IEP & 504 process - Oakland Public Schools
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IEP & 504 process - Oakland Public Schools
I feel like a sucker... our son has had a 504 since 5th grade. He's now in middle
school, diagnosed with Aspberger;s, and the 504 is just not enough. I've requested an
IEP but OUSD has turned us down. Do I now sue? Everyday is crap shoot with my son -
some days he's the model student, but most days it's a nightmare - he'll refuse/forget
to do work (including tests!), homework is lied about (not done, or if done, not handed
in). argues with the teachers, doesn't listen to instructions. All his teachers
acknowledge that he's very intelligent, capable of more challenging work, clearly
absorbs info ''somehow'' and often scores 90% or above work he decides to do. But he's
never been on the Honor Roll, gets Fs regularly in all subjects for all the things not
done. I've always convinced myself that if I just communicate more with the teachers
and be the ''nice'' parent, things would work out. Ha! High school is looming, and I
hear nothing but awful stories about trying to get IEP during high school... Help!
DDo 2 things: Immediately contact DREDF-The Disability Rights Education and Defense
Fundhttp://dredf.org/ and then get yourself a copy of the Disability Rights Handbook. If you
need a great lawyer for this kind of stuff, we successfully used Miller, Washington and Kim.
OUSD will do their best to give you nothing unless they see you are knowledgeable and
serious. Shouldn't be that way, but it is.
Contact Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund -- dredf.org and speak to a parent
advocate. The difference between a 504 and an IEP is the first provides accommodations, the
second means the school needs to provide services -- that's why they are fighting with you
about this. However if your son needs more support with advocacy you can get him what he
needs. The DREDF parent training and information number is: 800-348-4232
Your child has a disability and he is entitled to receive a FAPE (free appropriate public
education), under the IDEA and Section 504, either through an IEP or Section 504. If you've
requested an IEP for your child and the school refuses, you should be given a reason. You
can always file for due process, but it's costly. I recommend that you call the U.S.
Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in San Francisco, which enforces
federal laws prohibiting disability discrimination. OCR has someone answering calls from
the public during regular business hours, and you can get some advice and/or referral.
I could really use some recommendations and guidance with finding an
appropriate middle school for a child with many challenges. This child
is behind academically, and has an IEP. He is struggling particularly
in math and writing, however, his biggest challenges are behavioral. He
is very disruptive in class and has an extremely difficult time keeping
focused and completing tasks. He has been assessed and an IEP has been
developed, but he will be switching to a middle school next year,
likely within OUSD. I would love to hear other parents' opinions and
experiences with middle schools in OUSD. What school/s do you think
can best assist a child with these needs? What environment? Teachers?
Class size? etc.
We're at Claremont and our child has a 504, so similar issues.
It's been okay, but mostly thanks to his house teachers. They've been
really on board and communicative and accommodating. Literally, from the
first day of school we've had feedback and understanding.
The OUSD psychologist is, well, overstretched (also works at Oakland
Tech) and there are a LOT of kids with serious issues (not only at
Claremont but all OUSD middle schools). She does what she can.
You do have to be on top of things, be the advocate, establish
communication, work as a team. All the things I assume you're doing
Middle school is a difficult transition for all, as I'm sure you've been
told and know yourself, but for kids like ours - it is indeed more so.
Claremont's other plus is that it is smaller, and some class sizes have
been unusually SMALL this year (nice for those lucky kids!)That's going
to change, I'm told. But all the OUSD schools face the same budget issues
and hit and miss on teachers, staff, etc.
No school will be perfect, but keep working with the teachers directly.
They have tough jobs, but if you prove that you are on their side and
want to work with them as best you can, you'll have a better experience.
Anyone out there who has gone through an IEP with Oakland? Our
child really needs help with stimming and other social skills
(he is probably high functioning autism/asperger's - and will
be starting Kindergarten in the fall), but they are saying they
don't do this sort of thing, but this will interrupt his and
classmates' ability to learn. He received these services in
another state last year. Anyone have luck getting this type of
therapy through the district?
Would also love to talk to someone who could help us with the
IEP language and goals. Any suggestions for novice or
professionals on this front would be great.
Call the OUSD Diagnostic Center at 879-3070 and request an
evaluation. Mention your concerns about stimming, socialization,
I am sorry you are already getting the run around from the OUSD and your
not even started Kindergarten.
Perhaps the District is telling you this since your child is not yet
enrolled. Not sure.
However, you can request that your child be assessed by the school
district by a
psychologists and an Occupational Therapist. The psychologist could
child with Aspergers if warranted since you suspect it and an OT can
Another alternative is to have your child assessed privately or through
Center of the East Bay (510) 383-1200. You can also check out their
Based on what you said, an occupational therapist sounds like what you
therapist can address the stimming issues and provide you with strategies
help curb the stimming or at least reduce it so that your child can learn.
therapist would write goals for and consult with the classroom teacher.
There are many pediatric OT's in the area. Also, you can pick up this
book at Nolo
Press in Berkeley, A Parents Guide to an IEP.
Hi my Asperger son has been in the OUSD system since age 3.5 yrs so I have
familiarity with the system. It sounds like you want to send your child
to your local
school in a general ed Kindergarten (with support) which should be
possible. Is this
what you want? What has the district offered as a placement?
I ended up sending my son to an integrated Kindergarten at Tilden
then to the inclusion program at Carl B Munck (where he is currently in
The thing is that Munck is our neighborhood school anyway. I think it is
considered a valid position to want your child to attend your local school
district would prefer to group kids at schools so there is more support
available. I suspect you will get many responses to your post.
I've cut this message to the bone to make the 2000 char limit.
OUSD relevant website resources (not much) are at
Brief summary of the process:
1. You request an assessment, through the assessment team at
Programs for Exceptional Children - call 879.3070 to ask for a
2. The assessment intake person will do a phone screening with
you to hear what's going on.
3. Assuming that they agree there are issues - and it does help
to have a referral from a doctor, a preschool teacher, or
someone else - they will schedule a meeting with you for more
detail to figure out what kind of testing to do. You have to
sign to test permission form in order for them to do anything.
4. They test your child in the areas agreed.
5. They set up an IEP meeting to review the test results with
you. Based on the results, they will recommend a school
placement and course of action. It may be your local school
with support, or it may be a specialized placement depending on
what they think your child needs to be able to learn the
Confusing? Sure. Horrible? No. Once you learn the process, it's
no worse than open enrollment when you want to change health
Please come to the Oakland CAC meetings. The Community Advisory
Council is the Oakland Unified's special ed parent group. There
you will have direct access to staff, including the Director,
from the special ed dept. You will also meet many parents from
the district who have become proficient in advocating for their
It's held the 1st Monday of every month at 314 E 10th St. from
7 to 9pm. You can also join the CAC mailing list by emailing
OUSD is required to assess your child within 60 days of a
written request. It looks like you have an excellent case for
an OT assessment for possible sensory integration issues that
will impact your child's ability to learn based on his
stimming. If Oakland does not honor your request for an
assessment it becomes a due process issue. For more
information, you can contact parent advocacy groups like the
Community Advisory Council (firstname.lastname@example.org) which meets
with the director of spec. ed. the first Monday of every month,
DREDF(www.dredf.org) or the Family Resource Network
(http://www.frnoakland.org). Good luck!
We have been through the IEP process with the OUSD--it's an
uphill battle. Please don't give up, document everything, follow
up phone conversations with e-mails (so you have it in writing).
I can't speak to your specific issues, but for the IEP process
here are two great resources: (book) ''Nolo's IEP Guide: Learning
Disabilities'', and (online) www.pai-ca.org--look for their
''Special Education Rights and Responsibilities (SERR)'' manual. If
your child qualifies for an IEP or a 504 plan, the kinds of
services provided should match the needs of the child. Good luck!
We just met with the representatives from the Oakland school district
to get the results of my 11 year old daughter's IEP testing. We were
told that she does not qualify for services, although her test scores
range from 3% to 55% with most below 25%. They don't see the "point
spread" that would qualify her for services as a learning disabled
student. They offered to do assessment to qualify her for services as a
Severely Emotionally Disturbed child, which would qualify her for
counseling as well as educational support. They said it was an
educational diagnosis, not a psychological one. Understandably, we do
not want to go this route, because it is not true in her case and we do
not want her to be stigmatized this way. She does have social
problems with other kids because she does not read social cues, which
we feel is part of her nonverbal learning disability, and she does get
frustrated and angry when dealing with homework, but she is not
severely emotionally disturbed. Her teacher, who also attended the
meeting, afterward said to us, "This is bull...." She is in a private
school now, which is really hurting us financially, but to receive any
services from the district, she would have to transfer to a public
middle school. With all the learning and social problems she has, I am
very dubious about her ability to adjust and cope in a large, public
school. We are in the process of deciding on our response and course of
action. We have an appointment with CASE, an advocacy organization for
special ed., we are contacting the psychologist who led her social
skills group, and the tutor she has been working with for the last two
months. Does anyone have any other ideas or successful strategies they
have used with the school district?
There is a company called "The Regional Center of the East Bay" located
in Oakland on Hegenberger Rd. This center is devoted to helping people
who have disabilities ranging from ADHD to extreme behavior disorders or
physically challenging disabilities. Call them and tell them of your
daughter's diagnosis and see if she qualifies to have a case worker
assigned to her from their company. They have a trememdous amount of
resources available and are even able to pay for services (if you
qualify). They work in tandem with the school district and your case
worker should then be able to coordinate services for your child.
As I'm sure you have already noticed, you must do a great deal of
advocating for your child. The services are available but you must seek
them out even when you are dealing with someone who is supposedly
providing the service to you. You can e-mail me personally if you have
further questions, I work at a center for people with disabilities and
can hopefully help you find some shortcuts in the system.
Mike and Linda
In response to the parents who were having difficulty securing
services for their child, please contact the Learning Disabilities
Association, located in San Leandro, California. They can most
likely hook you up with the support you might be seeking. In
addition, you might want to ask them about how to join their
organization and can visit their website as well at
i have a son in berkeley unified who recieves special ed assistance.
he is learning disabled, but has another (very real) diagnosis as
well, and we've been able to get him what he needs because of that
other diagnosis. it's an absolute disgrace that parents so often
have to fight for what is rightfully theirs, but at times we do.
CASE is a great resourse. another might be dr. brad berman. he's
been very helpful to our son as far as treatment, as he's been a
tremendous support to me as i've worked my way through the various
challenges that present themselves to me. he's a
developmental/behavioral pediatrician, previously associated with
children's hospital, currently in private practice in walnut creek -
925-279-3480. he attended our kindergarten iep and was impressive as
hell. not a guy most school personnel want to take on. hope he can
The Regional Center of the East Bay was recommended for assistance
with obtaining special education services, but regional centers only
serve people with developmental disabilities, such as mental
retardation, cerebral palsy, and autism. (A system of private
nonprofit regional centers serves the whole state of California, in
case anyone outsisde the East Bay is interested.)
I recommend contacting a special education lawyer. There are several
in the area, because they are so badly needed. One of the best is
Sarah Clarke, who has an office in San Francisco.
Do not allow your daughter to be put in the SED program (severely
emotionally disturbed). I had a grandson who we put into that
program simply because we thought it would give him better assistance
as the classes are very small and since he had come from a group home
prior to living with us they could use that to get him to qualify
even though they said he was not SED. Once labeled SED it is on
their record for all the rest of school. They are sent to special
schools which cost the district $120.00 per day and they do nothing
but simply baby sit these students who are SED and can't make it in
regular classes. We did home schooling with him in which they
reviewed the work and gave him his grades. They did nothing. Our
grandson also does not get social cues - his problem is from auto-ped
brain injury accident. Did your therapist/counselor seem to have any
success in the area of teaching them any social cues. If so would
you please let me know specifically who it is so I might contact
them. I realize that a private school is very expensive in some
cases. We subsequently put our grandson in a private school which
has full day classes as well as a home school program which they
supervise etc. The full day school runs around $350.00 per month I
believe, and the home school (where they go two days a week) is about
half of that. They each work at their own speed and the classroom
setting is very quiet which really seemed to help. The teachers are
very caring to children with special problems.
Thank you to all who responded to my request for advice on Special Ed
and the SED label. We have been following up on all the leads, but
are still stymied. CASE has told us we do not have a case with the
school district based on learning disabilities, Although her
deficits are significant, they do not meet the state standard for
services. According to CASE, our only avenue for services would be a
504 plan, which I am sure would not provide her enough assistance to
cope in a public middle school. We meet next week with the district
about the SED qualification, which we still do not want, nor does it
seem to come with appropriate services. Most schools now have the
learning specialists go into the class rooms, but because of her ADHD
she is very distractible and needs to be in a quieter setting,
especially when acquiring new information. Only one middle school in
our area of Oakland has the pull out classes she needs, and that is
Edna Brewer. We are very leery of sending her there, but wanted to
know if anyone has any information about the school. We will
probably have to keep her in the private school she currently attends
and borrow against our retirement to get her the counseling and
supplemental tutoring she requires. One person mentioned sending a
grandchild to a private day school that also has a home school
component. I would be very interested in knowing which school that
is and where it is.
This is for the person who said CASE advised her that her daughter
would not qualify for special ed. Although CASE does great things for
many parents with special ed issues with school districts, in my
personal experience I have found them to be quite conservative and
unnecessarily pesimistic. They told me I did not have a chance of
winning a dispute with my school district, but I went ahead with a
due process hearing and won everything I asked for. I think that two
organizations that take a more assertive approach are Parents Helping
Parents (the San Jose office) and Protection and Advocacy, Inc. in
Oakland (PAI generally only helps developmentally delayed clients,
but they have *great* literature that anyone can buy about special ed
rights). So don't give up yet- contact these two organizations. You
also might try Family Resource Network at Bananas in Oakland.
Finally, you can get *a lot* under section 504. I recently attended a
seminar put on by the San Jose Parents Helping Parents on section 504
(I forget the speaker's name), but he told us all kinds of things you
can get under that statute. He has a website and answers questions
from parents. Call them to get his name. Good luck.
The private school which also has a home schooling program is Calvary
Christian Center, 4892 San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante, Calif.,
510-222-1700. Each child works at their own speed. Each subject has
workbooks which are at the appropriate level for the student (which
has been determined by testing). If the child is behind their grade
level in any subject they are given the workbooks which go back and
fill in any gaps they might have and bring them up to appropriate
grade level. The classes are small and QUIET which many students
need in order to concentrate and do their best. My other grandson
is attending this year as a full time student (he was a home
schooling student at first) and he lives in Vallejo and commutes as
do many of the other students. He was near failing at the middle
school in Vallejo but since he has transferred to this school is
making A's and B's and just loves the school. His sister is
insisting that she be allowed to go there next year as she does not
want to go to the middle school in Vallejo. We have seen this
grandchild's self-esteem boosted back up since he is so happy in
For the person requesting special education. This is a very difficult
thing to get. Our youngest son is autistic and we had to have a
hearing to get him special education. We used a lawyer named
Katherine Doble (sp?) who is famous for working with special
education cases and we got what we wanted, but it was very difficult
and when our other son was diagnosed with a learning disability we
just created a program ourselves and paid for it ourselves. It is tax
deductible. It sounds like the advice you got is probably right, but
you might want to check with Katherine because she has a very good
sense of what it is possible to get from the district so that you
don't waste your time. I am sorry that I can't be more optimistic.
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