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I apologize for the lateness of this weeks newsletter. I was lucky enough to be selected for Jury Duty this past week and I was tied up at the Court House all week. Eight hours a day at the court house and the care and feeding of my new baby ( a 3 week old pot belly pig) cut into my internet time. I am a little behind on my email but I will get to it! I promise : ) but if you don't hear from me this weekend, you may want to resend your message. I downloaded almost 1000 messages and sometimes things get lost.
As many of you know, I make every effort to answer all email I receive. Lately, many of the letters I have responded to have been returned to me as undeliverable for various reasons. If you have written to me in the last 4 weeks and have not received a response, please write again and make sure that you have the correct address in the return field of your email program or include it in your letter. Also, if you use a free internet email services such as hotmail, yahoo, etc, you may want to make sure your mail box is empty.
Brandi Contact Us
A new school year is underway and I'd like to encourage everyone to advocate for their child and get those services that will help your child become more successful in school. In this issue you will find valuable information from Phil Stinson Esq from www.specialedlaw.net and Steve Metz, parent advocate and warrior. Also be sure to check out the Internet Special Education Resources Advocacy page for advocacy help in your area at http://www.iser.com/CAadvocacy.html
On another note, many parents do not realize that schools are responsible for providing special education services to your child from birth. Your child does not need to be school age to start receiving services such as speech therapy.
From www.pai-ca.org website:
"The former Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) was amended by PL 99-457 to establish important rights and essential services for young children with disabilities ages birth through 5 years and their families. The name of the Act was later changed to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). P.L. 99-457 added Part C, formerly known as Part H, to IDEA to govern the early intervention program for infants and toddlers, aged birth through 2 years. [20 United States Code (U.S.C.) Secs. 1431 - 1445; 34 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Sec. 303.1 - 303.670;
The purpose of Part C as defined by Congress is:
(1) To enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities and to minimize their potential for delay;
(2) To reduce educational costs by minimizing the need for special education and related services after infants and toddlers with disabilities reach school age;
(3) To minimize the likelihood of institutionalization of individuals with disabilities and maximize the potential for their independent living in our society;
(4) To enhance the capacity of families to meet the special needs of infants and toddlers; and
(5) To enhance the capacity of State and local agencies and service providers to identify, evaluate, and meet the needs of historically underrepresented populations, particularly minority, low-income, inner-city, and rural populations. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1431(a).] In order to accomplish this purpose, the federal government provides financial assistance to the states: "to develop and implement a statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency program of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families." [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1431(b)(1).] "
My son James was able to receive speech therapy through the school district at age 3. This was a big help for me as our medical insurance only allowed for two therapy sessions per month which was not nearly enough for the amount of delay that James was experiencing, but with the addition of the school's sessions, he was able to gain a lot of lost ground before he started kindergarten.
If your child is experiencing behavioral or academic challenges in the school setting, Individual Education Plans can address both issues. If you haven't already started advocating for your child, it's never to late to start. The best advocate your child has is YOU!
How many of us have heard that our children's poor behavior is willful, and it is not the ADD? How many of us have been told that ADD is not a protected disorder under Federal or State laws? How many times do we have to hear that because our ADD children are bright or are passing their subjects they are not entitled to protections under IDEA99. If you have spent enough time listening to the stories that parents have been told on various ADD web sites as I have, you will get to understand two simple facts.
In too many schools, it is either the people teaching our children or the administration of their school that doesn't understand the law or #2:- they know the law but are trying to convince you that your child is not entitled to services. For those parents lucky enough to be granted help for their child, it still does not hurt to read this lesson, as you never know when schools change their minds or become antagonistic towards your child or the disorder.
How many newspaper articles and TV shows have we seen lately, relative to ADD and the medicines used to treat the disorder. Some positive, some negative and some absolutely disgraceful. Too many times, we have to deal with schools that for whatever reasons, chooses to deny your child the help guaranteed under IDEA99. Many times, you must go to the next level-Challenging the professionals (quoting the law and challenging them to prove what they are telling you. That is what this lesson is about. Learning to deal with, the legal side. This requires more than just one lesson so I will break it into two parts. I am also convinced that by first understanding the law, and then using that knowledge, will ultimately help you to get services from an unwilling school.
· The first key issue and the most important one is, just because a teacher or Special Educator tells you about Special Education law or the needed qualifications for state or federally mandated help does not make their statements true or legal. Ask yourself a simple question. How many regular or Special Ed teachers, do you think spend time reading the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act(IDEA99. One percent? - Two percent? None? Then ask yourself the next logical question. If that number is that small, how many educators do you think truly understands IDEA99 and all of its protections and qualifications relative to AD (H) D.
Then ask yourself the next question, If a school administration or school board wants to save some dollars on Special Ed or doesn't believe in ADHD as a viable disorder. Do you think they will allow any of their teachers or child study team members who want to grant help to your child their blessing to get these extra cost services. If the administration does not want your child to get help do you think the Special Education department will go against their wishes?
The truth is, ADD help for many schools is to having to give extra help to children they would rather not grant these services to, because many of these children get into behavioral trouble. How many times have you heard ADD is an excuse for bad behavior? Do you think educators with those thoughts are going to willingly give you child help? The law is on your side but the reality of the help is questionable when many schools have chosen to misinterpret the disorder and the law, or claim it is your child's willful behavior.
Or it could be a host of other distortions about ADD. It is a sad fact, that according to the US Dept. of Education, 50% of all needy children in this country are not receiving Special Education help from their schools. With ADD being a key area of noncompliance by schools across the country.
You, as a parent must first read the relevant laws relative to ADHD in IDEA99. It is downloadable on the web, or you can call your State Dept. of Education to get a copy. Below is the new addendum to the existing law as written relative to ADD-In IDEA99, Under the heading of: · "Other Health Impairment " ( OHI) ", at Sec 300 7(c)(9), has been amended to read
(1) add " attention deficit disorder" (ADD) and " attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to the list of conditions that could render a child eligible under OHI and
(2) clarify that, with respect To children with ADD / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, the phrase "limited strength, vitality, or alertness includes "a child's heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational Environment. Nowhere in the above law does it say, "that results in limited alertness causing the child to fail his/her grades."
Passing grades have nothing to do with your child's right to be classified or provided with protections. It doesn't say, "Except when a teacher thinks the poor behavior is willful in nature as opposed to being caused by the medically diagnosed disorder." This is their own interpretation that has NOTHING to do with the above law. If Congress wanted a child failing all his subjects before granting help, they would have written it in code. It doesn't exist. Never let an educator get away with their personal bias or prejudice or lack of knowledge of the law.
This is the law, and schools cannot misinterpret the above. It is clear, enough for anyone to understand. When any teacher or administrator tells you it is your child's willful behavior, or your child's grades too high, ask that person where it says anything in law that would exclude your child because of passing grades or willful behavior. Those are personal perceptions that have no reality to the above law.
The law is quite easy to understand. If the ADD causes limited strength, vitality, or causes heightened alertness that causes limited alertness to paying attention in class, then that child is entitled to Special Education help. They cannot use willful behavior as their excuse for your child. A diagnosis of AD/HD can only be made by a medical doctor. Not a teacher, or social worker or case manager or even school psychologist etc. They cannot tell you your child is not ADHD. That is out of their legal domain.
That is why a TAPE RECORDER is the Parent weapon of choice. I like to call the tape recorder, the GREAT EQUALIZER. If you ever have to go to a due process hearing, believe me, every educator will know the law to the finest detail and will deny ever telling you any misinformation about the law or the disorder and that they think the world of your child, although he is not deserving of any Special Education help. A tape recorder does not lie.
Imagine, how they will respond when they hear themselves telling you lies about the law. So, If you have any sense that your child's rights are being violated, or you are being told things that are not legal or true, it is imperative that you tape record those telephone conversations, meetings or discussions, (ONLY_ if it is legal in your State) ( PLEASE _Check First).
Any face to face meeting, when Special Ed issues where your child is going to be discussed, keep a tape recorder rolling without them knowing about it. Ask your schools officials specifically about the relevant laws in IDEA99 as it pertains to your child. If being denied help, ask specifically why your child is not qualified. Do not accept a non answer. Keep asking until you get an answer. If they are breaking laws, you will have it on tape. If they tell you your child's behavior is willful, ask what test or specific study, or test that they have done proves that it is willful behavior by your child vs. your medical doctors diagnosed symptoms of your child's qualified disorder.
Ask to see the State or federal level codes about willful behavior (It does not exist). Ask to be shown any law or code that precludes your child from getting help because they are passing grades. Ask them out loud, "if my child is listless on a daily basis, or overly stimulated by school causing distractibility, or constant daydreaming, or outbursts during the day yet retaining enough to pass the grade, does it disallow Special Education help. All the code states is "a heightened awareness causing limited vitality and awareness."
That's the law. Ask them if it is possible that once the work becomes more demanding, your child's natural brightness would then not allow them to function at a passing level, given their daily, constant distractibility. Ask them, out loud, do we have to wait for my child to be failing everything to get help, when the law is clear about early intervention. That tape recording is your guarantee that you will have a permanent record of being told things that are just not true. Remember, check with your state laws before you start taping telephone conversations. You don't want to be also breaking laws. It is bad enough they may be breaking Special Ed Laws. Next lesson- THE TAPE RECORDER and DIARY, AND WHY IT IS THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE and how and when to use them.
Last lesson I started talking about the importance of tape recording all your dealings with your child's school. This lesson will sound quite cynical to those parents that have been able to secure help without any fighting. This part of the lesson to those unfortunate parents that might have to take their child's case into a potential legal fight. I was one of those parents, six years ago.
It is important for me to give you a sense of what happens when you decide to take your case to a due process hearing or to threaten a due process hearing. Which for most of us, is the first time we have ever been to any legal hearing in our lives. It is important to make note here, the realities of what you can expect. All of us have heard of the Blue Wall of Silence by policemen.
That is, whenever the police are accused of doing something wrong, the other police form a wall of silence, and never allow fellow officers to look bad, or get into legal trouble by telling them telling the truth about what they know. They just become blind, deaf and dumb, to any illegal activity that another officer commits. If you listen to police brass, the Blue Wall of Silence does not exist, but the reality is it exists, and it is alive and well and most importantly, it just does not only exist with the police. Our teachers are just as guilty as policeman.
Think of this hypothetical set of circumstances and then ask the following questions of yourself. You are a teacher, and have Johnny in your class. You love his aggressive personality, and he is a favorite of yours. At times Johnny cannot sit still in your class, he talks out of turn, his homework is sometimes late or never turned in at all, but he is a bright, aggressive young child that you think is just a bit hyper.
You actually spoke to Johnny's parents at open school night and were told that Johnny has been diagnosed with ADHD, seeing a psychologist and they are trying to get the school to provide services under some federal law called IDEA. You get a notice to appear before a due process hearing because little Johnny supposedly kicked a teacher, and supposedly hurt the teacher. The school administration wants to expel this child. You like this boy, and his behavior although a bit difficult in your class, is not really a big deal.
You are asked by the schools attorney to testify for the school against this child. They tell you he purposely hurt this teacher, and the administration wants him out of the school. They tell you that they want you to say that he is real bad, disruptive, never stays in his seat, and is generally a real nasty child.
The Principal tells you they are having trouble with Johnny in every class and his parents are a pain in the butt. They do not tell you that Johnny is medically diagnosed as a severe ADHD, and they are not providing Johnny with any services because they think his behavior is really willful in nature, After they tell you what they want you to say, they say to you, "All of this is true, about his behavior in your class, isn't it? If your that teacher do you go against the attorney and Principal and say "He really isn't that bad? I know he is ADD and he should be provided with services, It doesn't sound like the boy I know, and I won't testify.
Or do you bow to the wishes of your boss and the school's attorney. Do you risk alienating the administration when you were told he hurt another teacher? Or do you swallow your honor and justify in your mind that "He really just hurt a teacher so it must be true what they are saying? And then wind up testifying against Johnny. You even find out they even pressed charges of assault against this boy! What will you do? The answer is obvious. You will go along with the story given to you. You don't feel guilt because you can't be sure they are not right.
So you just go along with it, never thinking what will happen to Johnny because of your lies and the administrations story of a kick of a teacher taking place.
Now add to this, one more set of facts. The Special Education Department really screwed up on the Special Education testing of this boy. They didn't follow one code. They didn't follow Federal and State laws, all because they thought the child was just mean and it had nothing to do with his diagnosed ADHD. They tested but decided the poor test results were somehow unimportant or not relevant to this boys behavior.
And when the parents of Johnny realized how badly the Special Education department screwed up, the Administration decided to use this kicking incident to expel Johnny instead of having to admit how badly they screwed up, risking a major lawsuit by the parents. This way the administration looks good before the school board, by getting rid of a troublemaker, instead of looking like guilty educators for not following Special Education Laws.
You may say, this never happens in real life. Well, it does happen all the time. How do I know, my son was that Johnny? My son was charged with a crime. When the Special Educators came to our due process hearing every one of them lied through their teeth. My wife who is a teacher told me she would have done the same thing because your bosses tell you it happened so you then must assume it happened. You protect your fellow workers at the cost of that child.
After six years of advocacy, I have heard the story over and over again, Teachers lying under oath to protect their school officials and fellow educators. That is why you must use all the tools that a parent can when you realize that the school will not be providing any help, in spite of your child's diagnosed and federally recognized disorder.
That's where your tape recorder and diary come in. Every time you have a conversation or meeting or contact with educators, you must keep a permanent record of who you met with, who spoke to you, who called whom, time of day, length of conversation, topics discussed, items decided on, items disagreed with etc. Nothing must be ignored. If it is about your child, keep a record.
If anything was told to you that is illegal, immoral, incorrect, biased, or just wrong, follow up your conversation with a letter, describing what was told to you, by whom, at what time and what date. Who made the original call or called for the meeting. Go into specifics about the discussions. If laws were violated, list them. You want to create a record of behavior and conversations to have at your disposal. If you tape recorded any of these meetings, which you should be doing, if legal in your state, then send a letter describing what was said, and can be verified by this tape recording.
If you have a sense that something you were told to you is illegal. Call that person back and tell them you checked the law and that they were mistaken. Have that on tape (if legal in your state) you telling them about the law and then wait for a reply. Ask them where it is in law that confirms what they told you. These diaries and tape recordings will be your future insurance policies against the kind of treatment that too many of us have been exposed to.
Next-lesson 3 CREATING THE PAPER TRAIL Thanks again for the forum! Best, Your pal and warrior Steve Metz Teacher007@aol.com
Dear readers, This last article I stated that I would like to start taking letters to respond to and this is the letter I have chosen for this month. My hope is that we all can learn and share from doing this.
Hi, I have a three year old son with ADHD, I am working with a Nature Cures for ADHD support group leader with an ADHD son herself and a woman from our local health food store who has a ADHD daughter. I am starting by eliminating dairy from his diet to see if it could by some type of allergy, he is soo addicted to it almost a gallon of milk a day himself plus he loves cheese.
From what I have learned so far it seems that what they crave the most could be what they are the most allergic to. I am also adding more proteins to his diet five times a day, a fatty acid supplement, and a supplement called Tri Active Tops Attention formula recommended by the health food store supposed to help with what his brain needs in order to function better. I would be very interested in what you think of this plan as well as any other suggestions concerning either allergies or nutrition. Thank you, xxxxxxx
When eliminating foods from the diet it is always good to list daily what your child has eaten and the reactions at the end of the day or early the next day. Each individual is different and the time span of reaction is not always the same.
The Feingold diet is a wonderful way to eliminate foods that your child may be allergic to as well as giving you a multiple of recipes for fun foods your child can eat. Their carrot cake is a sure winner by me! To receive a complimentary information. Send a long, self addressed, stamped envelope with your request. The diet book can be purchased at most book stores.
I still recommend highly the E'ola herbal drops combination of Smart Longevity and Amps 2 which work with the neuro transmitters to enhance attention span and decrease hyperactivity. There should be a distributor in your area if not let me know since I am one. My help is not based on purchasing from me.
Another avenue to pursue is having a blood test done to see if your child is deficient in vitamins and minerals. There is hair analysis which tests 35 elements including 14 toxic elements, 16 nutrients elements, and 5 others. For more information send a self addressed envelope with your request to Bionostic, Inc. Lincoln Center, Suite 104, 4513 Lincoln Ave., Lisle , IL 60532. (Or ask your physician if there is a facility locally that provides this service)
I agree that adding a fatty acid supplement is beneficial and the Tri Active Tops Attention formula sounds like many others that are on the right track of adding more vitamins and minerals,etc. What we need to realize is that symptoms displayed (behaviors) are largely caused by deficiencies within the body. The body speaks through the behaviors we display or feel. This is our warning signal to feed our system what it needs and sometimes elimate something we tend to crave.
I would also add a chewable vitamin C in 500 mg to your child's diet which will act as an anti oxidant, help to decrease hyperactivity, boost allergens to fight allergies, and combat illness.Here is a listing from my two books on natural alternatives and one on relationships that is for adults but is written in an Erma Bombeck style that is reader friendly, helpful, hopeful, and written with much discretion should a child chance upon them.
This letter contains information on how you can order information very affordably on a variety of topics such as health , natural alternatives, family, relationships, learning and behavioral disorders, and much more at low prices.
You now don't have to buy the books but only the information that you want you desire for as little as a dollar and no more than five dollars.
For information on titles and subjects available along with cost and how to order, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2000 Brandi Valentine. All rights reserved. This Newsletter is copyrighted by the authors and/or publisher and is registered with the Library of Congress.
ADDed Attractions may be used for non-commercial purposes only and may not be redistributed for commercial purposes without the express written consent of Brandi Valentine.
Appropriate credit should be given to this resource and it's authors if It is reproduced in any form. Brandi Valentine
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