School Unsupportive of AAC Device

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Annie Smith

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Nov 4, 2013, 3:29:56 PM11/4/13
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Need help!
I have an  eyegaze device that school is unsupportive of me bringing to school.   They want me to sign a waiver of liability should anything happen it they are not liable and they are contacting my Neurologist because they claim it induces seizures (there has been no evidence of that)  I want to request an outside AAC eval (their AAC is in house within district). Again we finally got the device and now I'm still having to battle for support at school! Need ideas justifying outside AAC eval.  Not willing to set my daughter up for failure with a team that doesn't believe in her.  You would think saving the school district $20,000 and obtaining my own device would be a good thing.  Apparently not. Thoughts??

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Mcda...@aol.com

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Nov 5, 2013, 10:04:13 AM11/5/13
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        Hi,  something similar happen to us years ago.  Ask them if they have people sign a release for electric wheel chairs or hearing devices ETC?  Are they afraid your child will have seizures or are they afraid other students in her class will have them from her eyegaze device?  We ended up filing for due process because they said our son couldn't use his SGD in the preschool setting.  Our school district paid for the warranty for the device and we were told if it was broken during school time their insurance would cover it. 
 
    What state are you in?  In our state of Massachusetts (home of the World Series Champs the Boston Red Soxs) You don't have to state a reason for an IEE.  I would assume some you consulted outside said she should use an eyegaze right?  Are they refusing to accept that.....sounds like it but just want to make sure.  Keep us all posted and hopefully others will reply that are much better educated then I am about this. 
 
Mary-Clare
 
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Dawn Caldwell

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Nov 5, 2013, 10:38:38 AM11/5/13
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How old is your child?  What was your child using before at home and at school?  What is in the IEP?  Why is the issue cropping up now - school has been in session awhile.  Did you just get the device?  Is this a new school for your child?  Was the team aware that you were purchasing this device?  Did you coordinate a training plan with the AAC person for the school team?  How high up the chain of command have you gone?

 

I would suggest you contact an attorney familiar with IDEA and your state as daily communication is vital to education.  The Peak Parent center (www.peakparent.org) is also a good resource (Shirley Swope).  Either one should be able to provide you with the IDEA law that supports AAC use and a school's responsibilities.  Knowing the law as it pertains to your child's rights is imperative in getting what you need for your child.  

 

Depending on what has already been done, my understanding of IEE is that you would have to allow the SWAAC team to do an assessment.  If you did not agree with the assessment results, you can request an IEE.  The IEE is then paid for by the district.  They can provide you with some providers for the IEE (that may have contracted with the district in the past) but you do not have to use their providers.  (You would have to find a provider that would agree to contract with your district.)  No district is required to accept the results of outside providers (at anytime) but, if they pay for the IEE, it is more likely that they may accept some or all of the results.

 

You could also consider mediation or an IEP meeting.

 

An attorney can help you navigate the specifics of your situation based upon the history you have and address the immediate issue of daily communication via the right method - IEE, assessment, mediation, IEP meeting, etc...

 

IMHO, it is very difficult to find the right attorney or advocate but once you have the right person on your team who can navigate the law (and how it has been applied/interpreted by the state and federal courts), it makes a world of difference. 

 

Dawn

 



 


Weerunskids

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Nov 5, 2013, 10:56:28 AM11/5/13
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The school system is required by the federal government to either provide device OR warranty for family provided device. We had the exact same fight with our daughters school .....when I get home I will send you the law information that states the school requirements.

Merlie

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Chris and Vicky Opipari

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Nov 5, 2013, 11:01:19 AM11/5/13
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Has the in-house AAC done an AAC eval?  If so, then you can disagree with their finding and ask for an IEE. FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) is key and if what they are providing for your daughter is not appropriate for her needs, then you have every right to disagree and ask for the IEE.

By the way, why is the AAC not wanting to support the eye gaze device?  It's always good to understand where they are coming from - do they not know the device and don't want to look incompetent or they're scared of it?  Sometimes finding solutions and letting them know you'll work with them rather than fighting can be more conducive to getting what you want for your student.  It sounds like there is a lot of fear involved on the district's part. 

A lot of schools are concerned when an expensive device gets brought in because they cannot insure it, and they are worried if it gets damaged then they will get sued.

Do you have an outside therapist working with your daughter on using the device?  If so - they might be a good resource for the school and a good way to provide data to the schools that it is appropriate for your daughter.

Vicky


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Weerunskids

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Nov 5, 2013, 11:01:13 AM11/5/13
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Mary-Claire was extremely helpful to our family years ago when we fought the school system about Jessie's device. So glad we are done with battling school now that our daughter is an adult. 

Merlie

Mcda...@aol.com

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Nov 5, 2013, 11:34:53 AM11/5/13
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    Merlie.........you have been on my mind so much lately with the Red Sox winning!  Thank you for your kind words......everyone keep me in your thoughts and prayers as the SD again filed DP against me for keeping Lee eligablitable for special education services.......yes you read that right!  I did it pro se.......now writing up the closing arguments!  Due Monday of Thanksgiving week............M-C

Weerunskids

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Nov 5, 2013, 11:56:29 AM11/5/13
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If there was ever a parent who could make the system sit up and take notice it would be you! Sending positive thoughts your way. 
BTW are you on Facebook? Look me up on there so you can see how we made Jessies wheelchair into a Harley Davidson for Halloween ..... She had the leather jacket and even a leather skull cap lol

Merlie Jackson
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