What to do when school says ‘we don’t do that here’ {when you’ve asked for something on the IEP}

What to do when a school says we don't do that here asked for something on the IEP woman with her hand up in a stop position
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What to do when a school says ‘we don’t do that here’ {when you’ve asked for something on the IEP}

I got two inquiries recently that are very similar. Both parents asked for something on their child’s IEP and both were told, “We don’t do that here.” It happens often, actually. Can a school say that? Can they deny a service based on “we don’t offer that here?”

Short answer, no.

So what should you do when the school says “We don’t do that here”?

What to do when a school says 'we don't do that here' {when you've asked for something on the IEP}
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“We don’t do that here.”

Here is the first inquiry:
Vo-Tech is not allowing my daughter’s para to assist in Cosmetology. The para had Cosmo herself. The IEP states the para can help w/ academics and mobility. Is this a reasonable accommodation-for the para to show my daughter how to do a pin curl. Exactly what the instructor would do, but is not available at that moment. Also, separate location for recovery from asthma attack or seizure-denied! Separate location for testing or assignments-denied. They stated in the IEP meeting they don’t do that.

And the second:
Hi my daughter is 5 and this is her first year in a mainstream kindergarten class. She is suppose to have support for her severe articulation speech delay but they haven’t started it yet. she has been acting out in class and I am not going to have a conference with the teacher. When i asked for when her speech will start they told me she will only get 10-15 min 3x a week which is the max offered. This is also the social worker not a speech pathologist offering services. I just want to help my daughter since she has been made fun of by the other children for not being understood.

 

What to do when a school says ‘we don’t do that here’ {when you’ve asked for something on the IEP}

Both parents have asked for something and both have been told no. One school says that they do not do that. The other said it is because her daughter is already at the maximum amount offered. (I will also address the issue of a social worker doing speech pathology services, but I will email mom privately about that. Just know that yes, I did see that part of the question!)

IEPs are needs based and needs-driven. So, as is the advice I often give, please double-check your child’s IEP and latest re-evaluation report and the Present Levels section of the IEP. Is their every need identified? If not, you need to go back and request more evaluations or ask that it be added.


Rock your IEP Meetings!
Now, assuming all of their areas of need have been identified, the team is required to draft goals and strategies and accommodations that allow for the child to make meaningful progress. Ask yourself, will they make meaningful progress without this specific item or strategy? Why do they need this specific strategy and is that documented?

They are denying the child FAPE if they do not provide it. There’s no such thing as “we don’t do that here.” That may, in fact, be a factual statement for the school district. At this point in time, they are not offering that strategy or service to any child in your district.

Who cares? I in IEP-individual. If the child needs it and it’s appropriate, you do it. So keep arguing your case, and take further actions if needed.

When my son was in the 0-3 program, I felt he needed more OT. I felt that what he was receiving was not enough to address both his sensory needs and his fine motor needs. I was told that one hour a week “is the model we use here” and “your child is already receiving more services than any other child in the county.” Those were the reasons I was given about why he could not have added OT time. Both are just wrong. His needs are great and it was completely appropriate to add more OT time. So he got it. Don’t give up, keep fighting, disagreeing with IEP as presented and use your Procedural Safeguards.

Bottom line is, if it’s appropriate and the child needs it, you do it. If the school cannot offer that service then they either need to hire someone or you talk about changing placements to where the service can be offered. For example, they don’t have a Braille teacher and child needs Braille instruction.

3 simple steps of the IEP process

The IEP process in a nutshell:

  • determine needs (evaluations)
  • draw up goals, strategies, and services to meet those needs and reach goals
  • determine placement based on where the strategies and services can best be implemented in LRE

In this case, it seems that the child can stay in their current placement and still have their needs met.

On a positive note, I have seen some districts and staff do some really crazy (in a good way!) and out of the box thinking when it comes to accommodating a child. Those people are rare, from my experience. Our special ed system is in crisis and we are in what I call the “culture of no.” Districts just say no over and over and over to wear you down, hope that you go away.

Don’t go away. Keep fighting and keep advocating.

I will quickly address the social worker giving speech therapy. It’s just wrong and I would write a letter immediately demanding services. If you need to, you file professional conduct complaints about the social worker practicing outside of the scope of her license. File an OCR complaint about them denying her FAPE.

If you need more specific tips, join our Facebook group. Good luck and keep us posted.

What to do when a school says we don't do that here asked for something on the IEP woman with her hand up in a stop position
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