Thursday, April 19, 2012

How CPSE to CSE transitions are being handled in some districts.

I just saw a flyer from a local advocacy and educational center about a seminar they are offering for parents about the transition process between CPSE and CSE. This is a very good group and they provide valuable services to parents, but I was wondering if they would describe the transition process in terms of how it SHOULD be or how it ACTUALLY IS.

Here is a review of how it ACTUALLY IS for many parents who are unlucky enough to live in certain school districts.

In February a school asks all the related services people providing OT, PT, Speech, etc. to give their opinions on whether or not a preschool child should be considered for CSE referral. The school compiles these generic opinions and based on some unknown decision making process sends some of the names over to the CSE for consideration. Then a giant wall is erected and there is never any additional communication between the CPSE and CSE.

Sometime in March or April I get requests from CSEs to participate in these meetings, and I make statements like, "Who decided to send them to CSE? Does the parent know they have been referred? We didn't even have the CPSE annual review meeting yet so there is no decision on declassification or whether services should continue. How can there be a recommendation for CSE referral and attempts to schedule a meeting prior to the CPSE annual review?" No one can answer these questions.

Then sometime in April or May the CPSE has their annual review. Some children are found to be ineligible for more services because they have met their goals. No children are declassified, as that would require a declassification plan. Instead, they are simply found to be ineligible or time is just allowed to 'run out' and the children 'age out' of the CPSE system.

Those few who are on that special list that was compiled back before any meetings happened are then 'evaluated' by a CSE subcommittee. The process for 'evaluating' the children is to have someone totally independent who does not know the child at all do a generic ten minute observation. The CPSE providers are never consulted, but they are invited to the meeting. Generally, the meetings look like this: the CPSE provider sits in a room with a CSE chair and the hapless parent and hears the subcommittee decision that the child is not eligible for CSE referral. Exceptions are made when children are in wheelchairs, are non-verbal, or are near death.

Everyone else is determined to be ineligible, and is then subject to the RTI Model which is successful in holding off special education services until the children are in 2nd or 3rd grade, at which time it is very difficult to remediate delays - but gives enough time for the school to re-classify children and cherry pick which ones are eligible for testing accommodations or exclusions so that they can make the district's state testing numbers look acceptable. Then they get related services and accommodations via CSE for a year or two before they are declassified because the CSE doesn't provide related services to children after elementary school (unless they are in wheelchairs, non-verbal, or near death, etc.). Some children are given 504 plans through middle and high school years so that the school can continue to have testing exclusions, if it suits the school's need and helps with their reporting requirements.

This is not cynical. This is the way it rolls. I wonder if they will say this at that meeting.

Question: Should what school district you live in be a determining factor in how your CPSE to CSE transition is handled?

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