaint with the State Education Agency (SEA).
My child also has tourettes along with other co-morbities( add, dyslexia, dysgraphia) and the school wanted to drag their feet and deny many services. You have a right to disagree with the IEP and to request a new one at any time. I had to do this and requested that my neurologist be present for the IEP along with my childs general practicioner. I also requested that any personell involved with my childs evaluation be present. this made the scheduling dificult but all team players were present and accounted for and all stated that they were acting on behalf of the best interest of the child. different types of testing were discussed and each person was requested to state on record there area of expertese and list educational and medical doctorates ,degrees and qualifications. My team happend to be slightly (lol) more qualified than the schools and they agreed to all services 2days later. Hope all turns out for your child with tourettes. also there is a tourettes website that gives information about dealing with education and IEP'S good luck.
This happened to my son 5 years ago. Since age 2 he has been in counseling, his elementary school told me to have him undergo formal testing by a state certified psychologist, then a formal diagnoses by a child/adolescent phsyciatrist M.D. He had a multi diagnoses. He was in therapy with another psychologist that specialized in his diagnoses along with his pediatrician who sat on the mental health board for the state. Upon his qualifying meeting for an IEP the school social worker and teachers agreed he needed support. The school psychologist, however, did not agree with the diagnoses. We used protection and advocacy and the local advocacy group but the school psychologist had the final say. Your friend might have better luck.
It went to gov.ed and file a complaint, it is very easy, make sure you follow through though, I dropped the ball and got tired of advocating and focused on my sons needs. We spent 3 years battling with this school they found loop holes with everything, filed two more times with gov.ed, followed through but never heard back. We moved out of that district to solve the problem. Our son and our family paid a terrible price and now he is in inpatient care.
I recommend your friend educate herself about disabilities and rights, go to NICHCY for information and find local advocacy groups have them help, make sure school receive everything in writing, all doctors letters have them give the mother a copy and not just send one to the school (my son's school lost their copies). Your friend will have to advocate that is how IDEA works, nothing changes unless the parents insist on the change but there is support and have the advocate present every school meeting. You can file on the child's behalf with gov.ed just find the link. Good luck to your friend and especially the child.
To be fair, you must realize that each state has federal and state guidelines that dictate eligibility criteria for special education services. School districts do not always adhere to the same guidelines established in the private practice world. This is in part due because schools have the responsibility of serving ALL children (compulsary education) by state and federal mandate, regardless of ability level (physical, emotional, and cognitive). Educators have to look at a broader range of average than do private practioners. In the private practice world, average IQ ranges from 90-110, whereas education has to look at a wider range of "average", with scores of 85-115 considered to fall within the average range. Essentially, if schools used the same criteria as private practice, there could be a justification to include almost every single child in special education services for something, therefore making that the norm, not special education anymore. School districts have to reserve their resources for students who are considered to be significantly below their peers as far as performance in the actually daily activities on standardized testing. Basically, a student can still be struggling but not enough to qualify based upon the criteria established by the state and federal government. School psychologists use the same (or comparible and comparible) testing instruments as private practicing psychologists and have recieved a significant amount of training in use and interpretation of these instruments. Although SOME professionals in private practice are more highly trained, degree wise (having a doctoral level degree), that does not always mean they have had any more tests and measures training than a school psychologist, so lets compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges here. Essentially testing can be impacted by too many factors to say that a "private practice team" is any more reliable than an "educational team". Test results often are affected by lack of rapport building, effort by the child, external factors (fire alarms, kids changing classes in the halls, other distractions), interest level of the child, anxiety, exposure to previously learned concepts, and too many other things to name. Test results can also be skewed because of the child's comfort level with the evaluator. I am defending the school for their decision based on personal experience as a school psychologist and member of the eligibility team. I know the way our hands are tied due to eligibility criteria for placement in special education programs. It breaks my heart everytime I have to explain to a parent why a student who is struggling is ineligible for services. However, I do acknowledge that some eligibility teams probably do not make the best decisions and do not always consider all the pieces of the puzzle in determining eligibility. Eligibility here in Georgia has gone from a definite numerical basis to a more personalized and professional judgement model, which I think has helped substantially. And one last thing: the school psychologist should NEVER be the sole determinant of eligibility, as this is a team decision. If this is the case, as a parent, remind them that the decision is a team decision, and you can always find a special education advocate if you are still disatisfied with the school decision. This may or may not help, but sometimes having an extra person on your child's side doesn't hurt.