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Haley23 Haley23 is online now
 
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Qualifying kids with attendance issues
Old 10-17-2017, 05:12 PM
 
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I am curious to see what other people would do with this situation. I'm assuming this is the same everywhere- "lack of instruction" is a disqualifier for identifying LD in my state. There are no specific rules or regulations as to what specifically qualifies as "lack of instruction." My team even went to a state level training and asked about this once, and the only answer we were given was to "talk to our teams; it's a team decision."

The student is in 3rd grade and new to our school this year. He's very low, lower than my identified students. The classroom teacher couldn't believe that he didn't have an IEP, so she contacted the previous teacher at the other school. The teacher said that he was concerned also, but was not able to pursue the IEP process because the child was absent more than he was at school. He missed several days per week and when he was "tardy," he was really coming in about 4 hours late. I'm working on getting specific numbers/attendance records from the previous school.

We had a grade level "problem solving" meeting today and the teachers were all very insistent that he should be referred for an evaluation because his attendance is good this year (staying with a different parent) and he's getting tons of intervention. We've done one intervention cycle.

At your school, how long would he have to have good attendance for to "make up" for the really poor attendance prior to this? What steps do you take to rule out "lack of instruction?" I feel like is WAY too soon, but I have no idea what the "right" amount of time to wait is. My old P would have backed me up. Unfortunately, I don't think new P will. I'm toying with the idea of asking my sped director, but wanted to see what others thought first.


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testing with poor attendance
Old 10-17-2017, 06:40 PM
 
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I'm with you. I think it's way too soon to assess right now. He missed over half a year of second grade alone. I assume it would be similar for K and 1st too.

I can't give you a "right" amount of time before assessment would make sense, but looking at his cumulative absences would be helpful. How can you say he has a learning disability if he's missed so much school?

Also, how did he respond to his intervention? He's only had one cycle. I doubt that would be enough based on how much he's missed.
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:10 PM
 
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His progress monitoring data doesn't look good. But they're progress monitoring him on oral reading fluency passages (DIBELS), and he's learning to read CVC words. The DIBELS passages aren't decodable and there are generally only a couple of CVC words (if any) in each passage. So really, that's not good data to show if he's responding to the instruction. We only need 6 data points of progress monitoring to qualify, so there is a lot of pressure to refer after one intervention cycle.
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Old 10-18-2017, 06:23 AM
 
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We disqualify based on attendance, not only for the current year, but previous years as well. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, kids at this age aren't responsible for getting themselves to school. On the other hand, regardless of the reason, if they aren't at school, they can't receive the instruction. And, if they can't receive the instruction we have no way of knowing if they're low due to lack of instruction or a Sped issue.

Also, it depends HOW much school they've missed. Is it a significant amount of time like OP or have they been at school 98% of the time (as someone else on here posted)? I think missing once a month is not significant and shouldn't affect qualification. However, I have a student who misses 2-3 times per week, every week and has since kindergarten (I teach 3rd). Do i truly believe he has some issues going on? Absolutely! Will he ever qualify for services? Nope.
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Old 10-19-2017, 07:43 PM
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:13 AM
 
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Personally, I'd test him ASAP. He is already a few years behind educationally and he isn't going to magically make that missed time up even if his attendance does improve this year. He is going to continue to remain behind his peers educationally and it's only going to get worse as he he gets older. Get him the IEP intervention that he needs now so that he has some hope of success as he gets older.


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testing with poor attendance
Old 10-20-2017, 12:52 PM
 
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Quote:
He is already a few years behind educationally and he isn't going to magically make that missed time up even if his attendance does improve this year.
I agree that he isn't going to make up for that missed time and I feel for him because I know he will struggle. However, special education is for kids with disabilities. Having poor attendance is not a disability. He is in general education interventions right now and if those aren't truly working, then testing would make sense. As a school psych, if I were given a request for this assessment at this point in time, I'd refuse it.
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absolutely!
Old 10-20-2017, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
I agree that he isn't going to make up for that missed time and I feel for him because I know he will struggle. However, special education is for kids with disabilities. Having poor attendance is not a disability.

Word for word what eeza said! I am always surprised when counselors/SAT (student assistance team) members, etc. don't understand this. Special Education isn't simply another 'tier' intervention.

I am also surprised when people out there (not speaking of anyone on this thread!) think that Special Ed. teachers/services are 'magical' and can solve these issues! If administrators cared enough, they'd call parents in and discuss how important good attendance is from the very beginning. Maybe some do this, but ours does not...and then wants title/lap and then spec ed to 'fix' the situation after years have gone by!

This issue hits home right now, as we have a meeting scheduled soon about a kid with these issues. I have no doubt he needs LOTS of help, but we really can't sort out whether or not he has a disability at this time because he is a new 3rd grader who did not attend ANY school until 1st grade and then missed over 50% of 1st. At that time, parents did not feel it was important enough and the child did not want to go, so they didn't make him. Don't ask me what the school was doing to try and get him there. SO, he's had one full year of formal schooling. During that year (last year) he was also trying to figure out the culture of school, rules, routine, etc. AND he is trilingual!! Not sure if parents are literate in any language. He wasn't getting any ELL support as he wasn't in school, so not fluent in English. Oh yeah, in addition, his vision wasn't checked, so he went years without the glasses he needed. He finally got glasses last year, but never wears them .

And, we'll be the BAD guys at the meeting who cannot fix the problem.

It's really a tough situation, but not one the special ed. team can fix.
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Old 10-20-2017, 02:18 PM
 
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I am also surprised when people out there (not speaking of anyone on this thread!) think that Special Ed. teachers/services are 'magical' and can solve these issues!
EVERYONE at my school thinks like this! I understand there are schools out there where the only way to get "real" interventions is through sped, and I'm not speaking about those schools. At my school, we have more intervention teachers than sped teachers, and the intervention teachers only have to teach reading. The great majority of the time, kids are getting both a smaller group and more time with an interventionist than they would get with me, and the groups are also better grouped by skill needs (I tend to have wildly different ability levels in the same group). We're also not allowed to modify for anyone, so that's not a factor, and anyone can get accommodations without a formal plan, even for state testing. We don't have "special tier 3" programs like Wilson or anything like that (not that I have small enough groups and enough time with kids to do stuff like that, even if I had the materials.) Yet teachers are absolutely desperate to get kids onto IEPs.

I actually brought that up for this kid...he's already getting more intervention than sped can give him, in a smaller group. For the 100th time I explained that I'm not doing some "magic" strategy that is not happening in the intervention room. The intervention teacher looked at me and said, "Oh, don't play down your skills! You do have special knowledge!" My response was that if I had this special knowledge that could "fix" everyone, I'd write a book and get out of here! The other teachers all said things about "getting him the services he needs." This is the number one most frustrating aspect of the job for me.

Anyway, off that soapbox...I got the records and he had 39 absences last year and 47 tardies. Other years are similar. The MTSS meeting is next week. I'm already dreading it.

Last edited by Haley23; 10-21-2017 at 01:03 PM..
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Old 10-20-2017, 05:35 PM
 
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Hailey, your last post says everything I feel but am too exhausted to articulate. I feel that I am a skilled special Ed teacher, but don't have any "mojo magic" and even tell teachers so. I think teachers want their students to have IEP'S because it relieves some of the overwhelming stress they feel to meet standards. I agree that often tier 2 interventions are more intense because they have fewer kids and a more focused range of skills. I have 10 5th grade students at the same time with reading levels that range from K--4th! I do my best with that each and every day!
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