Monday, March 26, 2007

Fighting for a 504

It dawns on me that I haven't heard anything about Joseph's 504 plan in nearly three weeks.

(Not since signing and sending back the consent for evaluation and medical release forms.)

So I call his teacher.

"Sandra, I heard something just this morning," she tells me. "There was a meeting with the principal today. Now I wasn't there, but I was told that Joseph's name came up toward the end. Seems that folks agreed that his Health Management Plan was enough-- that a 504 wasn't necessary."

"What?" I choke. "But that's not enough. Not by a long shot- "

"Now, hold on," she continues, "I told the school psychologist that I disagree. That Joseph will have no protection going into state testing-- and with more testing in middle school, he's really going to need this.

"Sandra, push for it. If you have to raise the roof, then do it-- and I promise I'll back you one hundred percent. "

(Have I told you all lately how much I love Joseph's teacher?)

So I'm sending an email to the psychologist this morning, putting in a call to the principal, and reviewing everything I can find on 504 plans.

And trying not to go ballistic.

Yet.

If anyone out there has suggestions, has been through this process and met resistance, I would very much appreciate any and all advice.


10 comments:

Shannon said...

I would have a meeting directly with the people who are resistant to a 504 Plan. Find out what their concerns are and then work on addressing those concerns before you make a plan.

They obviously aren't educated enough to know that a 504 Plan is necessary BY LAW!! You need to educate them.

I find it ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGEOUS that these people are so unwilling to go the full distance with Joseph's care.

I know you won't back down from any of them. I'm so sorry that you have to go through this exhausting process. It shouldn't be this hard....damn them for making it so.

mel said...

Do you have the school nurse on your side?

The place I work goes into schools with parents and meets with the necessary people to set up 504 plans on occasion. I think since we've been in the area so long doing this, we meet very little resistance, so I tried to think of what makes it work and I think it's just our influence in the area. However, educating them like Shannon suggested is good. I would look on the cwd and ada websites and get the info they need to see the importance and necessity of the 504 plan. Let them know why it's more convenient for them--helps to spell out his care, makes it easier on his teach and nurse, will help to ensure another well performing student in your principal's school... People are so self serving, that might just be enough.

Another thing our parents seem to do with or without our help is to write their own 504 based on sample letters (available at ada's site). I don't know if this is your approach, but could make it less intimidating to them, because they literally would have less work to do.

Whatever you do, don't give up. Good luck.

Keith said...

Hey, sometimes ballistic works. Also, it might help to enlist the services of a professional advocate. I have a friend who had great success with their son's IEP, but only after using an advocate.

Good luck.

David Edelman said...

Sandra, a member of our forum, Jennifer Broussard, is going through similar hell trying to get a 504 for her son. You can read about her not-very-inspiring experiences here and here.

It my take a while, but you have intensity and the law on your side. Push hard. If you need help, late-night creepy phone calls for a decision-maker, etc., please let me know know!

Penny said...

Sandra,

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all this. As if just dealing with his D isn't hard enough.

Riley will be attending a private shcool, so by law, they don't have to have a 504. But, our first endo's CDE said she went to private schools to educate the staff when needed. Have you checked with Joseph's endo and CDE to see if maybe they'll handle this and save you the headache. Just a thought.

Carey said...

It is just unbelievable. What are they thinking! I hope this is resolved soon.

Anonymous said...

Yes, our school tried to palm off a "Health Plan" instead of a 504, but I had already researched it, came in armed with books and packets (Call Crystal Johnson of the ADA), ADA packets, letters downloaded regarding Glucagon administration recommendations under New York State law, etc. I started the meeting in a very confrontational manner and they were concilatory. However, they still breached our 504 Plan agreement when they were without a school nurse for the first five months of this year and her teacher this year refused to comply by giving her make-up work when absent. We called an emergency meeting re: the teacher and she sent in an aide, did not show up. So you can still have problems sometimes. May still have to fight. Fortunately for you, both political parties are mindful of the coming elections, even at this early date. Call your local members of the House -- local members are pretty accessible. Walk into their office and have a nice chat. Or call them on the phone. Be prepared with specifics re the noncompliant school district , etc. Good luck.

Scott said...

I grew up before there was any such thing as a 504 plan, and survived without any trauma. The key is to meet with his teacher(s) to address important issues they need to be aware of, as they will be spending the most time with him. I agree with the other posters that it might be helpful to meet with the people who are most resistant to the plan - you might find that its not the teachers, but the administrators who don't want to be bothered with any other paperwork or obligations!

Molly said...

Sandra,
I'm a special ed. teacher in a metro area school dsitrict. I'm not part of our 504 team, but have experience with kids that have them and parents that request them. Here's my advice from a school perspective:
1. Contact Joseph's teacher and ask HER to set up a meeting with the school 504 committee ASAP. You shouldn't have to contact anyone except his teacher...it's her job to contact the committee and pass on that a parent has requested to meet.
2. Elementary school teachers are usually so accommodating and do what's needed. Acknowledge that they're doing the right things (if they are) and just request that it be more formal to ensure that he gets the most from his education. (in a 504 plan)
3. Make a list of why Joseph needs a 504 plan.
Ideas: he needs to have the opportunity to have material retaught if he is low/high and he misses content during a class;

he needs to have access to other kid's notes if he is high/low and doesn't get the information;

he needs to take breaks (every hour, half hour, etc) during all state and local tests that impact his education to test and treat as needed;

he needs a designated child/children/adult to walk him to the nurse's office if he is low;

He may need homework extensions if he has a really "low or high night" and isn't able to complete the homework at home;

He needs access to bathroom and water fountain whenever he asks;

These are just some ideas...I think when you are clear about all the needs one with diabetes can have at different times, it's helpful for school staff. Especially if Joseph is very independent and they don't realize how much diabetes can/will/has affected his day in school.

Just my thoughts.... Feel free to email me if I can help. (mollyek@msn.com)

Good luck!

Molly

Jennifer said...

Hello Sandra....
My name is Jennifer and I have an 8 year old son who is diabetic. I am also having difficulty with the school on getting my son on a 504 plan. I have yet another meeting with them this Friday to discuss things once again. They are doing everything wrong for his care and I will push until I know for sure he is taken care of while in their care. Just wanted to let you know you are not alone in this and as I always say.....it's not over until I say it is!!!!