View Full Version : Guidance counselor at IEP / team progress meeting

10-21-15, 07:15 PM
My son is in ninth grade and he is failing his classes alot has to do with his homework not getting done. He is in classes that are to hard for him which we are trying to fix. I live in Mass and does the guidance counselor have to be at these meetings. She looks down on my son already mentioning his weight and that he has a bigger chest than normal and when we were in the meeting i asked for a special folder for his homework to be put in so tht i know its homework and she said O we dont do that here.. Than at the end of the meeting she said we are just gonna have to go elementary with him uuughhh

Does she need to be at these meetings??

10-21-15, 08:43 PM
The guidance counselor has always been at our IEP meetings. At our local
school they all had the same attitude that my granddaughter just needed to
fit in better. Now that the old guidance counselor is attending IEP meetings
at the other school in the special autism classroom, she is finding that she's
really very out of touch with what autism really is and what is needed to make
school work for my granddaughter.

10-21-15, 08:53 PM
I'm assuming this is at a public school, rather than a private school -- please correct me if I have that wrong.

Does he have a 504 plan or an IEP? (There may be slightly different rules.) EDIT: saw there were 2 threads on same topic and other thread mentioned IEP.

I don't know the answer to your direct question about who is required / can be kept out of team meetings. However, if the guidance counselor is usually the point-person for accommodations, then she might have to be there.

Regardless, I think it is important to document the comments the guidance counselor makes (in writing, with date/context if possible).

I don't know if she was being straight-up rude in commenting on your son's weight / chest, or if she thought she was being helpful in pointing out a possible medical issue (as this can be a side effect of some medications, though not usually stimulants, and it is more common in boys with certain conditions like Klinefelter syndrome). However, unless she thinks there's some untreated medical issue, or some connection to his schoolwork, or he's been bullied about it at school, or told her that he feels it's a problem, I'm not sure why she felt this was relevant or appropriate to comment on. (Does your son attend these meetings? Has she said anything to him, or was it just to you?)

Second, regarding "we don't do that here"... If something is a necessary and reasonable accommodation for your son's disability, then she can't arbitrarily decide that "they don't do that here". At least, not without offering a viable alternative.

Maybe she had the idea that this was for you, rather than for your son? I don't know. How utterly frustrating! In any case, she shouldn't just blow off the idea; if your son is struggling to keep track of assignments, that's clearly a disability-related impediment to his academic success, and something that requires intervention in some form.

With an IEP, there's usually more latitude to assign someone to monitor things like this -- for example, a resource room teacher. But even with a 504 Plan it may be possible to request that teachers check at the end of class that your son has put his homework in the folder and recorded the assignment correctly.

In high school, a lot of homework isn't in the form of worksheets, so it's possible that something like an assignment notebook (or even an app for a smartphone, if he has one) might be more effective than a folder. That way, problems assigned from a textbook, or a library research project, would also be tracked.

Alternatively, if the school has a website, perhaps all of the homework could be posted online. (Which is good if your son's likely to lose a notebook or even a smartphone.)

I would strongly advise visiting the Wrightslaw website (wrightslaw dot com), which has a lot of information on legal aspects of special education and disability accommodations. (You don't necessarily need to threaten a lawsuit -- but knowing your legal rights is a good idea if the school is not being helpful.)

In addition, there may be a local nonprofit organization that does disability / education - related advocacy. They may be able to give suggestions, or even provide an advocate who could come with you in person to the next meeting to ensure your son's needs are being addressed appropriately and not blown off for the school's convenience.

It's hard for me to know what's up with the guidance counselor and why she's acting this way (pressure from above to deny accommodations? weird ideas about disabilities or your son?), but whatever it is, it isn't in line with what you feel your son needs to be successful in school, and that's a problem.

It's possible that you could find a more sympathetic administrator who, upon seeing the comments you've documented, might have a chat with her and cause her to be a little less dismissive of your son and your concerns. Or maybe your son could be assigned a new guidance counselor? (If it's a system-wide problem, like the district is stubborn about accommodations, then this alone won't help and you might need to consider other strategies.)

In any case, documenting the meetings and any side comments in writing is important for being able to follow up. And check out Wrightslaw and maybe do a search for disability or education advocacy organizations in your area who may have good suggestions for working with the school district.

Good luck!

10-22-15, 02:51 AM
What you said about the guidance counselor really got me fired up. Who the f**k does she think she is? She is not the school nurse. My daughter has a 504 and in our district the guidance counselor is the one who keeps track of it. My son had an IEP and my youngest daughter has one too and she has a case worker and a special ed teacher than checks up on the IEP accomodations. (she is not in special ed, she is in regular ed) And guess what? Even if "they dont do that here" is what she said, if she isnt the principal, she doesnt get to say whether or not you get a folder of her work. How unhelpful!

10-22-15, 04:40 AM
I'm so lost and feel so alone i'm fighting a fight I know nothing about. His IEP annual report is going to be coming up and I feel like they are gonna eat me alive. I really need an advocate to come with me.

10-22-15, 05:43 AM
I'm a School Counselor, and oh my God, I am so sorry! We're not all the same, I swear. School Counselors are most definitely supposed to help students with organization, and giving you a special folder for his homework should not have been a problem. Go elementary with him? Wow. I would talk to the principal about her behavior.

She doesn't have to be at the IEP/Team Progress Meetings, but we usually are since we do offer services to students who have IEPs.

10-22-15, 05:49 AM
I'm so lost and feel so alone i'm fighting a fight I know nothing about. His IEP annual report is going to be coming up and I feel like they are gonna eat me alive. I really need an advocate to come with me.

If lived in Massachusetts, I would come with. :(

Does your child see a Psychologist or a CBA outside of school? They're great advocates.