Friday, February 5, 2010

More fishiness

Last year, when Julio was having problems in first grade, his mother apparently told his first grade teacher that he had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, but that she didn't want to medicate him so she was seeking a second opinion. Which she's entitled to, so fine.

Then, during another meeting, she changed her story and denied that she had ever said anything about him having ADD.

When Julio left our school for his new school, where they convinced his mother to get him evaluated, the IEP they wrote for him classified his "diagnosis" as OHI, or Other Health Impaired. When Julio's mother brought him back to our school, our social worker asked where that classification had come from. Julio's mom claimed that she didn't know, that he had no health issues.

Just out of curiosity, I Googled OHI. Because I know that children who require special services because they have chronic illnesses are sometimes classified OHI, and I wondered where Julio would fit into that.

Well, duh, it turns out that "the most frequent medical conditions under which students
qualify for services as OHI are attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)." I swear upon my teaching license that this child clearly has ADD and his mother is covering it up.

It's such a complicated situation, because there's still such a stigma about having your child "labeled" or "classified" as "special ed." And obviously, not all children with special needs have the same special needs. In our self-contained second grade, we have children who are non-verbal except for their echolalia alongside children who are reading on a third-grade level. In whatever 12:1:1 classes Julio's mom was presented with, she saw children with severe MR and autism and felt that her son didn't "belong" with those children because he's academically not that far below grade level. But regardless, I feel strongly that he has a special need and would benefit from special services. I just wish his mother would give it a chance.


Ms. Peace said...

When I meet with parents who are resistant to the findings of an evaluation I usually frame it as the "child's right" to get the services he or she needs. Parents usually break down and cry at this point in the conversation and agree to the IEP. Deep down they know they are not helping their child by being resistant, especially in extreme cases like Julio's. I also encourage them to visit the new placement before making any final decisions. Even if they sign the IEP, it doesn't necessarily mean their child will be automatically moved somewhere else, they have the right to consent to the new placement or not. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen an IEP that has ADD on it-- it's always down as OHI. I think I was told that as ADD/ADHD is diagnosed by health professionals, and not educators, the DX of ADD/ADHD won't appear on the IEP for privacy reasons. Honestly, I always assume OHI is code-word for ADD/ADHD unless I am told otherwise.

Anonymous said...

A self contained class should not have children who are more than three grade levels apart in reading or in math. To work toward resolving this issue, speak with your principal and your chapter leader, and then file a special ed complaint on

Anonymous said...

A previous poster got at this a little bit already, but to add a bit more info: ADD/ADHD is not a classification of disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). There are 13 classifications under IDEA. Note - classification does not equal disability.

ADD/ADHD is sometimes written elsewhere on the IEP (i.e. special medical alerts section).

Ann T. said...

Dear Miss Brave,
I'm behind on commenting due to flu and consequently randomized thinking, but oh, I have been feeling for you.

I detest admins like this and parents like this. There are victims here, and they are you and Julio and his classmates.

There's a lot of good advice in your comments--to consider your options and choose. If you don't choose for yourself, then for the students. The only thing that would stop me from urging an all-out stink is if it is a career-breaker. And if it is, shame on the system.

Of the adults, you look like the only vertebrate. The rest are spineless. That puts you in charge, which unfortunately should not be your place. . .

Best wishes to you, along with all the rest,
Ann T.

dmac said...

I also have to wonder how informed the mother is. We have parents who deny similar help for their kids, and a lot of times it comes out of not knowing what the "label" means. On the flip side, we have had parents request their students get referred to avoid them getting held back, even when no issue is present. One particular student that this happened with was also "diagnosed" ADD, which she clearly wasn't.

Dee Alpert said...

The objective data shows that the NYCDOE's special ed. program and services, overall, has horrific results for the children. Although about 2/3rds have mild learning or speech disabilities, less than 20% graduate high school in 4 years with a local or Regents diploma. The rate for kids in segregated special ed. classes is 5%. Given the preponderance of kids with very mild disabilities, these figures are appalling; more so when one considers what the NYCDOE claims it spends on each kid with a disability.

If I was the parent of a school-aged child in NYC at this time, I wouldn't allow my child to be classified by the DOE and would do whatever it took to get him effective remediation. In NYC, this can only be gotten from the private non-public school sector.

No matter how well-meaning the folks are who do special ed. in the NYCDOE, the overall numbers show that the system is flagrantly dysfunctional and is to be avoided at all costs.