Daughter with ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder not getting help at School

by Sherri
(Spokane Valley, WA)

My 4th gr daughter is ADHD, recently dx w/SPD (also has spastic bladder, cross-eyed (glasses), lazy R eye, has headaches)and yet the school is totally uninterested in anything the professionals have to say about my child's needs.


As far as they are concerned, and I quote from principal and counselor, "She is fully capable, manipulating the system, failing 4th grade because she refuses to do the work, therefore its not our problem." She qualifies for what they are calling a sufficient 504 plan (3rd yr review)but I am not signing it this year. She is flunking 4th grade, consistently in trouble for reacting in class (duh)and they will not consider another theory for her actions other than she is manipulating and a "behavioral child"

Help! I am familiar with IEP laws but not sure where she falls because she is smart and capable in the right environment. She does have some deviations in spelling and math which have shown in several testing situations outside of school but the school doesn't want to hear about it. They seem to hate my child (or at least put up with her because they have to)and this is reflected in how they deal with her... I am concerned about her self-esteem/confidence and with her social abilities horrible already, this doesn't do them any good.

I am in Eastern Washington and don't know what to do... I can't even voucher her to a private school as WA does not participate in the program. The cheapest appropriate school would cost me (w/tuition discount) $4000 for next year. I can't afford it. Help

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Oct 29, 2015
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5 years later
by: Anonymous

Cierra has now been a PT homeschooler and PT student at East Valley Homelink/parent partnership for 3+ years. We have the following list of diagnoses:
High Functioning Asbergers age 8
ADHD age 5
SPD age 8
LD in writing, math, and spelling age 7
General anxiety age 8
Migraines age 5
Sleep disorders age 6
PTSD age 14
PCOS age 15
Eye sychronicity issues due to cross-eyed and lazy right eye (minimized with 6 months vision therapy....Dr Hussey) age 3
Social and nonverbal language dissorders age 8
Ehler-Danlos Syndrome type 3 age 15

This is what SHOULD have qualified her for help in school and didn't.....
She is doing well academically, has a steady boyfriend, and is looking to be a Deaf Interpreter, get an art degree, and open a therapeutic art studio after partnering with a counselor or art therapist.

Jan 20, 2013
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Supporting parents of children with special needs
by: SPD parent suport wa state

I wanted to let everyone know that we have a support/play group for parents with children who have special needs- SPD, ADD/ADHD, PDD, ASD, autism, asperger's ect. Resources, information and regular play groups (optional) as ways to connect with other parents in the puget sound area or anywhere in washington state.
If you are interested please come check us out at

www.facebook.com/sensoryprocessinglocalsupport

Thank you and I hope I get a chance to meet more parents in a similar boat <3

Feb 18, 2012
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response
by: Anonymous

Due to where I live there is no center that takes my daughter's insurance to help me with this. I pulled my daughter last January and placed her in a virtual school where I could use their curriculum to help catch her up with all that she missed out on....she was dropped a full grade in curriculum for L.A. and Math....She did well but was still having problems. 504 plan did not have much to help her since I was providing modifications already at home (by the way I am a certified general and special education paraeducator)...

I moved her to a local district that offers a HOMELINK (parent partnership program) where she is enrolled PT for HomeLink and PT Homeschooled. I have created a good plan for the next 6 months and feel she will improve. She will also be able to complete 8th grade twice to allow educational, mental, emotional and esp. Social maturity/catch up to her peers.

I do provide consistency, outside activities, fighting to get outside services (still) and lots of patience....

You are correct that Aspergers, Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD are complex and confusing disorders. Hopefully, the changes/choices I have made will lead to full success for Cierra and her educational experience.

Feb 18, 2012
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Feeling your pain, but have a great teacher for my child
by: Anonymous

I am a school counselor with a child who has spd adhd and pdd. She, too, was turned down for an iep. Right now, she has a teacher with a child with adhd. I must honestly say, until I have lived this journey, kids with these disorders mystified me. I have such mixed emotions about our daily struggles. However, through it all, God has used my child's special needs, to make me a better and more empathetic person. Find a center that specializes in these disorders to help give you a plan for home and school. Once you can go in, armed with the things that you are doing, sometimes it becomes clearer what they should be doing. Ask the school for a 504. In the meantime, be firm, consistent, and loving to your child. The world is going to be a tough place for our kids. It is so hard some days, but never back down. If there is not a positive based discipline plan in place, demand one. Ask for another teacher to observe your child and take notes of both student and teacher interaction.

Sometimes, we as educators get caught up in test scores, when we must remember the first step in reaching a child, is to love them. In loco parentis, if your school doesn't know what that Latin phrase means, tell them. It means in place of the parent. That is the charge of every teacher. For 8 hours, they are your child's parent. Ask them, would they treat their own children they way they treat your child? I love my school, and trust every teacher there. However, I will not defend incompetency. Our impact on the world is too important.

Dec 06, 2011
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did that been there
by: Sherri

I had PAVE help me back in spring 4th grade....better results for 5th grade but didn't expand 504 or upgrade to IEP.....when everything went downhill a year ago, I called PAVE and talked to one of the other advocates (not Debbie)...she failed to call or show up at the special meeting and left me high and dry....the meeting went horribly and her excuse "i couldn't get off work"....I withdrew her from CVSD a month later. As of next week, she will be PT WAVA (switching to East Valley's K12 program at semester) and PT Homeschool for Math and Language Arts. EVVA offers 1 day/Wm in class and pays for P.E. program.

Dec 06, 2011
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PAVE
by: Anonymous

Call PAVE and they will help you Phone: (253)-565-2266 or email on of their representatives in Spokane area "jkaluza@wapave.org"

May 06, 2011
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Jenny
by: Anonymous

A teacher whose response shuts down your concerns as a parent is acting out of fear and ignorance. Why? Because overwhelmed teachers who are challenged by children not within the typical mold do not have the knowledge-base or resources to effectively address a child?s sensory processing needs.

To me, the unfortunate breakdown in our system is that people too easily forget how to treat children with the respect that they demand for themselves. As unique and beautiful human beings, we all deserve to be loved and accepted as our true selves and not be forced to change our nature to fit some archaic system.
This should not be a battle, but a conversation. One where both parties are standing on a solid foundation of love, respect and a desire to help a child walk their unique path with all the tools they?ll need on their life?s journey, not the journey we think they should take.

We won?t make progress in this conversation by retaliating to a direct attack on one child. Instead, we must advocate for system-wide change on behalf of all children with sensory processing disorders. If we non-defensively advocate with the knowledge that these scenarios are not meant to be a point-blank attack on your child but are instead the result of an unfortunate breakdown in our system, perhaps we can evoke change.

ALL school personnel should look at ALL children as multi-modal beings who perceive and process sensations differently. We don?t impose our clothing preferences on one another, so why do we impose learning preferences on our children?
An impartial, third-party consultant/liaison needs to be welcomed into our school systems at the administrative level. Administrators are ignorant of the challenges teacher?s face everyday in educating our children. They often are forced to look at the world through a peep-hole consisting of state-wide assessment results.

But, if only they could widen their perspective in order to understand the growing incidence of sensory processing disorders and how they must acknowledge the existence of SPD in order to help educators teach our kids (and this would then trickle down to improved results in the standardized testing world too).

With administrators facilitating education of Sensory Processing Disorders to their teachers system-wide, the teachers will be better equipped and feel better supported to empower our children to be their best selves. Only then will this system stop judging and start embracing our kids.

It just takes one ripple to turn into a tidal wave??

Mar 28, 2011
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Same issues
by: Michelle

I am a parent dealing with the same exact issues (bullying, sensory, ASD). I do not work for the school district. Neither do I plan to work for the school districts in this area once I am out of school, because of the fact I would be so frustrated with the lack of support that they provide our children and the many children with disabilities out there. I have done a lot of networking with others because it helps me deal with this. Then I don't feel so alone. I wanted to make sure that you won your fight by offering what knowledge I have researched on the subject (because I at one time I wasn't getting the help I needed either). I was merely offering some suggestions. Have you tried PAVE. They help families and individuals fight for their rights and unfair treatment (http://www.wapave.org/). I have heard nothing good about CVSD. I think it is time for them to change their ways. I am not a part of that school district though and I cannot help you there. I worry about the future for my daughter. She is only in the second grade and I know this is only the beginning of the troubles to come. When it comes time for her to be in middle school I am sure I will be just as aggrivated and vexed as you and other parents who have the same circumstances. I wish you well.

Mar 27, 2011
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Already been there and done that
by: Sherri

Michelle,

I don't know if you work for the district or what, but I've been through the process and the only reason I haven't gone further is the fact that I am a divorced mom of 4 kids and disabled. I only have enough energy to fight 1 battle at a time. Also money for an attorney is an issue. It was easier to give up on the system and provide my daughter with an education elsewhere while putting my life on hold again. I have fought with SSA, DSHS and domestic violence. Now that I only have 2 kids at home, I can help my daughter. The problem is that its too late to deal with the district.

I want to help others who are dealing with the crap as what I have gone through with my kids. My daughter is not the only one I fought CVSD about. My son was bullied in middle school and the principal had the audacity to tell me "For some kids, its just a part of middle school." This comes from what is supposed to be a "no tolerance" district.

If I can help others by getting a group together to bring these issues to head so other families don't go through what we did, then so be it. Coffee once a month will do nothing.

Mar 25, 2011
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Due Process
by: Michelle D.

Before you can take anything to court you must complete the necessary steps with the school district, including due process. This is where you have a mediator that will take the individual complaint and decide what appropriate action must be taken. I have actually seen numerous lawsuits against school districts in which the families lost because they did not complete the appropriate actions first. It is great to make a uniformed group, but be cautious on the actions that you take. Perhaps starting an SPD parent support group or just meeting once a month for coffee could be a good way to start advocacy.

Mar 24, 2011
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Help
by: Tabitha

Hi, 4 3 yrs I had to fight to get my daughter in special education! She was in a charter school so getting no where w/ them I sent her to public school they had her in special ed w/i 3 mos. U can call the office of civil rights 4 ppl w/ disability's.......The superintendent of schools........get all her records of misbehavior(incident reports) take them to her doctor, primary or psychiatrist they may b able to convince. The school ur child needs special ed. Dont give up! Keep fighting 4 ur bby!!! If I think of anything else I'll post it 4 u on here. Good Luck.

Mar 23, 2011
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CVSD SUCKS
by: Sherri

CJ attended a choice middle school I thought would help her and I was totally wrong. The middle schools are even worse than elementary schools. If your son is being bullied already it will only get worse in middle school and they really don't care.

Because of the disabilities, he will be a label by the school and they will not help him anymore than in fifth grade. The social aspect will become even more of a nightmare. I say this from experience with CJ. That is one of the reasons I put her in WAVA online school. That might need to he an option for you if you are a stay at home mom. Its different than homeschooling because you have a teacher and guides for the lessons. There are regular social outings and virtual connection sessions. They can also drop him to lower or higher grade levels as needed. Another option is CCS at Skyview...EVSD.

Whatever you do, make sure you document every meeting, take someone with you to meetings as a witness and log all bullying. I want to finds way to crate a group of parents like us that can file complaints as a grip voice fir our kids as I think that's the only way to get them to listen. If you want to talk or help, please feel free (anyone on this blog)to email me at kittycat3541@yahoo.com

Mar 23, 2011
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Central Valley School District
by: Spokane Mom

I hate to tell you this but your son's middle school experience will be even worse. Evergreen is too big, North Pines and Bowdish are the worst schools, and Horizon is a joke. Greenacres used to be okay until they got so full they have to ship kids to North Pines. If he's been bullied before, then they will really go after him in middle school.

They (CVSD) only care about passing the tests not the kids. I would consider WA Virtual Academy via k12.com online school if a stay at home mom or CCS at Skyview via EVSD.

I would make sure all meetings, bullying incidents and paperwork is in a file and file a complaint with the WA OPS (State Superintendent) and consider helping me get a group together to go after cvsd for federal law violations regarding IDEA and a "fair and equal education" for those with disabilities. CJ's elem. school told me that my 4th grade daughter was a behavior problem, deliberately manipulative and choosing not to do the work therefore it was her fault she was flunking 4th grade and not the school's problem.

This kind of behavior needs to be stopped. Give me a jingle if you want to talk or help me help other parents.....Sherri.....kittycat3541@yahoo.com

Mar 22, 2011
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We are in CVSD too
by: Valley Mom

My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and SPD and is going to be tested for aspergers. School has been a battle from day one. He is in fifth grade now and we just had another meeting. They talk about my son like he is possessed. Any bullying that goes on is his fault because he brings it on himself. I have a really hard time understanding why they don't see what is really going on. I guess what I am learning is that we have to educate these teachers even the so called specialists. I have been told that middle school will be better because those teachers are more aware of the needs of these kids. I don't know but I hope this is true.

Mar 22, 2011
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Parent and professional advocates.
by: Michelle D

Spokane Mom,
Sounds like a long journey just in that short time that you first posted this thread. I know about all these people and places you are mentioning. My daughter has an IEP only because she was born early and qualified for developmental delay. However next school year she no longer qualifies under that "diagnoses". It sounds like she may still receive an IEP but under the heading of "behavioral issues". I'm tired of these general labels.

I too have placed my life around my child(ren). I am going to school to be a speech therapist. The educational and medical arenas in this area are very ignorant about sensory issues and what other indications it can lead to, and be related to. It is unfortunate that it is our children who have to pay for it. My goal is to continually advocate and educate others in the medical and educational community. Teachers don't seem to get it when its coming from a parent. But when it comes from another professional they are more likely to be more sympathetic and more open to favorable solutions on the child's behalf.

My daughter has another evaluation (behavioral)by her pediatrician on Friday, I am hoping that he will refer her to Milestones for a proper evaluation from a psychologist there.
I frequently think about all the parents out there that are dealing with this seemingly contemporary issue. It makes me so sad, but not so alone.

Mar 19, 2011
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Update on my daughter
by: Spokane Mom

She has been to Milestones for social skills-which she has definite deficit in- and they have had her on the list for education specialist services for a year now. They agreed with SID and ADHD diagnosis and possibly Asbergers or Nonverbal and it did nothing for us at school. She had an incident of invading someone else's personal space (nonverbal/SID/ADHD issue relating to understanding nonverbal cues and personal space well documented in evaluations) and they treated her badly. She is now at WAVA-WA Virtual Academy-online school through k12.com and Omak Public School which covers E WA. She has been enrolled as 6th grader but in 5th grade LA and Math.

I could sue the CVSD for what they have put my daughter through since ECAEP. I have 2 Psych evals, Spokane Mental Health, her doctor, OT, Neurologist, Optomotrist, and Dr Wyley (vision therapy) all saying she needs IEP. They will listen to none of it.
I know other families who are also having trouble with District 81 and CVSD. The only way to help our kids is to join forces as a voice for the kids.

I am on disability (so is my daughter) and I have ADD. I have given up all my time outside the house except swim class so my daughter gets a fair and equal education. So much for enforcement of IDEA.

On a high note, she is doing well with her lessons but is now isolated from friends or simple interactions with other kids her age. She attends youth group but since we signed up so late, her teacher is in Omak so no local social outings.

I don't have money for YMCA or classes so we (1 adult with ADD and 1 6th grader with ADHD) are trying to deal with each other 24/7 along with my other two high schoolers, 3 cats and a bunny. I am not a housemom and its driving me crazy to be home all the time.

When CJ was in school I was an avid volunteer at the local community center. It was my way to spend time out of the house and be around adults. Now I can't even do that....

I love my kids and will do anything for them, I am just disappointed because no one else cares about my child's education in the school district.

Mar 19, 2011
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ADHD and SPD in 5 yr old son
by: Anonymous

My son is 5 and has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and SPD. He is going to OT and I think that helps some. I am extremely worried about him starting kindergarten next year and I am terrified reading all of these posts on here. I am wondering if he would be better off going into school with an IEP already in place, in hopes that he won't be labeled a "behavior problem". Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated

Mar 03, 2011
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ADHD and Convergence Insufficiency
by: Elmo

I have a seven year old boy who's diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, lazy eye (RHS 700 far-sightedness), low muscle tone.

All the while, teachers complained he has short attention span and cannot follow multiple steps instructions.

He patched his eye two-hourly for coming two years. Last Nov doctor says it is no more lazy and can stop patching and review every 3 mths.
However, I am skeptical and did research on it. Last week I brought him to an optometrist to do a thorough eye checkup, turn out that he has eye tracking, eye teaming problem and sometimes having double vision! The optometrist explained that the lazy eye is like a crippled leg that is fixed but still need to learn how to walk, run and jump.

There are reports that a type of vision defects called Convergence Insufficiency are misdiagnosed as ADHD. You can find CNN reporting it on Youtube. There are similar symptoms, include poor attention span, cannot follow instructions, often get lost, etc.

If she often rubs/ blinks her eye, tilt her head, suffer headaches fr reading, etc then maybe it's worth read abt CI and vision Therapy.
As for me, my son is starting Vision therapy next week- a three week intensive therapies of half hourly everyday, then followed by at home therapies. Hopefully that will help him.

Feb 03, 2011
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Spokane Mom
by: Michelle

Spokane Mom.

I completely understand. My daughter acts immature compared to the other children in her classroom, she often breaks down and the other children notice that her behavior makes her different. She longs to make friends but has trouble making bonds with others her age. Sometimes she is able to share with me how horrible it makes her feel not to have any true friends. And how hard it is to behave the way she know she must be behave in the school setting. Her anxiety is at an all time high and her self esteem is heart-breakingly lacking. I have mentioned to the IEP team how it would be nice to have a psychologist to assist her but the sad truth is it is not the school's responsibility, even if it does effect her academic performance and is a distraction to the classroom.

This is one of those disorders in which the parents must exhaustively advocate for their child.

Feb 02, 2011
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School problems here too!
by: Spokane Mom

I am having so many problems with my son at school. He is now in the 5th grade. We choiced him into a new school this year hoping it would be better. I hear things like he doesn't act like a fifth grader and he is trying to get attention, he likes to push buttons. I have tried to educate these people. If they only knew how sad my child was. How much he longs to please to have friends. Yesterday his IEP teacher said he cries like a baby and it was his own fault he had no friends. I want to scream at these people! Don't you know what you are doing? I'm sorry he does not fit into your ideal child mold, but he is your student and it's your job to teach him and be compassionate! My heart breaks for these kids. And I feel so helpless right now I just don't know what to do.

Dec 31, 2010
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spokane area diagnoses
by: Anonymous

Milestones in Spokane Washington seems to be the best bet for diagnoses and treatment that I have found so far. Good Luck

Nov 22, 2010
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LazyEye_andIEP
by: EyeSurvived

Hello,

I am sorry to hear what you and your daughter are going through. First, I was diagnosed with a lazy eye when I was an infant. I just want to let you know there is successful correction surgery for this now. I did not have surgery until I was in my 20's because as an infant the surgery didn't even exist. I had headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms from having a lazy eye. If the school isn't offering any help, this might be a good place to start to give your daughter some relief. Please go to a major university based hospital though, as they are the most researched and skilled in this area.

Certain health conditions require IEP's. Lazy eye definitely does not fall into this category, but the other things you described may fall into the category. Check with your State's Department of Education's website or call your county office to confirm. Best wishes to you.

Aug 11, 2009
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School = stress
by: Rebecca

David is now 18 - and will graduate next spring. Texas school system had a looping D1 to 1st grade that helped slightly. We now are in Summit County Utah and had tried Georgia briefly. Public school will never be able to accommodate these kids. It is too massive - like cattle being pushed thru a shoot. If your child can not flow with the rest, then they are left to flounder on their own.

If public school is your only option , I have found that becoming the teachers frequent visitor is imperative. They must know All the stories,behaviors and reasons behind them. This must be done in LOVE , not only for your child but also for the teacher. Pour out your heart - Most will understand.

Also, don't forget that this child, this gift from God, will return your love multiplied 10 fold. Cherish this challenge and persevere - it's a beautiful fruit in the long run. God bless you all!

Aug 07, 2009
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Also from Spokane
by: Michelle Duckett

I am currently trying to get my daughter diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. I am in District 81 and the teacher refuses to understand or cooperate unless a professional tells her otherwise. I am frustrated with the school also. The problem is that this is a fairly new and wide diagnosis to many, meaning that not every child has the same symptoms and there is still a lot of research being done on the issue. Many parents themselves have to do the research on it and then advocate for their children through the right channels and often you find yourself educating the professionals (especially in this area).

I would suggest to keep pressing the issue. There are a lot of laws out there securing your rights for your child, unfortunately you have to just keep pushing. If you don't mind me asking, but is there a specialist in Spokane that can diagnose this disorder. My daughter's OT can't officially make a diagnosis and one person said she had to send her child to the west coast to get a specialist in the SPD field to diagnose her son. She too had problems with her son's school until this doctor helped her press the school into helping her son. She also suggested to me to encourage everyone who is involved with your child to read the "Out of Sync Child". I hope this helps.

Feb 13, 2009
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Another Idea
by: Leslie

Dare I suggest homeschooling as an option? You know your child better than anyone and can tailor her education to her specific needs. When we lived in WA, the homeschooling laws were fairly easy to comply with. Here's the link for a great (family run) organization that deals entirely with "challenged" homeschoolers: www.NATHHAN.org
They are very encouraging and list resources that may be available. It may be a place to start.

Feb 13, 2009
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schools system
by: Anonymous

I am in Oklahoma. So I don't know if it is the same or not. But my oldest son is ADHD and bipolar and just found out the other day sensory issues. They are servicing him under other health impaired. But my daughter who is seven and has extreme sensory processing problems the school will not help. It is a constant battle. We now get OT, Pt and speech for her. But they maintain regardless of the OT and Pt reports that she is a behavior problem that she doesn't have SPD.

When she returns to school I will be fighting them yet again to get the proper help/ My 4yr old is also extreme sensory processing and the school helps him just not my daughter. If you ever have any questions or just want to talk you can email me @ stephieinok@ yahoo.com and I will try to help or at least be there to listen.

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