For many years I have been working on getting my children accommodations, and for many years, I have been told no. Because I did not understand the laws and was homeschooling (through public charters), I did not pursue it; I wish I had.
I am NOT an expert. This is based on my experience and research. If you have issues with the school, I highly recommend consulting a special education attorney or advocate. I am in the process of becoming an advocate, but I am not currently.
Both of my sons are Profoundly Gifted and get good grades in school; however, they can do more. I know it sounds weird to say that my kids are getting good grades, but something is wrong. I did seek out doctors for my youngest, and many of my concerns for him were confirmed. Once I got a full evaluation, I learned that my children were struggling and needed assistance from the school. Yes, even with their excellent grades, they had disabilities that impacted them at school.
The schools denied my children an I.E.P. and a 504 due to good grades. Yes, the schools seem to believe that if children get good grades, they do not have to provide an I.E.P. or 504 plans. They were WRONG!! They were also denied due to good behavior. My children are well behaved in school due to their need not to be seen as trouble makers, and they are quiet kids. They also based their decision on how my kids performed when on medication and input provided by teachers.
My children's doctors' notes were not the deciding factor. I had many doctor's notes, and they still denied them. I ended up getting another evaluation and read up on laws. I then went back to the school and, in writing, asked for a full I.E.P. evaluation and provided a copy of the one I had requested from a private doctor.
I will share parts of my letter. I cannot share the full document due to my children's privacy.
First Child Letter
Recently XXX was denied a 504 plan even with a doctor's note and
parents' letter stating he has XXX and XXX. Denial was based on grades
and teacher input. Teachers do not have enough information on XXXX to
know that he has xxx and xxx. Per IDEA, I am requesting an I.E.P. evaluation and a re-evaluation of his denial of a 504 plan.
Sec. 300.101 (c) (1) of the IDEA clearly states: "…FAPE is available
to any individual child with a disability who needs special education
and related services, even though the child has not failed or been
retained in a course or grade, and is advancing from grade to grade."
Sec. 300.302 Screening for instructional purposes is not
evaluation .The screening of a student by a teacher or specialist to determine
appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation
shall not be considered to be an evaluation for eligibility for special
education and related services.
Children who are both gifted and challenged can be tough to
understand. Gifted kids can use their strengths to compensate for the
special need, and in the process, mask their learning problems. Or the
special needs can mask the giftedness. In some cases, neither the
disability nor the giftedness is recognized.
I have attached a list of accommodations to assist XXX, medical records, academic achievement, and letters from institutions that work with exceptional students.
I highly encourage the school to contact his doctors and the Davidson Institute for the Gifted and Talented. Their information will be in the attached in this letter.
As XXX continues with XXXX, our requests for accommodations may change. Currently, we are asking for the following:
1. Preferential seating within the classroom
2. Written instructions
3. Testing conditions –
• Allow extra time on tests.
• Allow him to test in a quiet area with fewer distractions.
Letter for 2nd son (a significant amount is missing from this letter due to medical issues. I listed all issues and doctors notes in the letter I sent to the school)
XXXX's has xxx and xxx which extremely limit the following major life activities: breathing, learning, concentrating, and thinking. XXXX is currently on daily medication for his xxx and xxx that mitigate his symptoms.
Under 504, "when determining if a person has a disability, a school cannot consider the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures when determining how the impairment impacts the major life activities under consideration." 42 U.S.C. § 12102(4)(E)(i)
Mitigating measures include xxx and xxx. The fact that the school staff does not see XXX experience any negative impacts is due to medication he is taking to control his xxx and xxx. The school must consider XXX disability without considering how an xxx and xxx medication affects him in his major life activities such as breathing, learning, concentrating, and thinking. His xxx severely limits major life activities in and out of school.
ACCOMMODATION REQUEST BASED ON DISABILITIES.
1. School-based occupational therapy
2. Allow for absences and make-up work without penalty
3. Allow extended time on tests
4. Provide written notes, directions, and outlines
5. Teachers provide a copy of the homework assignment to avoid writing in a journal or allow XXX to take a picture of the work on his phone
6. Allow extra time to complete schoolwork and homework (written assignments)
7. Allow weekly time to clean out desk and school bag (in school)
8. Allow for a binder that contains color-coded tabs
9. Remind XXX to turn assignments in
10. Allow XXX to prepare to leave class 3 minutes early, so he has time to pack properly and gather materials
11. Turn in the planner at the end of the day to the teacher to ensure he has all assignments in his planner
12. Allow a few minutes at the beginning of the day for XXX to transition into the school day
13. Additional transitional periods when the routine is disrupted
14. Provide 5-10 minutes for XXX to prepare his school supplies or for him to sit quietly before the school day begins
15. Provide preferential seating near the door, near the front of the room, or the teacher's desk
16. Preferential seating for large assemblies near the back of the room
17. Allow for tests to be taken in a separate quiet environment to reduce performance pressure and distractions.
18. Provide a limited number of "cool down" passes, with which XXX can take a break from the classroom. Ex: walk down the hallway, get water, stand outside of the classroom, practice relaxation techniques.
19. Allow alternative to exercise if needed
I also provided all medical documents, letters from doctors, doctors input on what accommodations they need, and the previous denial.
After full I.E.P. evaluation was completed by the school, and all medical documents were sent, the school found additional disabilities and approved all accommodations. They were both given a 504 plan.
I will list all sites and laws that I used HERE. Please allow some time for me to post the sites and laws. I am currently taking classes to become an Special Education Advocate and helping my kids schooling during COVID (remote school).