Does a Life Threatening Food Allergy affect \"learning\"?

Posted on: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 12:34am
anonymous's picture
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I believe if a child cannot attend school due to conditions that affect his safety (therefore [i]prohibiting[/i] him from attending) we must [i]assume[/i] learning is affected and therefore rule that possibility out, or address the need.

Posted on: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 1:37am
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I was considering this question the other day.
My son is pretty secure within himself and definitely reacts appropriately (meaning he proceeds with caution when PB is in the mix).
Our classrooms aren't pn free and there are no solid rules about what can be brought in for snacks, although parents are asked to refrain from sending allergens to the classroom.
I think for my child, he becomes distracted when allergens are present. Becomes more interested in verifying that the table that a child was sent to when eating an allergen was washed and the child washed up afterward. At this point, they do not stop class for the snack. They eat as the teacher is teaching.
I think that when all the "extra" food is brought in that he isn't a part of, that puts him in a different place emotionally.
So, yes, the fa IMHO does affect learning, for my child anyway.
I noticed that he was agitated sometimes after school. He is normally not aggressive or hateful. Seems that I could almost know from his behavior days that food was part of the mix.
I am going to include this in part of my 504 eligiblity meeting.

Posted on: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 6:28am
Lori Jo's picture
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My understanding is that the FA does not need to affect learning to be considered for a 504. It just has to affect a "major life activity". Personal safety is a major life activity. Eating lunch and snacks is a major life activity.
Being in an environment that is not safe would affect the child's ability to learn, either from fear or if they are too young to really "get it", from actual reactions. Hard to learn if you're swelled up like the dough-boy and riding on an ambulance.
(Not trying to be insensitive there, just a bit of irony.)
------------------
Lori Jo,
Rose, 7-31-02, PA
Noah, 7-29-05
Beatrice & Georgia, 8-14-99

Posted on: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 7:43am
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if my son was in the middle of anaphylaxis, yes, I would say his ability to learn is GREATLY effected!!! Just like a person with diabetes, can they *learn* during an episode, NO they can not. So if my son is surrounded by peanut butter in the classroom, thus triggering constant(or even daily, monthly, what-have-you) anaphylaxis...then yes his ability to learn is greatly effected. JMHO!
------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 1/2(beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig, hamster & asthma)
Jake-6 1/2(peanut, all tree nuts, seeds(all-sesame, sunflower, poppy, pine nut) beef, chicken, eggs, coconut(also avoiding legumes), trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-4 (peanut, tree nuts, milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig, hamster, grass, mold, dust mite and EE)
Savannah-1 1/2 (milk, beef and egg, dog(avoiding peanuts, tree nuts, strawberries, seeds, legumes and corn)

Posted on: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 8:09am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Absolutely.
But I also think that it is [i]crucial[/i]to distinguish between an externally-based 'standards-based-assessment' of academic progress and one which is a thorough evaluation of the child in question.
Related to saknjmom's post-- the [i]teacher[/i] may think her DS is just a little 'antsy' on those days and doesn't retain much, right? But her perspective is that he's probably not learning [i]as well as he COULD[/i] because of how his disability is impacting his learning environment. Right?
This is why kids that are particularly bright or adaptable can get bit (hard) by the notion of 'effect on learning.' Because if they are still performing 'adequately' the school can look at that as being 'just fine.' [i]See? DC's learning isn't impacted at all. Look at these standardized test scores.[/i]
That's using the wrong yardstick. The correct yardstick, in this instance, is the one which asks what the child's 'normal' learning ability would be, if [i]the disability were NOT at issue.[/i] You wouldn't look at a particularly bright child with a hearing impairment and say "Well, he's reading right on grade level and seems fine, so I think that the lip-reading alone must be working out," when his parents are telling you that he'd be able to do a whole lot better with an ASL interpreter since he doesn't lip-read very well.
Just because someone on crutches [i]can[/i] navigate stairs doesn't mean that their mobility isn't 'impaired.' Even if they can do it as quickly as [i]some[/i] able-bodied others can. KWIM?
There's a darned fine reason why this is called [i]"Handicapping" when you apply the same principles to horseracing and golf!!![/i]
Now, I know that the law is murky regarding the right to 'met potential' here.... I know that. But there is NO WAY that a child who is fearful and ever-vigilant for their own safety is experiencing the same sort of learning environment as their peers, even if they remain reaction-free.
[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited August 16, 2007).]

Posted on: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 9:09am
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[b]Now, I know that the law is murky regarding the right to 'met potential' here.... I know that. But there is NO WAY that a child who is fearful and ever-vigilant for their own safety is experiencing the same sort of learning environment as their peers, even if they remain reaction-free.[/b]
Because I'm seeing a correlation in my own mind about something, and I'd like clarity CM.... would something like the effects of LTFA's on learning be able to be assessed if there was a request for the district to do a psychological observation of a LTFA child during a class party (where it was possible that the exclusion of the child might take place, the introduction of unsafe food products might take place, and the child might exhibet the effects of such action during and after the party)?
Would it be, or rather should it be, part and parcel of our approach to request that the district add their psychologist to the team of "Knowledgeable Individuals"?
I know my son has had anxiety over his FA's in school. I know it affected him. We worked through it.... but now I'm wondering...... apart and aside from whether it is IDEA or 504... if we were short-sighted. Should we have gotten the district psychologist on board, or our own, to address what was going on as a manifestation of the issues occurring in the school, which could/should have been solved by the school, had we held them responsible?
BTW, I get the lead here .... again... trying to connect the dots between qualification for IDEA/IEP and LTFA's right?

Posted on: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 11:01am
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These topics are very interesting to me right now. Last spring we were trying to qualify my pa DS for and IEP for speech delay, specific learning disability AND for OHI (allergies and asthma). My son did get an IEP for his speech delay, fell just short of the requirement for specific learning disability, and I was told that the doctor would have to verify that his learning is affected by his allergies/asthma. Since the doctor does not know if his allergies are affecting his learning and was not willing to "go to bat" for me, the school told me that he does not meet the requirements.
I am not finished nor have I given up on it, yet. I was burnt out last spring. Enought IEP and allergy meetings to turn anyone into a zombie. I feel like I have a renewed sense of energy to get his allergy/asthma added as OHI.
I will certainly follow this thread closly and pull up the old threads on topic.

Posted on: Fri, 08/17/2007 - 2:18pm
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When we got our IEP we showed not only the obvious "while in ana, or on drugs" we showed her learning was affected by the psychological side of PA. The isolation (lunchroom...), attitude of teachers (either hostile or just scared to have a kid with an EPI), play on their ability to learn and the teachers ability to teach. I got the idea reading about kids with MFA who develope eating disorders and social disorders. We also showed she could not participate in all activities due to her 'condition' and that affected learning. It helped (if that is the right word) that she missed multiple days from reactions. So far I think it has helped our case to have the IEP.

Posted on: Fri, 08/17/2007 - 2:50pm
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Quote:
Because I'm seeing a correlation in my own mind about something, and I'd like clarity CM.... would something like the effects of LTFA's on learning be able to be assessed if there was a request for the district to do a psychological observation of a LTFA child during a class party (where it was possible that the exclusion of the child might take place, the introduction of unsafe food products might take place, and the child might exhibet the effects of such action during and after the party)?
Would it be, or rather should it be, part and parcel of our approach to request that the district add their psychologist to the team of "Knowledgeable Individuals"?
Hmmmm. Yes, I see what you mean. I think that a careful observation [i]should[/i] be able to discern such effects. I know I've seen it in my child.
Just the same, I'd be [i]extremely cautious[/i] in opening up that particular can of worms with the SD. YK? Particularly if I'm dealing with a district's own hired gun. Let's not give my child any dysfunctionality she doesn't already have..... Her wariness about food isn't some kind of anxiety disorder, after all. She [i]has[/i] to eat, and food can kill her. Duh.
But I've run across a number of therapists who didn't seem to understand this point.
And if they don't-- honestly? I'm not sure [i]what[/i] they would see. Or be looking for.
Me, I look for ways that my child's 'affect' is flattened or that she seems withdrawn. That's because I [i]know her well.[/i] I can see it as behavioral cues, with observation alone. But I know her normal behavior much better than a casual observer, even a trained one.
Might be worth discussing with a therapist with experience in peds and families, though-- find out whether that is possible from someone who doesn't know your child well.
I could be wrong, but I think this is a reason why IEP evaluation teams often have a person with a psych background on them. Isn't it usually part and parcel of such evaluations? It isn't for 504, of course. But for OHI?

Posted on: Fri, 08/17/2007 - 3:38pm
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Yep, this is a much riskier card to play, IMO. Obviously, there are a few folks (MB, PM) who have successfully obtained an IEP using OHI designation.
Keeping the issue of a child needing an IEP for non-food allergic reasons to the side (that has been discussed in other threads), and without debating the merits of making the IEP w/OHI request on its own, my observations are:
1) I frequent a couple of food allergy communities. I can count on one hand the # of folks who have shared that they have successfully obtained an IEP under OHI for food allergies. In gvmom's thread on safe treats, I pointed out that 504's for food allergies are relatively novel idea in the history of the educational system, although they are being seen/requested with increased frequency in the last few years. I am of the belief that the consideration for use of IEP under OHI for food allergies is even more novel (perhaps bleeding edge).
2) Consequently, the small number of cases, administrative rulings, and OCR involvement reside in the 504 arena. I am not aware of any cases, rulings, OCR letters which explicitly discuss food allergies under IEP w/OHI.
So, from a purely pragmatic point of view, I continue to believe that for most, the path of least resistance is going to be going the 504 route. In this manner, the question of learning being affected can be side-stepped; one can make a direct linkage pretty easily between documented anaphylaxis and affecting the major life systems of breathing and caring for oneself. However, this does need to be examined case-by-case. If the specifics of the situation (e.g. need for IEP due to other needs, signals from the school that they are more inclined to want to go in the IEP direction, etc.), then one might want to consider the IEP option in favor of the 504 route. Other threads have discussed using IEP for some disabilities, and 504 for the food allergy component - I won't repeat the discussion here.
Regardless of 504 vs. IEP, I do recall that some parents (Gail W comes to mind) have indicated that a staff psychologist has been a member of their 504 team, and it has often been helpful to their cause...

Posted on: Fri, 08/17/2007 - 4:21pm
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We used our own psychologist--someone we felt we could trust. We did this for a couple of reasons
1) We wanted someone who was familure with food disorders.
2) If it is our information, we control it. I am not afraid of the truth--I am afraid of their 'perspective.'
I also feel this question is at the heart of 504 vs IEP. If the school only needs to make accomidations then 504. If learning is affected then IEP.
I have been trying to figure out ways to keep PA from affecting learning. Keep the stress away from DD, give her more opportunities... Any ideas?

Posted on: Fri, 08/17/2007 - 9:46pm
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BTW, a complete non-sequiter. On my son's 504 forms the principal did put that learning was affected.
Sorry, just was thinking about this thread for a random moment...... and the title of it.

Posted on: Fri, 08/17/2007 - 11:43pm
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Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b] I could be wrong, but I think this is a reason why IEP evaluation teams often have a person with a psych background on them. Isn't it usually part and parcel of such evaluations? It isn't for 504, of course. But for OHI? [/b]
A school psy[b]chologist[/b]? Every health care nursing assessment form I've worked with so far in *my* background includes a "psychosocial" section. I truly believe our children's needs extend into that realm. It almost feels negligent to overlook it. I feel that since my child also has a school psychologist *and* a social worker accountable for monitoring his needs in those fields, he is privileged. It's not a big bad scary thing. I think it's been instrumental in keeping the school district on the same page as us in managing his LTFA.
(Oh, and BTW, one of the [b]CASE MANAGERS[/b] who are assigned to each child with an IEP also monitor it's progress. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] Last year, the social worker and the CASE MANAGER ran a lot of interference on behalf of my child (and myself, I might add) in relation to his LTFA and [i]The Cupcake Queens[/i], PTO, Hot lunch moms, and other associated various fundraisers. They actually sounded out of breath many times....
My fax was smokin'. We've reached a new level of understanding. It's when the "food free" celebrations started appearing. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img]
Thanks for helping me dig out that point. When people ask me *why* I like my IEP, I tend to forget things [i]I'm used to[/i].
Many times, both the [b]Co-operative Sped Director[/b] *AND* the [b]District Sped Director[/b] have actively advocated for my child and won allies in a non-confrontational manner, I might add.
Anywhoooo. Which would I rather have? The 504 Compliance officer in our district? Or the people who collaborate in my IEP? You take a guess.
ps....some of the most treasured items I have from my children's school years are the evaluation reports. Truly, there was much elaboration on many wonderful qualities they both have, that I often take for granted. That I often overlook. I genuinely feel that I haven't come across any IEP team member that desired to find negative attributes and commit them to writing. Even when the situation was hostile.No advice, No guarantees, just my own personal experience.

Posted on: Sat, 08/18/2007 - 2:37am
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This may be off base for those interested in the legal end of this.... I believe and had been told a long time ago that daily antihistamines can affect a child's ability to learn. Many of our children need daily antihistamines to make it thru the day and this should also be considered.
Peg

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 12:21am
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How do you [b]prove[/b] that daily antihistimines affect learning? My DS's kindergarten teacher said that my DS seemed tired at times, hyper at times (usually that corresponded to his abuteral doses during the winter asthma months). But the school still needs the doctor to say that his learning is affected, and he won't because he claims that he does not know if it is the medication or some other problem in the classroom (LD or ADHD for example).
I need to figure out how to connect the dots between his antihistimines and his behavior [i] somehow[/i].

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 1:16am
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Quote:Originally posted by notnutty:
How do you [b]prove[/b] that daily antihistimines affect learning?
what does the package insert say?
But I digress. How did you prove your child's life threatening food allergy was a disability for 504?
ie:
how did you prove [i]"has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities." [/i] for 504?
In the link below, [i]"Learning"[/i] was suggested as a "major life activity", in regards to a 504.
[url="http://www.chrisdendy.com/rights.htm"]http://www.chrisdendy.com/rights.htm[/url]
In my child's specific instance, my child was prohibited from attending school safely due to a lack of accommodation on the school's behalf.
As a matter of [b]fact[/b], I was told I should, due to his allergies, [i]"homeschool your child"[/i] by the principal. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] An absent child is difficult, if not impossible, to document as having achieved certain learning standards.
In my world, [i]if it's not documented, it hasn't been done.[/i] That was my counter [i]"prove it[/i]. That's not advice, that's just the instant replay.
now, the *current* revised standard for "OHI" under IDEA 2004:
Here is an eligibility form example, might vary, state to state, district to district.
So, in this link:
[url="http://www.teamed.net/content/view/32/70/"]http://www.teamed.net/content/view/32/70/[/url]
I found this link:
[url="http://www.ade.az.gov/ess/resources/forms/OHI.doc"]http://www.ade.az.gov/ess/resources/forms/OHI.doc[/url]
curious that "learning being affected" wasn't a checkbox, right? Or is it just [i]assumed[/i] that as a natural progression of things, that if a child's health condition limits their "strength, vitality, and alertness" or also having a "heightened alertness that results in a limited alertness with respect to the educational environment" (wouldn't a life threatening food allergy fit that definition?) [b]learning is affected[/b]?
is it just me????
Anywhooo. On that particular eligibility form, in that state, in that district, it appears that if requirements the three top boxes are checked and met, they are "eligible", does it not?
IDEA is a federal law. With mandated procedural safeguards. It doesn't appear that individual districts have much wiggle room.
Oh, and that the definition from IDEA 1997 was revised for IDEA 2004 is [i]encouraging[/i].
[url="http://web.stclair.k12.il.us/bassc/criteria/OHI.pdf"]http://web.stclair.k12.il.us/bassc/criteria/OHI.pdf[/url]
please read:
"CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY"
especially "Part B Academic Criteria for Eligibility"
quote:
"[i]An assessment of academic functioning must demonstrate the following adverse affects upon educational performancethat requires specialized instruction because of:
1. a lack of meaningful and productive participation; and
2.reduced efficiency in school work.[/i]"
tell me that my child either absent from school, or prohibited from attending, or [i]even asked by the principal[/i] (or whatever school designee) to stay home, be removed from, or be taken home early from a specific activity didn't result in either 1 or 2 or both. Tell me so.
But it's a moot point. My child qualified for "OHI" under what I consider the more stringent, more limiting IDEA '97 definition of OHI. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
No advice, no guarantees about the accuracy, currentness, content, or applicability of the links in the post. Individual Mileage May Vary.
[This message has been edited by The #l Mouser! (edited August 19, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 5:51am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Quote:
"An assessment of academic functioning must demonstrate the following adverse affects upon educational performancethat requires specialized instruction because of:
1. a lack of meaningful and productive participation; and
2.reduced efficiency in school work."
See, though, this is a problem when the rubber meets the road. If your child has never been [i]in[/i] a learning environment which [i]is[/i] properly modified for their needs...... nothing to 'compare' with.
These are both [i]COMPARATIVE[/i] terms. Yes?
1. Lack of meaningful and productive participation.....
[i]Compared with what? Their peers? (I thought this was about [b]one[/b] child... not some mythical 'average' one). Even I cannot say what meaningful and productive participation is for my child [b] if I don't have an example.[/b] Right? And if that child 'copes' sufficiently well, they may still fall within the 'norm' for their same-age peers, even if they [b]are[/b] impaired.[/i]
2. Again, this is 'reduced' compared to [i]what[/i] exactly? I know that it [i]should[/i] and is [i]intended[/i] to mean relative to the child's [i]potential efficiency[/i] if their disability-related needs are being met. But if they have NOT been.... does the child only qualify (from the school's perspective) if their work has, thus far, been 'below grade level?' Or 'does not meet' a testing benchmark?
Because, actually that logic makes some sense with respect to obtaining an IEP.... Administrators don't [i]really care unless it impacts AYP.[/i] Until then, it is just 'more paperwork' for them. There is no motivation to do anything for kids who are not meeting 'potential' but ARE meeting benchmarks. KWIM?
As a parent, I find this so repellent that I have difficulty putting it into words. That an administration would be perfectly happy to ignore a torturous learning environment for a child because that child is able to struggle through enough to be 'acceptable' academically. Ugh.
So how [i]do[/i] you counter this with an IEP evaluation team? What [i]is[/i] a valid comparison there?

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 7:35am
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CVmom...great reply. Something for me to gnaw on for the afternoon.
The problem I am having is my ds is acedemically falling behind...not from missing school, he actually only missed a few days last year. Not enough days to be remarkable. He is falling behind because of [b]something[/b]. Not sure if it is allergy, a learning disability or adhd [i] or[/i]a combination.
He does not have a 504 yet because I have been trying to add his allergies as part of his IEP he has in place for speech. The allergist was willing to write a letter stating "life system of breathing" is effected. I just thing an IEP for OHI would be best in this case otherwise he would have a 504 (with his IHP included) and an IEP. Could get confusing for his teachers.
My son's acedemic testing was a disaster last year. Inconsistent results, restless, unable to focus. The teachers said perhaps ADHD. I keep thinking allergies and medication problems.
I am waiting until December to get a private evaluation completed at Minneapolis Children's hopsital. I wanted to see if his learning is improved now that we have modified all his meds over the summer.
MB...thanks for the links...I probably have read them at one time or another, but it would be good to refresh my memory and try to gain a new perspective as I go into the new school year.
Learning is affected in my DS's case...now to just prove and document it.
[This message has been edited by notnutty (edited August 19, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 7:45am
notnutty's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b] .....
[i]Compared with what? Their peers? (I thought this was about [b]one[/b] child... not some mythical 'average' one). Even I cannot say what meaningful and productive participation is for my child [b] if I don't have an example.[/b] Right? And if that child 'copes' sufficiently well, they may still fall within the 'norm' for their same-age peers, even if they [b]are[/b] impaired.[/i].....[/b]
That's the problem CVmom with the entire special education system. In [b]standardized[/b] testing, it is always compared to peers and averages and standard scores. Potential does not matter. That is not the standard that needs to be met. Your child has to be falling flat on his/her face before and IEP will be granted.
BTW: Minnesota is one of the more progressive educational systems in the United States. We always rank high in test scores, etc..., but we still are not following IDEA 2004 for eligibility criteria. I was told last spring that they can retest my son in February because by then he should be far enough behind to qualify for a specific learning disability designation. 1.75 standard deviations below [b]average[/b].
As far as qualifying for OHI...they were not willing to discuss it because the team does not think he will meet the standard. He has not missed enough school and he generally [b]copes[/b] well in the classroom.
[This message has been edited by notnutty (edited August 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 8:41am
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Wow-- I am so sorry. What an awful experience for your child.
I feel extremely fortunate that my daughter's school understands how poorly she would probably perform on standardized tests in an unsafe (or even 'insecure') environment. I didn't even need to tell them-- they somehow seemed to 'get' that she needed a modified testing environment.
Now, why that was ever granted as an accommodation under 504 is beyond me... because really, it [i]should[/i] be on an IEP... That and a few other things that you technically need to be classified as a "SpEd" student to have.
Like ESY... which my daughter got this summer because of a basic uncertainty about her placement this fall, meaning that she might need to have the 'same' 5th grade materials again, so no sense sending us a second box with all-new materials in... and also because of extended illness last Spring, in which she missed over three weeks of school.
But in reality, this was bending the rules. Add to the financial compensation aspects of things the fact that she could qualify for an IEP based on learning differences anyway, and I [i]really[/i] don't understand why they are happy with the 504.
[i]Her teacher has made comments about an IEP instead of the 504 plan when things have come up. Curriculum and placement issues. GT-related, so not specifically FA related.[/i]
It [i]has[/i] just be inertia, as noted in the earlier IEP/504 thread. [i]We[/i] certainly don't have any problem with the SpEd 'label.'
I feel, actually, that if we ever [i]did[/i] put DD into a B+M placement, we might have a good set of arguments for seeking an IEP. Because we [i]do[/i] have a good point of comparison for items 1 and 2-- what we are doing now, in which her learning environment in not adversely affected by her disability.
(And good thing.... her learning environment would have to be pretty dreadful before her performance was deemed 'lacking' by most administrators' criteria, I think.... not that I don't think that could happen. Ugh.... it could.)
I'm thinking that maybe I'm going to take a look around and see what I can find on Hoagie's about dual exceptionalities. I know that IEP evals present huge problems with GT/LD kids, as well, since the giftedness often masks the LD...and vice-versa. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
Let me see what I can find that doesn't involve testing for specific LDs, because [i]that[/i] should be applicable to showing that [i]any[/i] 'disability' has an impact on learning, without affecting it so adversely that the child is below some one-size-fits-most standard.
(Though heaven knows, if you ignore the problem long enough that's where it is heading for anyone... you'd think administrators would be interested in THAT aspect at least... AYP, NCLB, and all that.)

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 11:41am
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Quote:Originally posted by notnutty:
[b] That's the problem CVmom with the entire special education system. In [b]standardized[/b] testing, it is always compared to peers and averages and standard scores. Potential does not matter. That is not the standard that needs to be met. Your child has to be falling flat on his/her face before and IEP will be granted.
[/b]
that wasn't the case with either of my two children. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible for me, and neither child was falling "flat on his/her face" academically before the IEP was granted. Actually, in both situations, by the time the IEP's were agreed upon, neither had much current "in-situ" class time.
In my older son's instance, I had homeschooled him for two years and documented [i]nothing[/i] with the powers that be. That's not advice, that's just fact. he had *one* grading period in the district (in any public school by that time) and it wasn't exactly "falling on his face" either, although his teacher had written something about him not being able to formulate ideas. (ha. ha. HA.----was there a body snatcher in her class or what? [i]not the same child I knew[/i]. Maybe it was the environement....but I digress.)
anyway, there was a full case study completed that summer break (two years after I withdrew him) and no classroom time able to be observed for the eval, (which was mentioned numerous times in the formal evaluation documentation) and his performance wasn't "falling on his face" either. He held his own, particularly in the areas of science and reading. (He received an educational label for a disorder of communication, but his reading and comprehension skills were off the charts for his age. Guess we didn't do a bad job [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] )
As a matter of fact, not only was there no indications he was "falling on his face", [i]there was little to zero documentation of anything[/i] besides that case study. Which was far from "falling on his face". Way far.
Instead of boring anyone with my younger son's similiar situation, except to say there was some protest from the district to us entering the IEP process [i]again[/i] with him, since they believed he *wasn't* falling on his face academically, yet, that there was still hope, and his "shutdown" periods were mostly in the safety of his own home, after school, but the IEP still materialized. Alternatively, I will post this link. Links regarding the court decision have been posted before:
[url="http://www.drcnh.org/Maine.htm"]http://www.drcnh.org/Maine.htm[/url]
[url="http://www.autismconnect.org/news.asp?section=00010001&itemtype=news&id=6097"]http://www.autismconnect.org/news.asp?section=00010001&itemtype=news&id=6097[/url]
quote:
"YORK COUNTY, Maine, USA: A York County girl with Asperger's syndrome [b]is entitled to special-education services even though her disability does not limit her academically,[/b] according to a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals."
General Disclaimer:
I am not offering advice, I do not guarantee the accuracy, currentness, content, or applicability of the links in this post. I might be a one in a million longshot. That, or....choke, cough, sputter....[i]my district is very progressive[/i]. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by The #l Mouser! (edited August 19, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 6:44pm
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My son does not have Asperger's...I think that is what makes a difference. Without a diagnosed "disorder" there are very certain criteria that need to be met to qualify. Severe discrepancy must be met (at least in the case of SLD designation).
[url="http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/arule/3525/1341.html"]http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/arule/3525/1341.html[/url]
If your child does not meet these very specific criteria..they do not qualify..period...end of story. Remember Minnesota does not follow IDEA 2004 yet. That is the case in most states.
If I got an ADHD diagnosis for my son (which I believe would not be hard to do, but in my heart I am not yet convinced)...he would qualify under OHI. I just believe he would benefit best from a SLD qualification because I believe it offers the most help for what he needs. He needs remedial help for reading and writing. The accommodations put into place to remediate an ADHD diagnosis would not give my son the help he needs (in my opinion).
An OHI for his allergies would be wonderful, but that is still not going to fix his reading and writing difficulties. KWIM? Pick your battles kind of thing. Then we are back to 504 for allergies/asthma and IEP for speech.
Back on topic, I believe that his allergies have affected his learning. For most of us, our schools are following very strict criteria for qualification under IDEA. I have asked, researched, met with the school. I have not yet been successful.
An outside evaluation is in order, but I am waiting for the best time to get it. Since it is going to cost me approximately $1500 to use the neuropsychologist I prefer. I want to make sure everything is in order so the results are meaningful.
Sorry for the rambling...but it is late (early?) and my brain is a little foggy. Insomnia does not mean "awake" [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img].

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 10:27pm
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Quote:Originally posted by notnutty:
[b]My son does not have Asperger's...I think that is what makes a difference. Without a diagnosed "disorder" there are very certain criteria that need to be met to qualify. Severe discrepancy must be met (at least in the case of SLD designation). [/b]
I wasn't trying to be specific to Asperger's, I was just setting a parallel. And that many people, consider "Life Threatening" to be severe. You know, in the context of whether and how we determine if "learning" is affected. I should have been clearer.
Quote:[b]If your child does not meet these very specific criteria..they do not qualify..period...end of story. [/b]
I don't know if I agree with this, but then again, I live in Illinois, no advice, just anecdotal, but I've often heard it said: "Go with the label that gets the needed services". It's counter culture to what I'm bred for, but......and then again, my gut tells me dot the i's and cross the t's. I can understand your quandry.
Quote:[b]Remember Minnesota does not follow IDEA 2004 yet. That is the case in most states.[/b]
whodawhat?? Is there a time frame involved here?
Quote:[b] Since it is going to cost me approximately $1500 to use the neuropsychologist I prefer. I want to make sure everything is in order so the results are meaningful.[/b
has the school district evaluated your child (under IDEA) and do you agree with it?

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 11:30pm
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Quote:[b]I wasn't trying to be specific to Asperger's, I was just setting a parallel. And that many people, consider "Life Threatening" to be severe. You know, in the context of whether and how we determine if "learning" is affected. I should have been clearer.[/b]
I understand. I agree. He should qualify with his LTFA. The problem is this: is he going to get help with his reading and writing with a qualification under LTFA (OHI)? I wanted to go for the label that is going to help him the most. He [i]does[/i] have an IEP. He has for 2 years already. It is only to help his delayed speech.
Quote:[b]whodawhat?? Is there a time frame involved here?[/b]
It should have been in place long ago. My meeting last spring with the district attorney did not go well because I told her that I don't care what Minnesota has in place, federal law should [i]trump[/i] state law. She was irrate and did not like my attitude that I was going to follow IDEA 2004 in lieu of the fact that Minnesota is not up to speed so to speak. I spoke to someone at CHAD after that and the lady told me that July 2007 it was supposed to happen, but Minnesota (and lots of other states) have filed noncompliance extensions with the feds to buy more time. My guess it will be within the next 2 or 3 years. IDEA 2004 is so important because the eligibility removes the severe discrepancy criteria from eligibility for SLD.
So, I am assuming your children qualified under OHI? What type of acedemic services do they receive besides their FA accommodations? Maybe that would be a better avenue for me to pursue? I am not sure at this point if my logic is flawed. I just keep thinking I want to ride this out to get the best services for him. I also have some time on my side since he is only starting 1st grade.
Quote:[b]has the school district evaluated your child (under IDEA) and do you agree with it? [/b]
No, I did not agree with it. I can request an IEE, but my husband and I have decided to use the neuropsychologist that evaluated DS #1 a few years ago. I trust her, I have worked with her, and she is my preference. She is not connected to the SD in any way. It is worth the money to me to get an [b]honest[/b] ouside opinion.
MB...thanks for the discussion. I can appreciate the fact that you have prompted me to rethink my strategy.
Edited to fix bold.(still trying to get the hang of it [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]).
[This message has been edited by notnutty (edited August 20, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by notnutty (edited August 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 11:47pm
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Quote:Originally posted by notnutty:
[b] No, I did not agree with it. I can request an IEE, but my husband and I have decided to use the neuropsychologist that evaluated DS #1 a few years ago. I trust her, I have worked with her, and she is my preference. She is not connected to the SD in any way. It is worth the money to me to get an [b]honest[/b] ouside opinion.[/b]
Why can't you use the neuropsychologist of your choice for the IEE? (let me get back to you on the other questions, I'm running out the door to meet hubby for coffee as he gets home from work, cubs had a late night, still in bed (bad mommy, school starts in two days---lol) and I want to split a waffle and get some *good* decaf. Grandma is on her second cup.

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2007 - 11:54pm
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Quote:Originally posted by notnutty:
[b] I understand. I agree. He should qualify with his LTFA. The problem is this: is he going to get help with his reading and writing with a qualification under LTFA (OHI)? I wanted to go for the label that is going to help him the most. He does have an IEP. He has for 2 years already. It is only to help his delayed speech.
[/b]
Real quick, before I run out, my older cub has [i]more than one label[/i]. As far as I know, he isn't limited to just one. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] And as far as I know, the OHI isn't "secondary". If I had to describe any of the labels, they are "stand alone" categories. (and I could be wrong.)

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 4:49am
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Here's a meta-list to get everyone started. I had this great post with a few more links, but it went *poof* [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] Ugh.
[url="http://www.uniquelygifted.org/schools.htm"]http://www.uniquelygifted.org/schools.htm[/url]
Don't be fooled by the title, BTW. This is all about the IEP advocacy process for [i]anyone[/i] facing an IEP eval without an obvious 'academic failure' on their hands-- and compensatory behavior that may mask the qualifying disability.
And as important as Zirkel in its own way:
[url="http://www.dueprocessillinois.org/LillieFelton.html"]http://www.dueprocessillinois.org/LillieFelton.html[/url]
Meet Lillie/Felton. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] This says that (pre IDEA-2004, this opinion from OSEP was issued in 1995 BTW)
Listen up:
Quote:
...You are also concerned that, because of a statement in the August 28, 1989 letter to Mr. Hartman, "teachers [are] saying that some Multidisciplinary Teams are being told that they now must consider as a part of eligibility criteria, whether the student's disability adversely impacts their ability to benefit from regular education." Part B contains no such requirement. In order to be eligible for services under Part B, a child must be evaluated as having one or more of thirteen specified physical, mental, emotional, or sensory impairments, which cause the child to need special education and related services. 20 U.S.C.

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 5:01am
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yes, [i]education[/i] is so much more than mere academic performance. Parrots are proof of that.

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 5:06am
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Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b] This is all about the IEP advocacy process for [i]anyone[/i] facing an IEP eval without an obvious 'academic failure' on their hands-- and compensatory behavior that may mask the qualifying disability.
[/b]
Like sending in a treat box?

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 5:30am
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But wait... a quick Clusty search with OHI and "educational performance" has turned up [i]much, MUCH[/i] more:
[url="http://www.kamleiterlaw.com/OHI.html"]http://www.kamleiterlaw.com/OHI.html[/url]
[url="http://www.ci.maryville.tn.us/mhs/MCSSped/ohi.htm"]http://www.ci.maryville.tn.us/mhs/MCSSped/ohi.htm[/url]
Note this:
Quote:
The assessment and evaluation process for student suspected of having an OHI must include a medical evaluation from a licensed doctor of medicine within one year. This medical evaluation must have a diagnosis of a medical condition and provide supporting evidence that this significantly affects the child's learning experience. In addition, a comprehensive developmental or educational assessment must be conducted to indicate the effects of the health impairment on the student's educational performance.
It specifically addresses how diabetes qualifies a student as OHI. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] (And much of the logic applies [i]directly[/i] to a LTFA and accompanying atopic conditions.
Ooo-ooo-oo:
[url="http://www.childrensmemorial.org/cme/online/article.asp?articleID=172"]http://www.childrensmemorial.org/cme/online/article.asp?articleID=172[/url]
[i]Well[/i] worth a read. [i]Well[/i] worth. Scroll down to the general discussion of appropriately sensitive measures of cognitive function.
Quote:
The cognitive effects of pediatric systemic illnesses are sometimes subtle and complex, and may be difficult to discern without the use of specialized assessment techniques. The challenge of identifying deficits in bright children can be particularly great, as they may employ compensatory strategies that effectively conceal their deficits from others.
Again, quite useful, though it might be better if it mentioned the role that certain [i]medications[/i] can have in this impairment, as well. I know that my daughter [i]on steroids[/i] is [i]UN-TEACHABLE.[/i] Ummmm, actually-- make that 'a candidate for involuntary commitment for mental health evaluation.' ~LOL. I'd like to see [i]any[/i] educator try to 'ignore' that and say it doesn't need dealing with.
She has less serious impairments (though noticeable) with low-dose local steroids, and with some antihistamines-- oh, and with albuterol.
Let me look for something else that this meandering stream of consciousness has just reminded me of...

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 6:55am
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Here it is:
Direct evidence that performance is adversely affected by antihistamine medications. (This study specifically examined 'Piriton'/chlorpheniramine)
(Hard to argue with the conclusions when the study was sponsored by one of the very companies that stands to gain from the sale of the medications to begin with....)
[url="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article1929321.ece"]http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article1929321.ece[/url]
Quote:
Nearly three quarters of students taking hay fever medication can expect to drop a grade in their exams this year as ingredients in the most popular remedies interfere with their ability to concentrate, research suggests.
[i]Even hay fever sufferers not taking any medication face a 40 per cent risk of achieving lower grades than expected as a result of their condition, the study by the Education for Health charity has found.
[/i]
The study was funded by the drug firm Shering-Plough, which makes several hay fever remedies.
(emphasis mine)

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 6:57am
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Quote:Originally posted by The #l Mouser!:
[b] Like sending in a treat box?
[/b]
Ding-ding-ding-ding! We [i]HAVE[/i] a winner!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 7:11am
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Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b]It specifically addresses how diabetes qualifies a student as OHI. (And much of the logic applies directly to a LTFA and accompanying atopic conditions.][/b]
I've always said we had a lot to learn from the diabetic population...excellent find.

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 8:22am
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Do you think the diabetic population "has it easier" when it comes to OHI because the disability is not [i]as hidden[/i] as a food allergy?
I also think, in some cases, the diabetic population has more respect from the community. If you are diabetic, everyone kind of knows what that means. With FA, most people do not know how that impacts life and what is all required to stay safe.
So in the mind of administrators, they can get their minds around a diabetic accommodation...possibly not as easy for a FA.

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 8:45am
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Quote:
...I also think, in some cases, the diabetic population has more respect from the community....
Which they have earned over the last 40 years at the school of hard kno-- oh, right-- at the school of 'advocating tirelessly for my child and community.'
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] We just have a way to go. Besides, there are still plenty of schools that want diabetic kids to somehow 'manage the condition on their own time.'
Getting a disability designtation for diabetes is no easier than for a LTFA. My posts were more about applying this logic to a [i]physician[/i] that may be unclear how your child's allergies and management impact learning adversely in a day-to-day manner. Even marginal management strategies which avoid [i]major[/i] health consequences have cognitive impact. FOR BOTH CONDITIONS-- and I think that our allergist's would agree, based on the information I've posted here.
Because [i]that[/i] is the first step, in terms of the advocacy needed. A doctor's assertion that it is a problem (or could be).
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 9:07am
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Quote:Originally posted by notnutty:
[b]Do you think the diabetic population "has it easier" when it comes to OHI because the disability is not [i]as hidden[/i] as a food allergy?[/b]
It's completely hidden. Just as hidden as a food allergy. Well, unless you're giving your health history to me, and you are relatively young and start telling me you have poor healing, neuropathy, early indications of kidney failure, have an unusually progressed coronary artery disease for your age, missing toes or lower limbs and retinopathy. Or some number of them. Then I might [i]ask[/i] you if you also have insulin dependent diabetes if you hadn't already told me. I might wonder too. But hey, I try not to have tunnel vision. So, hey, I'd be open to other explanations momentarily. That's not medical advice, that's just describing what might pique my curiosity. Cause me to ask.
Quote:[b]I also think, in some cases, the diabetic population has more respect from the community. If you are diabetic, everyone kind of knows what that means.[/b]
Truly? It hasn't been my experience, especially in some discussions on the boards. Just like anything, there is always room for education. Most people I encounter that have some indication of what it means either encounter it for a living, have it (and even that is iffy), or know someone close to them with the diagnosis.
Quote:[b]With FA, most people do not know how that impacts life and what is all required to stay safe.[/b]
Oh, I think we could say the same about diabetes. You know, like when someone learns a person has diabetes they have a tendency to say: "Oh, that means you can't eat sugar."
It's a lot bigger picture. It's not like they start drinking diet pop and all is taken care of, KWIM?
Quote:[b]So in the mind of administrators, they can get their minds around a diabetic accommodation...possibly not as easy for a FA.[/b]
I don't know. Considering what I've heard some schools think is proper diabetic management, what is a safe environment or situation, I wonder.....any input from parents of diabetic children out there?

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 9:19am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Exactly right.
Diabetes is a [i]perfect[/i] corollary to LTFA or asthma. Because it is totally [i]invisible[/i] if well-managed. It [i]need not[/i] have ANY impact at all, if properly managed.
But marginal management leads to problems, ultimately exacerbating the underlying condition and making its management that much more difficult overall.
But ask for it to be managed as a 'disability' and you face the same ignorant arguments from the same people.
"Learning isn't affected."
"learn to live in the real world"
and my personal favorite,
"needs to accept more responsibility"
(Like any of us would 'choose' to inconvenience ANYONE for our kids.) Yuck.
You see, evidently diabetic and asthmatic children are 'fine' as long as they are still more or less ambulatory. Just like FA kids who are 'fine' unless they are actively engaged in the act of ANAPHYLAXIS.
Our job is to connect the dots and make those outside of our community understand that this is not 'fine' management-- that over time, it has terrible consequences. The diabetic community has simply been acting on that for far longer. People do [i]tend[/i] to understand that diabetes requires lifestyle change in a way that they do not yet for LTFA. But only because someone TOLD them. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
ETA: IRL, I've known exactly four families that had the level of involvement with schools that we on these boards do.
1. My ex-inlaws. Their son slipped into a coma in third grade from a BG that was somewhere north of 600mg/dL. THEY were the trailblazers for diabetes management in schools. In the 70s. When diabetes in schools was where FA are now.
2. Neighbors with a diabetic DD 1y older than mine. She LIVES at the school. Lunch, snacks, and at the bell, she's there to check her DD's BG, give her a snack, and check her pump. She goes on every field trip. (Did I mention that she also was the only other parent who signed up to do strings side-by-side? But dropped out to [i]sit in the hall[/i] when her DD objected to feeling 'weird'-- note that she [i]did not leave her there, however her DD felt.[/i])
3. A woman I've known for 18 yr whose little boy (well, now young man -- how time flies!!) has CP. She fought tooth and nail for [i]inclusion[/i] even though the disability was a 'given' because the disability wasn't 'hidden.'
4. My friends who have done [i]aggressive[/i] intervention with their trisomy daughter. They, too, have had to fight at [i]every turn[/i] for reasonable inclusion. They fought so hard for her to reach her potential at every developmental milestone. Only to be told initially that she would be placed in a SpEd classroom for K. SOOOOOO not what they had worked for. And soooooo not what she was ready for! They were furious.
Anyway-- the reason I provide those examples is that I think there is a common thread. People in administration who do not understand either disability OR inclusion. Not fundamentally. If you have a hidden disability, you have to fight for needed accommodations. If you have a visible one, you fight for inclusion. One is no easier than the other.
[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited August 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 12:09pm
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GRRR...lost the reply I had been composing. Let's see if I can do it again.
I didn't mean to turn this into a FA v. diabetes debate again. That has been discussed ad nausea. I have the utmost respect for any parent dealing with diabetes. My only point is that in my very personal experience...in [b]my[/b] school district, all of the children with diabetes are [b]offered[/b] IEPs. I was told this by the district RN. She said they need it because she needs to be available to administer insulin.
I think that even within the [i]hidden disabilities[/i] category, there are still varying degrees of knowledge on the part of the administration. In *our* school district anyway. I am the parent who is trailblazing for an IEP or a 504 for FA. It has not been done for a FA student...but always put in place for a diabetic student. It *seems* that the diabetic community if further along the continuum in terms of education of the administration. That's all I was trying to say.
[This message has been edited by notnutty (edited August 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 12:41pm
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notnutty, sorry-- I definitely didn't mean to imply that you [i]were[/i] saying anything like that.
I wonder who blazed that trail in your district, though?
Probably someone like YOU. Someone like my ex's parents. Someone, dare I say it, like ME.
Because that's something I've definitely learned about disabilities and schools. Trailblazing is [b]fraught[/b] with roadblocks, slippery administrators (who might as well be functionally illiterate for all that they seem incapable of putting anything in [i]writing[/i]), grey hairs, and adult temper tantrums held in the privacy of your car once you pull into the driveway.
Given what I've seen of other families.... if it is 'understood' that "this is how we handle _____" then somebody out there endured years of banging a head against a brick wall to get there. Often followed by several others that had to subsequently explain that no disability calls for 'one-size-fits-all.' [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 3:39pm
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Quote:Originally posted by notnutty:
[b]I also think, in some cases, the diabetic population has more respect from the community. If you are diabetic, everyone kind of knows what that means. With FA, most people do not know how that impacts life and what is all required to stay safe.
[/b]
Maybe that's because the diabetic community bands together to take action and get things done, instead of prattling on like a bunch of schoolgirls. Take a look at the # of Off Topic posts here for instance. What are the priorities???

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 11:37pm
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Quote:Originally posted by Threadkiller:
[b] Maybe that's because the diabetic community bands together to take action and get things done, instead of prattling on like a bunch of schoolgirls. Take a look at the # of Off Topic posts here for instance. What are the priorities???[/b]
I think it is more likely like CVmom said...someone in my SD did the trailblazing for the diabetic population. I am sure that parent was just as strained and worked tirelessly to get the current policies put into place. Thank you CVmom, once again, for helping me put my ideas into perspective.
For the most part, I feel that as a FA community, we all want the same thing...for our children to be safe. There are many different definitions to "safe" so within our community there can be much debate. As far as "off topic" goes...I don't always engage in the discussions, but I also think, for the most part, these lighter discussions are necessary to help us understand each other outside of FA. It can, at times, get out of hand. However, each of us has the option whether or not to engage in the discussion. It is not [i]required[/i].
Threadkiller...do you have some specific advice to offer on this topic...or are you using this thread as a way to stir up trouble? If your goal is to create drama, I am not interested. I am, however, very interested if you have some ideas about how to create "priorities" to further our cause within the educational system. What should our "priorities" be as a community?

Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:41pm
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Not trying to stir up trouble either, but:
I asked for help in giving the district ideas for a DISTRICT WIDE policy and had two people respond. Wallpaper (which I also responded to) has how many hits?
As far as setting priorities, I have noticed we all seem to be re-inventing a square wheel. We all go into 504 or IEP meetings and try to 'prove' the disability instead of telling them what accomidations our kids need BY A DOCTORS RECOMENDATIONS. We accept that we can't get an IEP when kids with asthsma are getting them for less than what our kids endure (and I think the athsma kids are equally deserving). We accept reasons like: The budget won't allow; Other children will be affected by no PB.... We cave (and I mean myself included) through their meeting schedule and procedures (which they all have degrees in), their lawyers, other parents opinions.... We get side tracked with the life of a parent with an ill child when the 'other side' is employed 40+ hours to examine the situation to their benefit, and have other parents willing to chime in with opposition to accomidations....
Sorry for the rant, but yes, I wish we were more focused so we should have even more impact. This is a growing epidemic and I don't want the current 'way things are' to set the stage for my grandchildren (hopefully at least 15 years away).

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