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504 ?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by samheis, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. samheis

    samheis Approved members

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    We finally ran into one of 'those' teachers. Third grade math. Sam is struggling in the class, it's about an hour and a half long. Her biggest complaint is that he gets up once during her class time almost every day to go to the rest room every day. She has also made insinuations to myself AND my son that diabetes isn't that difficult to manage (Sam came home telling me that his teacher told him her sister has diabetes and went on to tell him all the things she could do, that she didn't seem to need to pee that often, etc :confused:). He's failing her class-admittedly, third grade can be a hard transition for some kids. She told me if he was an 'A' student, she would have no problem with him going to the bathroom. I told her that's an unfortunate attitude to have about a disease he can't control. She then called my husband and suggested we get a 504 so she can try to get him into special ed:mad:. As she's talking to him, she pauses and says 'Oh, I see he has diabetes, that could make it easier to get one.

    So I did call to have a 504 put into place, not to get him into special ed, but so that she would not be able to continue to punish him for 'missing class time' (she refuses to let him bring assignments home if he doesn't have time to finish-this includes when he's had to leave for the nurse). The counselor calls me......and says, oh yes, mrs. M and I have been talking, we're not sure he'll qualify for a 504, yada, yada. I say, well, he has a qualifying disease, and I want it in place so Sam will have accommodations for missing class time, and for the upcoming State Tests in the spring. She then tells me they had a meeting about Sam last spring (I was never told about it), that they had some concerns. Now I wonder, if they are that worried, why I wasn't called, why his grades last year didn't reflect this, and why it's almost Christmas and nothing is being done!!
    So they send home a form, asking all kinds of personal questions to determine if he's eligible for tier 1 interventions...

    I'm trying very, very hard not to make a big deal about this. I see my faults in this, and I'm not one to throw blame at teachers because my son is failing.

    BUT this teacher is getting under my skin, and now I feel like the staff is purposely leaving me in the dark.

    Honestly, I don't even have a question, I just needed to blow off some steam about this. But if you have a different perspective, please share it with me. I had no idea putting a 504 in place would be this difficult, or drawn out.
     
  2. samheis

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    diabetes.org

    another member just sent me to this website, it has a whole section on rights in the school. you can find it under 'living with diabetes.' i am printing a sample 504 right now :) sorry you're daughter is struggling too.
     
  3. samheis

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    I just saw that your haley was diagnosed the same month and year as sam. It's been a log road hasn't it. Let me know how the rest of the year goes for her. We'll get our kids taken care of. :cwds:
     
  4. CAGrandma

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    This is totally ridiculous. A child with diabetes is, by definition, eligible for a 504. There is information on this site, on the American Diabetes Assoc. site, on the Americans with Disabilities site, etc. Sample forms, etc. The purpose of the 504 is to insure that the child has his/her special needs met by the school - and the school is legally obligated to follow the 504 or they lose all their federal funding. That is a really big threat!

    In general the 504 includes both medical and logistics requirements - ie. when and where BG tests are done and who oversees them, what to do if BG is low or high, what to do if BG is out of range and a test is scheduled, the right to have access to water and bathroom at all times without penalty, etc. And the really interesting thing is that the parent is pretty much the one who decides. The school can argue, but there is too much precedent for them to win the argument. Once you request a 504 meeting you start a legal process that obligates the school to certain things (doesn't obligate you to anything, just the school). Like they have to respond within 48 hrs, MUST have a meeting with you present, etc. And do be sure to do your homework as to what YOU want on the 504 before the meeting and learn how to say "I understand what you are suggesting, but that isn't what we need" cause you may need to repeat it a few dozen times.
     
  5. thebestnest5

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  6. MommaKat

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    Let me preface this with the fact that I am incredibly sleep deprived, so my filter is off kilter, but your son's teacher is a butt. Sorry - couldn't help it. Tier 1 interventions are whole class / small group, and individual interventions designed to help teachers differentiate content for all learners. They can include adjustments she makes to how she presents materials, engages your son, or works to make content more meaningful in smaller chunks or with learning tools such as providing manipulatives during math, enhanced scaffolding, purposeful partnering, graphic organizers, etc. No child needs to qualify for tier 1 interventions - it's up to the teacher to identify a need early, implement tier 1 interventions, document and assess their effectiveness, and adjust her teaching to increase support and foster success. It should be seamless so your son or any other child does not feel singled out or treated differently.

    Somewhere, I have an article I wrote on age appropriate bathroom habits and drinking needs of children in elementary school. I wrote it while I was still in nursing and submitted it to three local school districts because it was clear that children simply weren't being allowed to use the restroom when needed. If I can find it, I'll attach it later.

    I'm really sorry you're dealing with this. There are so many things in your post that suggest your son's school is mishandling this situation. It's not too late in the year to request a switch if you feel she is penalizing him for his condition. While it's definitely a very last resort, and one that needs to be carefully considered and weighed, I have had students transfer to my room right around Thanksgiving and it turned what started out as a horrendous and nonproductive year for these students into a huge positive. I also had a student moved out of my room last year due to the way he and another student reacted to one another (both bullies, sadly). I worked hard to make sure he understood that every adult in our school cared for him and wanted a fresh start so that he could have a positive learning and social experience. If you were to go down that road, it would be imperative that your son's current teacher do the same.

    While it's a last resort, the nature of things his teacher has said to you, your dh, and your son sound extremely disconcerting and border on value judgments that you're likely not going to be able to change. Whatever the reasoning behind her actions / reactions, if it appears she has deep seated beliefs about diabetes, your son's care needs as she perceives them, etc. you can always remind the school that your son is entitled to a safe and supportive learning environment, which he clearly cannot receive in her room given her personal bias and beliefs. Schools pay careful attention to the notion that parents feel their child is not receiving access to a safe and supportive environment as it's covered under multiple federal laws and been the basis of numerous law suits won or settled in favor of the parents.

    Again, I'm sleep deprived and felt a strong reaction to your description of this teacher. I don't mean to suggest you start out contentious - but you have plenty of ammunition to fight for changes should you need them. Best of luck with this.
     
  7. samheis

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    Thanks Kirsten for pointing all that out. I don't feel so crazy! I'm in a teacher training program right now, special education, and literally thought I had misunderstood the last year and a half of my courses based on the information I'm getting from Sam's school this year.

    I'm going to get all my ducks in a row and insist on a one to one meeting with the counselor (otherwise, I know this math teacher will wiggle her way into the meeting as she has with meetings I've requested with Sam's other teacher.)

    I don't want to go in guns blazing, but thank you guys for leading me to the right advocacy info so I can go into these meetings better informed of Sam's rights.
     
  8. hdm42

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    JDRF also has some sample 504 plans you can check out.

    In our 504, I specifically stated that he could not be penalized for work or class time missed due to his medical needs. This applies to leaving class for bathroom breaks, water, testing, going to the nurse, doctor's appts, etc.

    This teacher sounds like she is on a power trip. She was way out of line telling your son about her sister and making it sound like he is failing in D care or somehow at fault. I like your response to her comment about "if he were an A student", though.

    Get the 504 in place, and keep a written record of all the things that are happening.

    Good luck :cwds:
     
  9. MomofSweetOne

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    This situation is a HARD one. Kids can and do use the bathroom a lot for a multitude of reasons...diabetes!, boredom, a chance to be out of a hard chair (especially with sensory needs), a need to move to refocus, a way to escape a difficult subject. The problem is determining WHY he is needing to go so often. It may or may not be diabetes related. And if he is using the diabetes to use it out of boredom or whatever, then that needs to be addressed. (And try to imagine a classroom where 22 or 31 students are all using the bathroom every hour. It would be hard for the most focussed child to focus. That is why teachers try to limit unnecessary bathroom breaks.)

    I wouldn't be concerned that the school met once without contacting you. When I was teaching, we had weekly meetings after school where the teachers talked about the students in their classes for a variety of reasons with the whole team - speech, OT, PT, psychologist. It was a first step in problem-solving, hoping more brains could come up with solutions, to help the students have success. Nothing could be done toward moving a child into "special ed" without the parents' consent. Individualized help with learning disabilities are classified special ed, as is giftedness. Don't let your mind jump to small, lower-level classes. There are many levels of intervention.

    He is entitled to a 504 plan for accommodating medical issues. An IEP is much harder to get and focuses on school-related educational issues.
     
  10. Jake'sMama

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    What we have found is that the school is *extremely* resistant to having a 504 because it is a legal document giving you as a parent power. If the school doesn't follow it, they can lose funding.

    **Get a 504 ASAP!**

    My experience is that it will only get worse. Our principal has tried everything from "we don't give insulin at school" (bold faced lie) to "a 504 is not required because diabetes doesn't affect your son's grades" (he's an A/B student but an out of range BG compromises his thinking abilities)

    Do not let them blame you and your kid for the issues at school. You all need to work as a team. These kids require adult support.

    The special ed comment was just a low blow, again placing blame on your child for issues in the school. A 504 is basically a medical IEP but until you get the conditions surrounding diabetes consistent, I wouldn't worry too much about learning disability. If you want an evaluation to be sure, go ahead. Sounds like his teacher is the one who is learning disabled!!

    The 504 needs to include things such as:
    unlimited access to the bathroom and water
    opportunity to retake tests/redo work if BG is out of range

    We just revamped our 504 this year, so PM me if you want more info. I had a meeting with both of his teachers, the principal, RN and counselor. I insisted that items be added to the 504 and not just the individual health plan the school prefers (not legally binding).

    Last year the staff dropped the ball during standardized testing - I saw it coming and let it happen and it was the best power move I've made. They did not test his BG at his usual time AND moved his lunch AND let them run around in the gym if they completed the test early. The health aid called ME to find out where Jake was for his BG check. I instructed her to go find him with meter and juice box in hand. His BG was ok, but that could've been disastrous. They messed up big time and I emailed principal, teacher and the student services director. I was in a position to sue, but we aren't the suing type. This major mess up gave me A LOT of leverage this year.

    BATHROOM: I went as far as getting a Dr's note for unlimited access to bathroom one year. Now they don't have an issue with it and I send a note if his BG is high or he has ketones reminding them he will have a water bottle and use the restroom more frequently. It's ridiculous to think a kid who has to pee can concentrate!!
     
  11. denise3099

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    No No No No No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is NOT how it should go down at all. This is what you do. Go on CWD where they have the different 504 samples for the different grades. YOU create your OWN 504 for YOUR son and show up to the meeting with it. Explain calmly that, "As diabetes is a qualifying desease and as my son has diabetes, he automatically qualifies for a 504 per federal law. I have taken the liberty of creating a 504 that I feel meets my son's needs. Basically it affirms my son's right to unlimited access to testing and treating, as well as water, food, and bathroom breaks. It also protects his right against being penalized for any class times missed for D care. Thirdly, it allows him extra time to finish assignments missed for D care, even if he has to take the work home." Repeat as neccesary.

    In fact, make it up and send as an attachment via email where you state the exact above. Stick to your guns. He doesn't need special education and you are not asking for services. You are asking for a document to ensure that his rights are protected. Good luck.
     
  12. SuzanneE

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    Additional Resources

    I'm truly sorry you have to deal with this school problem, Anita. Managing a child?s diabetes is hard enough!

    Posters have been spot on with their advice (and their ire!). Here are a few other resources that may be particularly useful to you in Texas:

    The State of Texas passed legislation specific to the care of students with diabetes in school. See: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/diabetes/dcschool.shtm

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education?s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Call Vicki Johnson at the regional office in Dallas for assistance (214-661-9600). If your school continues to drop the ball, the first step you need to take is to file a complaint with OCR. It?s a fairly straightforward process and you do not need a lawyer to file a complaint with this office.

    Keep us posted!
     

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