Saturday, January 31, 2009

Planning the Future

For those of you who don't know, I am already starting to think about and plan for school next year. Yes, now. Actually, I'm a little late getting my butt moving.

The season is now officially open, as the subject was actually broached by Joey's teacher, Mrs. Huff. She is starting to look at second grade teachers and settings so that Joey can continue being in the "regular" classrooms for his reading, math, science, and social studies, and possibly move into "regular" setting for writing, too. She was apologetic about wanting to keep him for a couple of hour for language and social skills... I wasn't sorry. I know she's going to have a boatload of new kids next year- as many as eight, plus the four she has now- but perhaps having some group social skills would be a good thing. The bad thing about this possible scenario is I may have to put together a case for him to keep Macy, since she would be needed back in the autism room if there is going to be eight new kids there. There's just no money to hire extra aides.

In broaching the subject about Joey, and how we looked forward to keeping him "mainstreamed" (he loves having so many friends!), we also mentioned Andy. To be frank, Andy isn't going to need "special education." We've worked hard to make it that way. However, his enunciation is still not right. He has sensory issues. He is going to need some eyes on him that know what they are seeing. Otherwise he's going to be labeled a discipline problem, just as he was at our first preschool.

It isn't easy thinking about 504 plans on top of IEPs, but I will definitely keep you posted about the process. I think I may poke around and make sure I'm talking to the right folks first. But this weekend, I'm looking to exactly what a 504 plan is and how is works, and what it would mean for us. It is my understanding that 504s are more difficult to enforce (there's no force of law as there us with IDEA), so do wish us luck.


Sue said...

I am going to have to search '504 plans' becasue we don't have them in Australia. We do have IEP's but we have to call them ILP's now. I wish the authorities would spend as much time, money and effort into making the system work for parents, teachers and students as they do renaming everything with 3 and 4 letter stupid acronyms!

Niksmom said...

Will be eagerly awaiting news of what you find out and what's put in place.

Sue said...

Hi again,
I had a read about '504 Plans' on

It was areally good article. I think that they are a great idea. We are usually a few steps behind the UK and USA in almost anything to do with Special needs other than research. I think our government waits for yours, to develop the protocols and iron out the details before stealing the idea and calling it their own. And of course calling it another stupid 3 or 4 letter acronym. In terms of what the 504 does, we are probably meeting that need through our IEP (ILP) process, but I dare say something like a 504 plan would help teachers and service providers justify expanding budget requests, to give the kids what we would really like to provide for them. At the moment we just do the best we can with what we've got, which isn't much. I guess that's the same problem where ever you live!

mamacate said...

Just FYI, If you currently have an IEP, and your child has a developmental disability (as opposed to a short-term issue that may be resolved) and you have a school district that has budget issues, I would frankly never let the numbers 504 pass my lips, and I would shut down any discussion of 504 plans by staff. A discussion of a 504 means losing your IEP, and that also means losing due process rights.

It doesn't matter if they don't have budget for an aide. They're legally required to find the money. Plus the stimulus package is giving districts an average of $400K next year. Do your research before you start talking 504. It's not a good direction to go in.

Just my $0.02, and sorry to de-lurk with a tale of caution.


Joeymom said...

Thank you folks for the great advice!

Just so nobody panics, we are NOT talking about a 504 for Joey. Joey qualifies for IDEA and an IEP, and because of his severe communication issues, probably always will.

The 504 plan would be for Andy, who does not (as far as we currently know) qualify under IDEA for an IEP. What happens to kids who are stuck in this crack? We're about to find out, and so far, it doesn't look pretty.

Stimey said...

Seriously, you're going to know EVERYTHING about special needs education. Have you considered being a consultant of some sort for parents?